Hi Emily, thanks for talking to us today. Can you start by telling us a little about Lush Cosmetics?
Lush is a fresh, handmade cosmetics company founded in 1995. We believe in making effective products from fresh organic* fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics. We believe in buying ingredients only from companies that do not conduct or commission tests on animals and in testing our products on humans. We invent our own products and fragrances. We make them fresh* by hand using little or no preservative or packaging, using only vegetarian ingredients and tell you when they were made. We believe in happy people making happy soap, putting our faces on our products and making our mums proud. We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again. We believe our products are good value, that we should make a profit and that the customer is always right.
*We also believe words like “fresh” and “organic” have an honest meaning beyond marketing.
So Lush Cosmetics must have sustainability goals? What are they?
- Go Circular with our waste
We collect, sort, clean, and recycle as much of our waste as possible and this is done at our Green Hub based in Poole. The Green Hub process returns packaging, broken items, and product moulds, have their own rain capture system to provide water for processing, and divert as much waste away from landfill as possible. In our Nottingham store we contribute to this by recycling as much as possible in store, offering a huge variety of packaging free products, and running our Bring It Back scheme.
- To be a climate positive business
At Lush we are aiming to be more than carbon neutral, we want to have a positive impact on our environment and be agents of regeneration. We are working on this goal by interrogating our supply chain and making regenerative changes (such as promoting permaculture and replanting and protecting forests), in areas where we feel we could be doing better. In 2010, Lush purchased 6,000 hectares of degraded Peruvian rainforest with the aim of regenerating and protecting it. Our aim is to have 0% deforestation in our supply chain in the future. We also use 100% renewable and vegan electric and frack-free gas in our store.
- To offer packaging free and sustainable products to customers
Over 62% of Lush products sold globally in 2019 were naked, which means that 16,108,320 items that ended up in customers' bathrooms resulted in no waste at all. We believe that reducing packaging as much as possible is better than finding solutions for the waste and we are aiming to offer a naked alternative for every product.
And what sustainability solutions can customers get involved in?
- Bring it Back Scheme
Our Bring It Back scheme launched in 2021 and offers customers 50p off their shop for each piece of Lush packaging they return. So far across Lush UK, we've had 120,000 pieces of packaging returned to be recycled. We're aiming for at least 30% of our packaging to be returned to us.
- Shampoo Bars
Lush actually invented the shampoo bar and it is perhaps our biggest success story in our packaging free range. Globally since 2005 we have sold over 47 million shampoo bars which has saved 3,400 tonnes or 141 million plastic bottles from landfill.
Inspired by the Japanese tradition of furoshiki, knotwraps are a waste free wrapping solution as the knotwrap itself can either be re-used or re-gifted once the gift has been opened. We have 3 types of knot wrap made from either upcycled vintage scarves (saving 47 tonnes of fabric waste), cotton (sustainably sourced from a women's cooperative in India which employs over 250 women and seeks to provide financial independence, training, and a safe working environment), or PET from recycled plastic bottles (so far 2.4 million bottles have been turned into Lush knotwraps).
- Charity Pot
We also sell a beautiful hand and body lotion where all of the proceeds (minus VAT) are donated to small, grassroots organisations that fight for animal, human, and environmental rights. In May alone UK stores raised £72,000 for these groups. Charity Pot is a great way for us to regularly donate to grassroots organisations that promote sustainability and protect the environment whilst also offering the customer a lovely product.
- Community outreach
When we do occasionally end up with products past their freshness policy or that are unable to be sold, we work with local Nottingham charities to donate these products to people who will benefit from them. So far we've donated product packages to Nottingham hospitals, refugee charities, and charities for survivors of domestic abuse amongst many others.
Thank you for your time Emily, that was so inspiring. We’ll see you in store for some fresh, handmade cosmetics, that are kind to the planet, as well as people. Lush!
To shop with Lush Cosmetics, visit their store at 17a Clumber Street, Nottingham.
Lush will always seek to challenge itself over all its uses of the world’s resources. We aim to reduce and minimise our impact with policies that meet the needs of a changing and constantly evolving world situation. We will challenge and target ourselves in areas such as air transport, energy use, materials into landfill, recycling rates, pollution and waste outputs.- taken from the Lush Ethical Charter