With hundreds of thousands of followers, Shraddha ‘Shrads’ Singh isn’t just an influencer – she’s a trained software engineer and a UN Ambassador committed to promoting eco-awareness. We asked her to provide an insight into how sustainability shapes her choices, and discovered what goals she’s targeting for the new year.

What does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability to me is a way of life. It’s making sure the planet still exists in great shape for future generations. It’s the drive to consume better and make more informed and educated decisions about the products you buy, based on things such as the recyclability and lifecycle of a product.

How has your eco-awareness informed your blog?
After starting my blog to chronicle my personal style and love of fashion, I began to learn about how fashion is one the world’s most polluting industries. Fast fashion is spoiling consumers with cheap alternatives that come at a great environmental cost. I wanted to use my influence to make my audience more aware and create change in the world.

You’ve been trying out the Jem + Bea Eco Stroller Organiser and Jem + Bea Eco Stroller Mittens (pictured above and below), which are made out of recycled and GRS (Global Recycled Standard) certified nylon. The Eco Stroller Organiser is designed to accommodate everything you need when out and about with your little one. What do you have in it?

A mix of biodegradable and cloth nappies, plus a wet bag for the cloth nappies. Biodegradable wipes. No bottles, since I breastfeed exclusively! A reusable changing mat made from recycled plastic bottles, organic muslins and bamboo swaddle blankets.

What’s your link to the UN and its drive to encourage sustainability?
Through my work as a Global Survey Ambassador for the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals 9 and 12, and as a Plastic Pollution Coalition ambassador, I’ve been educating my audience about Responsible Consumption and Plastic Pollution, and what we can do together to solve these global issues. I support brands that have been innovating to make their products more sustainable. I consider it a win when I see my audience spreading the message about embracing a more sustainable way of living. Equipped with the essential information, we can move forward in the right direction to prevent a disaster.

How did the events of 2020 impact your involvement with these projects? And what are your aims for 2021?
Though the year 2020 was slow and I had a baby, I still managed to work on a few sustainability projects. According to the UN, the pandemic has set Sustainable Development Goals back. Countries are cooperating much less and most of the crucial methods to preserve biodiversity and [slow or reverse the] climate [crisis] have been postponed. My overarching goal for 2021 would be to use my influence to help us get back on track as much as possible.

Below are the top five goals [drawn from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals] I’ll be focusing on in 2021.

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

When I arrived in the West I saw how wasteful everything was. Everything was packaged in needless plastic, the fast-fashion clothing stores were huge, churning out a new collection every week.

Even mending your clothes was expensive. Back home we always believe in buying less but buying things that last. As a Together band ambassador for Goal 12, my goal with my platforms is to raise awareness around conscious and mindful consumption, and to inspire and educate brands and businesses to opt for sustainable infrastructure, provide decent jobs and better quality product with the least carbon footprint.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation

Being a software engineer, I know how vital innovations are – especially for developing countries. Imagine the endless possibilities, like a customised cancer vaccine or a product that replaces dependency on plastic completely.

I support goal 9 because focusing on this goal solves most of the problems. When you have infrastructure, you have the roads, schools, electricity, clean water, sanitisation and all other basic necessities everyone should have access to. Innovative methods help us get there faster; governments should therefore invest in R&D and find alternative ways for reaching these goals.

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Climate change is moving faster than we are. There is no country that isn’t experiencing the drastic changes caused by global warming. Earth’s surface is warming, sea levels are rising, glaciers are shrinking as a result of human influence. Governments need to come together to tackle greenhouse gases. And as individuals we can help halt global warming by simple daily decisions such as driving and flying less, choosing public transport, switching to a ‘green’ energy provider and avoiding eating meat.

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Women did more unpaid work before the pandemic and they’re doing even more since Covid.

Gender inequality is not just a basic human right, it is also important for a sustainable future. Both genders should be treated equally and provided with equal opportunities for education and employment.

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

The saying ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ might become obsolete soon. Scientists have predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Goal 14 is all about caring for the oceans and reducing marine pollution. There are simple ways this could be achieved: by avoiding bottled water, reducing plastic consumption, and buying local or certified fish.