House of Hackney Adds Mother Nature to the Board

Published: December 1, 2023

House of Hackney founders Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle have made an innovative change to their business by legally appointing two new directors to the board — Mother Nature and Future Generations. 

The B Corp luxury interiors brand championing print, color and British craftsmanship has a mission to inspire people to protect our common home by bringing the beauty of nature into theirs. Since the day House of Hackney was built, a sense of compassion for people and the planet has been at the heart of everything it does. With Mother Nature as their muse, founders Gormley and Royle wanted to set up a business that does everything in its power to give back, harnessing lower-impact materials and methods, advocating for causes that safeguard the world’s precious wildlife and putting people before profit.

To ensure these things are considered in how the brand operates from top down, they made the pioneering decision to add two new voices to its board, voices that will hold them and the business accountable for every decision made with regard to the impact on the planet and people of today and the future.

Frieda and Javvy believe that a disconnection to nature is at the heart of many global challenges we now face, and more urgently than ever, we need to understand that we are not separate from nature but that we are nature and need to live in kinship and reciprocity with the natural world. They feel that businesses have an opportunity to shift this narrative and a duty to consider their impact on the planet and on future generations.

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“As a business, we think it’s imperative we hold ourselves to a high level of legal accountability for our impact on nature and quality of life we’re leaving behind for generations to come,” said Gormley. “We have a responsibility to leave this planet a better place than we currently find it. We are at a pivotal point globally where unless we act now, there will be no turning back, which is why we want to give Mother Nature and Future Generations a say in how we operate and why we’ve shifted from a sustainable business model to a regenerative one.”

Since its launch in 2011, House of Hackney has been an early pioneer of sustainability and purposeful business.

The founders now feel that being sustainable and merely ‘sustaining’ life is not enough, and in early 2023 House of Hackney started to shift its business toward being restorative and regenerative, meaning the goal is to restore the damage that has been done to our collective well-being and natural resources by extractive business practices. We are witnessing a growing Nature Rights movement, where legal personhood has been given to the natural world and landmark cases have seen the attribution of legal rights to rivers and mountains. 

Realizing the potential impact of bringing these Nature Rights into business and inspired by Faith in Nature — a world first in legally appointing Nature to their board of directors — the brand worked with Lawyers for Nature to follow in its footsteps towards a better tomorrow.

Lawyers for Nature is a cutting-edge collective that works with those seeking to defend the natural world and the legal representation of non-persons. The collective worked with House of Hackney to appoint a legal representative for Mother Nature and Future Generations to the brand’s board of directors. 

Co-founder of Lawyers for Nature Brontie Ansell, who guided House of Hackney in this pivotal move, has been appointed to represent both Mother Nature and Future Generations.

But what does this mean in practice? 

It means that at House of Hackney, Mother Nature and Future Generations have been given legal personhood on the board of directors. This means a non-partisan person, independent of the business, will have a voice to ensure that in every decision made across all departments to fully consider the future of a liveable, thriving planet for all life on earth.

“My role here is to be a conduit and a voice for Mother Nature and Future Generations, with the freedom to consult a wide network of experts as and when required,” said Ansell. “The system of this is designed in a way to avoid bias both personally, professionally and financially, and to provide a truly ethical view of the business and all decisions made.”

In order to give Mother Nature and Future Generations legal personhood, they first needed to be defined.

Working closely with Brontie, House of Hackney defines these two parties as – Mother Nature: a personification of nature, all the animals, plants, ecosystems and other things in the world

that are not made by humans, and all the events and processes that are not caused by humans. Nature includes humans themselves. Considering that we are Nature and our business would not exist without Nature, the brand sees every decision made across all business functions as potentially impacting her and in turn, Future Generations.

Future Generations refers to generations of humans, plants and animals on earth from today’s date. Learning from indigenous people’s wisdom and the 7th Generation principle of considering the impact of decisions on future generations, the brand intends to use this board appointment to ensure that decisions made today result in a liveable, thriving world for tomorrow.

“At House of Hackney, we have been asking ourselves ‘what would Nature say?’ for so long, Nature has been viewed as an extractive resource, which has now gone beyond a critical point of sustainability and we all have a responsibility to resolve this,” said Gormley. “Recognising that Nature has a voice to challenge and drive positive decision making will help guide our responsibility for change.” 

House of Hackney also recently appointed a head of regeneration, Kellie Dalton. Part of Dalton’s role is to steward the business on its regenerative journey, exploring new, innovative ways the brand can work more in harmony with the natural world. The appointment of two new board directors in the form of Mother Nature and Future Generations will be a pivotal part of achieving this mission.

“We see our new board appointments as representative voices of all species, present and future, without whom neither our business nor life itself would exist,” said Gormley. “We are motivated in our mission to fast-track action on the journey to becoming a truly regenerative brand, where we leave our business touch points and communities actively better than how we found them, creating conditions for mutual flourishing across all planetary beings. We hope to inspire other organizations to do the same. We need to act collectively and we need to act now.” 

House of Hackney sees its role on this earth as humans who are midwifing in the next phase of the planet. It is important to note that while groundbreaking, this is the beginning of a journey, and over time the principles and ways of working are sure to evolve. House of Hackney hopes other businesses join the movement and give nature a seat at the table.

Photo credit: Lukas the Illustrator

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