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How Liz Earle Beauty and the WWF are working to protect the UK’s nature and restore its biodiversity

The beauty brand is working hard to minimise its environmental impact, while also actively improving and supporting the land it loves so much

With its stunning landscapes and varied wildlife, it’s little wonder Liz Earle Beauty has long taken inspiration from its Isle of Wight home. When it moved to its current island HQ, The Green House, the company took things one step further by embarking on a quest to not only help the natural environment around the premises to survive, but to also thrive, starting with an ambitious seagrass restoration project.

Seagrass meadows were once common around the UK coastline, but over the last 100 years up to 92% of seagrass habitat has been lost. Globally, these ecosystems are losing around 7% of their known extent each year. The reason for the decline can depend on local factors, but things like pollution, coastal development and anchor damage are driving the decline - but that's where Liz Earle Beauty, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and other important partners come in...

What are seagrass meadows?

© Nina Constable / WWF-UK

A seagrass meadow is an underwater ecosystem formed by seagrasses. These marine plants are found in shallow coastal waters and consist of flowering plants with stems and long green, grass-like leaves. In fact, they’re the only flowering plants able to live in seawater and pollinate while submerged.

Why are these meadows important?

Seagrass provides a complex habitat for marine life and acts as a fantastic nursery ground for many fish species, but it doesn’t only benefit life under the sea. These plants have the potential to sequester and store huge amounts of carbon dissolved in our seas (known as ‘blue carbon’). Indeed, globally seagrass absorbs carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers less than 0.1% of the seafloor, it can absorb 10-18% of the ocean’s carbon each year, making it an incredible tool in the fight against climate change.

Just as trees take carbon from the air to build their trunks, seagrasses take carbon from the water to build their leaves and roots. Then, as they die and are replaced by new shoots and leaves, the dead material collects on the seafloor along with organic matter (carbon) from other dead organisms. This material builds up forming layers of seagrass sediment that, if left untouched, can lock away carbon in the seafloor for thousands of years.

How are Liz Earle and the WWF working to protect them?

Together with Project Seagrass, Swansea University and Arc and in close collaboration with Natural England, Liz Earle Beauty and WWF are restoring and protecting seagrass meadows along the Isle of Wight coastline and across the Solent. The partnership is working hard to establish a blueprint for the most effective seagrass restoration methods, which can then be scaled up across England. Research is well underway in developing this blueprint and the team will be busy in our waters collecting and planting seeds for several years to come.

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