The way we do business is changing and the going green trend isn’t going away. Companies that provide environmentally friendly beauty products are bo...
Introducing Sustainable Beauty Network
July 19, 2015
Sustainable Spotlight: LUSH
May 18, 2016
Allison Nozza, Regional Sustainability Steward for LUSH, speaks with Sustainable Beauty Network to give the brand’s holistic approach to sustainability. In this interview we find out more about the company’s innovative green practices and how its sustainability initiatives will continue to evolve.
As the Regional Sustainability Manager, can you give some insights on LUSH’s ongoing path towards sustainability? What have been some of the challenges you have faced when implementing sustainable efforts?
In our ongoing journey towards sustainability here at LUSH we are ultimately trying to build out the program to allow for our staff and our shops to reflect the same sustainability core value as our brand embodies. So far we have been successful in developing the resources whether it is Green Guides focusing in on key impact areas such as Water, Energy, Waste and Recycling, or Shop-level buying, or our Green Audit that goes hand in hand with the guides to allow us to benchmark and track to see what progress and initiatives are being carried out throughout the shops.
A huge focus had been around decreasing our waste which we first had to evaluate where we were at in regards to waste diversion. To do that, we developed a national Weigh the Waste program that allows us to see how much waste and what specific waste streams are being produced within our shops. Bi-annually, for 10 days, all shops are required to weigh and track their waste and then upload their results. Through those results we see where our opportunities are to develop the necessary strategies towards zero waste.
As far as challenges, one main issue is how to honestly and consistently track our progress. I think this will always be a struggle especially in retail sustainability. For instance, how can you specifically be able to track the quantitative impacts of an appliance shutdown checklist in each of our shops especially in malls where specific energy information is hard to obtain? Another big issue is employee turnover. I would think for LUSH the turnover rate is not as high as some others, but still the constant changing of people within our environmental officer type roles known as “ecowarriors” requires constant development and outreach to the shops.
LUSH adopts a holistic framework when advancing its green mission to include its suppliers. What are some supplier relationships and partnerships that LUSH has recently formed that you are most excited about?
In the UK LUSH has the Sustainable LUSH fund that allows for 2% of the amount of what LUSH spends on raw materials and packaging to be donated to the fund. This money is then used to start sustainable farming in and community projects from scratch, some of which produce and process beautiful ingredients for our products. Permaculture values are the basis for how this fund operates. Recently we have developed this same fund over here in North America and we have for the past year been working Miels D’Anicet from Quebec, Canada to help save the bees! Anicet’s Breeding Project allows for regeneration of the bees through a stronger queen bee. Oftentimes queen bees will be imported from across the world leaving them susceptible to local diseases and pesticides. Anicet stresses that local bees are key to survival and a thriving hive.
LUSH is always coming up with new sustainability initiatives. What are the brand’s green goals for the future?
As far as goal setting goes, we have not set specific goals just yet. I think we are first waiting to gather some more initial groundwork data before we set our sights on goals to strive for. Some general goals and projects currently in progress are:
1. Getting our shops on board with their own specific goal setting in relation to our Green Audits. Tracking their progress. 2. Signing on more composting partnerships with our shops to increase waste diversion 3. Getting a strong e-cycling program in place for our shops 4. Taking a look at California’s water crisis and new regulations to see how they might impact our shops and plan ahead.
Why do you think sustainability and going green has become such a hot trend? Do you have any advice for other beauty brands that would like to incorporate sustainability into their mission?
I think it goes hand in hand with consumers being more inquisitive about what types of products they are using. Consumers do feel better when they know that they are voting with their dollars in a more ethical way. Some advice I would give to other beauty brands looking to incorporate sustainability into their mission would be to build out that sustainability focus throughout every operation of the brand starting from the beginning if possible. It is important to not only be a brand that sells sustainable cosmetics, but also to reflect that value throughout your company operations and through your employees.
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