By Charndré Emma Kippie
Margo Fargo is one of South Africa’s leading environmentalists. She owns her very own metal straw company and has her own coffee company. Margo Fargo heads several women empowerment organisations, including the successful and very popular Crown Me Naturally SA initiative. Despite an increasingly demanding schedule and the challenges that come with it, Margo’s passion remains: to bring positive change to both people and the world they inhabit.
Obtaining her Honours in BSC Consumer Sciences in Sustainability was only the first step for Margo Fargo towards her goal of truly making a difference, not only locally but on the world stage as well. The dynamic entrepreneur currently focuses primarily on sustainability within the workplace, offering turnkey solutions for big corporate institutions and their employees on how to lower their carbon footprint.
Who is Margo Fargo?
I was born in the city of roses – Bloemfontein and grew up in a community called Heidedal. I am a BSC Consumer Sciences specialising in sustainability. Throughout studying I took part in environmental programmes and pageants such as Miss Earth South Africa and Miss South Africa. Throughout my late teenage to mid 20s I have worked in retail, the medical sales industry, PR and the beauty industry. At the end of 2018, I decided to take the leap of faith to start my own business called Far_Go straws, a sustainable straw company and to be more intentional about creating spaces and opportunities in the environmental and business sector. In that same year, I launched a NPO called Crown Me Naturally, aiming to create a platform for people to come together and talk about natural hair care, identity, brand collaborations and hair education across various cultures.
Throughout this period, I have worked with various local businesses and brands to help create more awareness and opportunity for consumers to go plastic free. I am passionate about the consumer industry and also own a proudly African coffee company called Grinda Coffee. As an entrepreneur I always look for ways to bring ideas, concepts and people together.
Please tell us a bit about your organisation/business.
Far_Go straws is a metal straw company specialising in personalising and providing a plastic free alternative when drinking liquids. These stainless steel straws come in a selection of colours such as black, silver, chrome rainbow, rose gold and gold. They come in 3 different shapes and sizes. You can personalise these straws with names, logos and various pouches. These products are perfect for carrying around when consuming beverages, a gift as well as creating awareness around making more eco-friendly choices.
What does your role entail?
As the founder and managing director, I do most of the communication with service providers and ensure that we work with various clients and create awareness around the plastic free alternative. Managing and overseeing our online store and ensuring that customers receive good service and their orders on time. Creative concepts and collaborations play a pivotal role in ensuring we stay highly visible as a small business.
What does ‘Sustainability’ mean to you?
Sustainability means everything to me. This stretches across various sectors. When we talk about the environment, you cannot exclude sustainability. Sustainability is the capacity to endure an ongoing way right across various domains in life. I believe one cannot do anything that you want to and endure without considering the sustainability factor.
Why are you passionate about ESG initiatives?
I grew up very simple and have an appreciation of my surroundings. My parents raised me to respect the environment in small ways and that followed me right to where I am right now. There is so much beauty in just doing what is right and considering the next generation and what they have to work with. Our planet gives us so much. From fresh produce, shelter, minerals and beautiful landscapes, why not protect and preserve it with what we can do. A society cannot grow and thrive if the environment is not healthy, strong and sustainable.
What important trends have you witnessed in the last year in terms of Sustainability in SA?
I have specifically been impressed by the fact that the hospitality, food and beverage sector has taken great leaps by introducing convenient ways to make more sustainable decisions such as reusable plastic bags, emailing slips and brands resorting to biodegradable packaging. Within the hospitality industry, various adjustments to taps and shower heads have saved water and lights that save energy. Many businesses and hotels have resorted to solar panels as a way to create a hybrid way of living. Our heroes of the communities are our waste pickers, they have been welcomed and weaved into society whereas in the past, this was frowned upon, picking up tins of plastic from the streets to create an income for themselves means that they have created their own green economy. In fashion, thrifting and upcycling clothing is a growing trend meaning, less waste and water is used as much as fast fashion is still a major contributor to waste and pollution. These small strides collectively I believe are making a positive impact.
What are some of your favourite milestones that you’ve achieved in your career thus far?
I’d say successfully changing the way people see sustainability through my business and ensuring conversations are being had in the beauty and fashion industry as well. I’ve had the honour of representing Africa at a renewable energy conference in 2018 and this pushed me more to be intentional in finding myself in these spaces and having these intentional conversations. There is still more to do.
If you could solve one ESG-related problem in the world, what would it be, and why?
I would say alleviating the waste issue we have globally. It would be a dream come true to make it a strict law to ensure that every bit of waste created by each person gets repurposed, upcycled or transformed. This will eliminate so many other issues we face as the world.
Do you have any words of inspiration to get the youth more involved with sustainability efforts?
Look around you, look at yourself and see what you can change to make it more sustainable. A small sustainable and consistent decision makes a big impact. You are never too old or too young to make a change right where you are.
Margo Fargo: Sustainability Book Recommendations
- The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability-Designing Abundance by Michael Braungart and William McDonough
- Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by Michael Braungart and William McDonough
- The Truth About Green Business by Gil Friend
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