Sunday, 13 January 2008

2007 in a Nutshell

So, one more year is finished. As I complain every year that ends, where did time go? I always have this feeling that time passed and we still haven't managed to do all that which is necessary for the sense of urgency that's looming about. But there is also some sense of accomplishment, sense that we had a good year at Lush and that we are on the right track for ensuring a more sustainable business model that respects people, animals and the environment.
I thought I'd list a few highlights of the year and share some of the work we did:

* Naked Campaign:
100 of our lovely members of staff showed some flesh in July to campaign against excessive packaging and to show that there is an alternative. In the shops, we promoted our naked, unpackaged products through promotions and staff awareness.

* Packaging is Rubbish on Channel 4:
Mark Constantine, the big boss, did an excellent program on Channel 4 discussing our addiction to packaging, how packaging costs the environment and how it costs us a lot of money, too. He showed that for the best-selling shower gel brand, packaging costs 2x or 3x more than the raw materials.

* Palm-oil free soap base:
2007 was also year we made a major industry breakthrough, by working alongside the researched at Kay's Soap (in the picture on the left) we launched the first palm-oil free soap base to be done on large scale. In 2007 we launched only one soap with that base, but have now tested it with all other soaps and we hope to roll out in the whole range in the next few months.

* New Packaging:
We introduced some new and exciting packaging like the popcorn for filling our mail order parcels and gift boxes. We also replaced the bubble-wrap we used internally for something a lot more sustainable: crumpled recycled paper from Easypack. We gave a lot more thought to finding more environmentally packaging and looked into new and recycled materials coming to the shops this January.

* Eco-friendly gifts:
We printed our wrapping paper on 100% post-consumer recycled paper using vegetable inks. New paper ribbons were introduced and some of the items like ballistics and bubble bars went in the box naked, avoiding extra bags. We've wrapped our big naked gifts: Easter Eggs and Supersize Lush Pud in compostable cellulose film. The factory where the gifts are made also ran on 100% renewable energy with Ecotricity this Christmas.

* Green Helpers:
Some shops have one Green Heper, some have a team of them: keen and engaged members of staff, who encourage others to be green and ensure that shops are run to good environmental standards. They come up with great ideas from bringing organic soup to other members of staff to campaigning to get other shops recycling. We also met locally at four different eco places around the country to get everyone inspired and connected.

* Compost at the Factory:
In July, after an arduous search for a waste contractor who would take our organic waste, we started a compost scheme in the factory. All of our veg and fruit peel, herbal infusions, unpopped kernels from popping our own popcorn, floor sweepings, waste solid products gets composted. We produce about one tonne of organic waste per week that we are now diverting from landfill. Our organic waste goes to Eco-composting as part of their in-vessel composting operations. We will continue to avoid landfill as much as possible.

* Bio-diesel from chip fat:
The delivery company that transport goods to shops within 250km of our factory bought a kit for making their own bio-diesel from chip fat! They ran trials and used it in the trucks used for Lush. At the moment, there are problems with the manufacturers of the lorries, who claim they will only guarantee vehicles using 5% bio-diesel. We'll join in the fight and put some pressure to ensure this lovely initiative goes ahead as planned.

We have also been actively reducing the amount of air freight we use. Only a tiny percentage of our raw materials is air-freighted. We still have to air-freight very expensive essential oils which cost many thousand pounds a litre, but that is also being looked into and hopefully we will soon have a no air-freight policy!

In 2008, we keep on reducing the footprint of our processes, reducing our waste and showing that sustainability can be colourful, fun and nice-smelling!


newdays said...


ohia said...

Hi Ruth!

I'm an SA at a shop in the US. I love that the new Perfect Match gifts for Valentine's Day come in that paper embedded with wild flower seeds. And I noticed that Flower Power gifts are now being shipped out with tags that are the same, but why stop there? Why can't all the tags be that organic? The flower seeds brilliantly demonstrate LUSH's commitment to the environment, and really encourage customers to take that sentiment home, especially new customers who may not share LUSH's feelings on environmental issues (yet!!). I know that making every single gift tag out of this material could prove to be more expensive, but I'm sure we'll all breath easier when those shiny paper tags are gone.

Cheers! Emily

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