A Look into Spa Sustainability, With Lucy Brialey of the Sustainable Spa Association

Sustainability is, and always will be, embedded within AMRA’s DNA. We dedicate ourselves to create the epitome of luxury and wellbeing with the most minimal environmental impact possible.

We ensure our ingredients are sourced ethically and sustainably, with full traceability, as well as ensuring to use recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible.  

Upcycled ingredients are also at the root of our active technology, fused into our engineered skincare for inimitable products at no cost to the environment.

We had the opportunity to speak to Lucy Brialey, Co-Founder and Director of the Sustainable Spa Association (SSA), a not-for-profit organisation formed to assist spa businesses aiming to implement sustainability into their business.

 

What is the SSA, and what do you do?

“The association has been set up for four main stakeholder groups. Mainly for the spa operator, to assist and help them with education and form a nice roadmap to sustainability practices in their everyday operations and is supported by two other stakeholder groups.”

“One would be the partners who are direct suppliers to the spa industry, brands who are upholding quite high credentials who could be direct suppliers but also part of their education process. Then we have sponsors who are outside of the spa industry, but are still suppliers to the spa industry. They’re looking at solutions across water waste and energy, and any other environmental solutions that a business might need. The fourth stakeholder is the consumer.”

“They (the consumer) are putting pressures on the spa operators in terms of the choices they’re making in terms of products, chemical usage, and packaging.”

 

You offer an accreditation, does that play into the side of consumer pressures?

“It has a number of functions really. For the consumers it’s certainly third-party verification that that spa is operating on a sustainable level.  The consumer public a bit tired of green washing and really appreciate substantiated claims nowadays”

“It’s also a learning process for the spa. We can teach them leading business techniques which saves them money within their operations, and that’s mainly through procurement, waste production, and swapping suppliers for water waste and energy.”

 

What was your greatest drive for sustainability?

“Oh gosh, wow. I feel I’m in the most magical place in my life at the moment because it’s actually a really big passion of mine, and has been for a long time.”

“It’s a personal passion of mine, but so is health and wellbeing, which is why I went into the industry as well. It’s like bringing all of those things together, taking everything I deeply care about and putting it all into one place as a career.”

“If the spa industry is a place of health and wellbeing then it truly should be a place of health and wellbeing. How healthy can you truly be if you’re destroying the environment along the way? We need a healthy environment to be healthy people, so the whole thing goes hand in hand.”

 

How are Sustainability and the Spa Industry intertwined?

“Ultimately you can’t achieve human health without environmental health, without planetary health. One of our partners hit the nail on the head recently with a great quote “Sustainability is wellness for the planet”. It’s so simple but so perfect.”

 

What are some challenges you’ve faced in the SSA?

“When we launched, we didn’t realise why it wasn’t getting as much traction as we thought it would, although we did launch in the beginning of the pandemic when many businesses were closed. However, through a survey we saw a large majority of the spa industry didn’t understand what sustainability meant. They had heard the word but didn’t know how to do anything about it or implement it.” 

“Following that we had quite a bit of feedback. Because spa’s didn’t know what it meant or they didn’t feel their operations were sustainable, they couldn’t approach us because it was going to expose their non-sustainable credentials. So there was kind of an intimidation almost that we’re trying to break the barriers down on now by really opening up education and campaigns to all, whether they’re members of not" 

“It doesn’t matter what really doesn’t matter what stage of the sustainability journey you are on, it’s an ever-evolving subject and you learn so much on the way. The great thing is in the spirit of sustainability the community is always an encouraging one and one where knowledge share is highly appreciated”

 

Is there any advice you’d offer to companies looking to become more sustainable?

“Just jump in and just start. I get asked all the time, “tell us three things that we should do now to be sustainable” and I think they’re expecting me to turn around and say things like “okay, don’t use single use plastics” or “switch your lights off.” These are isolated actions and although we don’t discourage them it is a much broader subject.

I think it’s just you’ve got to start with a plan, and don’t make it too hard. If you chose one little thing within People, Planet and Profit for example, like: this year, for our team we are going to improve education. Then next year you could expand to do something within the community. Your planet objectives could be waste or plastic reduction and profitability could focus on energy or water savings.  It can be as big or as small as you want it to be.”

“It’s a case of just start, and make it easy, because it’s a very long process that you can layer year after year after year, but if you don’t start you’ll never get to that stage.”