Founder, Unpackaged

Catherine Conway

Catherine’s career has spanned both the private and Third Sectors, but always focussing on the interplay of how business interacts with, and supports, the society in which it operates. Catherine has worked within the field of Corporate Social Responsibility for nearly 20 years, first promoting sustainable tourism in developing countries; before moving closer to home running a corporate community involvement programme building bridges between large companies, such as M&S, Orange and Visa, and community organisations for mutual benefit. Alongside running Unpackaged, Catherine has worked with the Sustainable Restaurant Association supporting restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Pizza Express, Carluccio’s and Wahaca to create change internally and implement improved sustainability measures on all aspects of their operations.

Before the concepts of zero waste and the circular economy had developed, in either business circles or the public at large, Catherine could see that there was a problem with the amount of plastic packaging being used in our modern lives. A true innovator, in response, Catherine set-up Unpackaged in 2006 as the world’s first modern zero waste shop. Not only has Unpackaged created a new, desirable, sustainable category in modern retailing; but Catherine’s passion for developing systems to enable refilling, and reuse, within various food sectors has enabled many other businesses to create real and lasting change. 

With the issues surrounding single-use packaging pollution now firmly in the public spotlight, Catherine is one of the leading voices in field, often quoted in the press from The Guardian to the BBC and Sky News.