Art for Thought: An Interview Diana Verde Nieto of Positive Luxury

positive luxury butterfly mark - sustainable brands

Diana Verde Nieto is a woman breaking glass ceilings with her sustainable worldview. So it’s no surprise that her company, Positive Luxury, is a brand that has been groundbreaking in itself. Through awarding their signature Butterfly Mark, Positive Luxury is on a mission to ensure that luxury brands make sustainable and eco-friendly products.

Inspired by the Large British Blue Butterfly saved from extinction, Diana adopted the butterfly symbol as a way to empower consumers. Through transparent ratings of a brand’s ecological effort in the making of their goods and services, consumers can choose which brands they support based on a newfound awareness of a product’s ecological impact. 

The Powerful Impact of Positive Luxury

The success of Positive Luxury’s business model and mission statement gives credence to the adage that consumers really can change the world through their pocketbooks.

People have the power to change the world if they vote with their wallet. We provide access to easily understandable information about brands and have a thorough methodology that consumers can trust.

Diana Verde Nieto

But it’s not just Positive Luxury’s mission that is empowering its customer base. The personal story of co-founder Diana Verde Nieto as it relates to the growth of her business is encouraging. And influencing others, especially women, to follow in her footsteps. Diana believes that “the only way to overcome it [gender discrepancies] is to keep going and break the glass ceiling for the generations to come.” Positive Luxury and the creative forces behind its creation are constantly setting the bar higher for businesses as well as consumers. Through its promotion of mindfulness, Positive Luxury is continuing to break barriers. And inspire the world to be more intentional and thoughtful with their art.

Diana Verde Nieto, Co-founder & CEO of Positive Luxury
Diana Verde Nieto, Co-founder & CEO of Positive Luxury

I had the chance to ask Diana a few questions about Positive Luxury and its global impact. We also discussed the challenges that Diana faced in starting her business as a businesswoman with such a grand vision for the future of sustainable luxury goods. She ends with some words of encouragement for those inspired by her efforts and the bearing that Positive Luxury has had on the world of high art.  

Lh Exclusive Interview with Diana Verde Nieto of Positive Luxury

Love Happens: Aside from your passion for sustainability, what motivated you to found Positive Luxury?

Diana Verde Nieto: When Karen Hanto MBE, founder of Top Table and I started Positive Luxury it was the perfect storm. Our combined love for sustainability, luxury, and desire for leaving a positive mark in the world was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Lh: What is the business model of Positive Luxury?

DVN: Positive Luxury connects luxury brands and people who care about the future. Accomplished through the interactive Butterfly Mark, a mark earned by brands that have adopted sustainability as a business strategy. It promotes transparency and enables consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Brands who want to be awarded the Butterfly Mark and be part of the Positive Luxury community must go beyond achieving a minimum sustainable standard that is compliant with local law, international law and best practice principles. Every two years we update the process in partnership with our experienced sustainability council, as well as external institutional partners, companies, NGO’s and retailers. Additionally, companies provide supporting evidence and proof of their statements.

We use technology to help with our evaluation; by utilizing publicly available data, we’re able to check the self-reported information and that the 3rd party certification bodies are accounted for and quality checked through Positive Luxury’s data analytics. Lastly, we use a materiality assessment to identify priority sustainability issues.  

Brands that successfully complete the assessment process earn the right to display the interactive Butterfly Mark on their website as well as retailer websites and other relevant places such as packaging and care labels, making it easy for people to identify brands to trust.

The Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark

Lh: What is symbolic about the Butterfly Mark?

DNV: I gave Sir David Attenborough his lifetime achievement award back in 2010 and I had the pleasure to listen to his tales over dinner. It was then he told me of the Large British Blue Butterfly brought back from near extinction in the UK; becoming the most successful insect reintroduction in the world.  The Butterfly Mark exemplifies how we can create a united force and reverse the negative impact we are having on our planet’s resources if we put our minds and hearts to it.

Lh: What factors does the butterfly mark consider?

DNV: We look at the business in a holistic way; from Governance, Innovation, Community Investment, and Social and Environment performance frameworks.

Lh: Why should consumers be invested in the mission of Positive Luxury?

DNV: People have the power to change the world if they vote with their wallet. We provide access to easily understandable information about brands and have a thorough methodology that consumers can trust.

Stop Not Practicing Sustainable Shopping: Luxury X Mother Earth

Lh: In what ways does Positive Luxury work to initiate consumer interest in sustainable luxury brands?

DNV: There is not just one thing but an omnichannel approach to marketing. A combination of social media, email marketing and partnering with some of the top retailers in the world like Selfridges, Brown Thomas and Arnott. Brands are proud of having earned the Butterfly Mark as a result of their investment and work in sustainability. Thus they have the confidence to communicate within their communities and beyond. Our power is not what we can do but what we can do as a collective.

Lh: How do you connect consumers to the luxury brands you have certified?

DNV: Through the Butterfly Mark which is completely interactive and with one click you can discover what actions brands are taking in order to have a positive impact in the world.

Lh: Do you find it is difficult to convince luxury brands the importance of your mission?

DNV: In the beginning 8 years ago yes. But as our brand recognition grew as a leader in this space the journey is becoming so much easier. Needless to say, the huge media and consumer awareness is definitely helping to make sustainable living the only way to live in the not too distant future.

Lh: How would you describe the impact of your company thus far?

DNV: We are really proud to partner with brands committed to making changes to deliver a more sustainable future. The most satisfying part of the job is helping them to increase their positive impact year on year.

How Consumers Are Changing the Fashion Industry For the Better

Lh: How do you envision Positive Luxury growing or evolving in the future?

DNV: We recently launched our French business and are currently planning international expansion. The goal is for the Butterfly Mark to be a globally recognized symbol of trust for luxury lifestyle brands.

Lh: What special qualities from your life experiences do you bring to Positive Luxury?

DNV: Belief that anything is possible. This comes from my grandparents who always encouraged me to be the best I could be. And my upbringing in Argentina, when Argentina was still in a dictatorship.

Lh: What specific challenges have you faced as a woman and a leader in your industry? If you faced a specific challenge, how did you overcome it?

DNV: Our challenge as female founders is access to capital. But I know that I’m not alone as fellow incredible women founders have the same challenge. The only way to overcome it is to keep going and break the glass ceiling for the generations to come.

Lh: Do you have any advice for other women that are interested in pursuing a career in your field?

DNV: Don’t think twice about it, and just do it. You will never look back.

Learn more about Positive Luxury – become a brand, find out who has earned the Butterfly Mark and join the mission at!

Words by Alexa Jennelle

Article Originally Appeared in Love Happens Volume 4, 2019