Lush has been 10% Employee owned since 2017…
For Lush to be the company it is and behave in the way that it does, it needs to be an independent company.
Not public, not owned by anyone else, like a corporation, and not owned by a private equity company with a purely profit motive. The Lush Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) is a Trust in which 10% of Lush’s shares are held. Along with the other shareholders of the business, the Lush EBT owns a proportion of the Lush business. As an employee of a Lush Group country, you are a beneficiary of the Lush EBT, and 5 trustees will look after the trust on behalf of all staff.
Why we wanted an EBT…
Employee Ownership is something that we have been exploring at Lush for over 15 years.
Our staff are the heart of our business and employee ownership has always made sense as we already foster so many of the typical cultures we see in employee owned businesses.
The purpose of having a shared ownership scheme is to:
- Enshrine our ethics
- Ensure the independent ownership of the business
- Maintain the bonus culture
We believe that the best ownership structure for the business going forward is that its shares are held in both:
- Family trust
- Employee benefit trust
Why we’ve done this
The founders and shareholders appreciate the contribution that every member of staff makes to the business, and having all of our staff as beneficiaries of the EBT recognises their efforts and commitment in making us the company that we are.
If a member of staff came to work for us because they believe in the ethics of the business, through the EBT we can make sure that those ethics are observed, preserved and protected.
We don’t believe that employees should be bought and sold with a business. The company will not be bought or taken over by an external body, the EBT guarantees this. If the current shareholders decided to sell their shares to an external buyer, resulting in a change of control, then the staff through the Lush EBT would need to agree.
The shareholders that currently work in the business have made an agreement and commitment that if and when they sell their shares, they will sell them back to the company.
The upshot is
- Employees will always own a stake in the business. No one will be able to come along and buy our company at the highest price.
- We can ensure the company is independent and can behave in the way it wants to behave.
- We can put more information into everybody’s hands. This means we can have people in place to pass messages to every staff member, getting messages to our shop and factory floors.
- There is an onus on everyone who works for Lush to help us stay true to our ethical charter. All of us as beneficiaries of the EBT can have an active role in keeping us accountable to these guidelines.
- Everyone who works for us should be able to earn a bonus, we have committed to protect the eligibility for all employees to be part of a bonus scheme in every role across the business.
- Our ethical charter cannot be compromised or degraded without consultation from our trustees. If someone thinks we’re not compliant with our ethical charter, they can say so.
The current trustees
5 trustees will look after each trust on behalf of the staff.
- 2 Company elected Trustees
- 2 Staff elected Trustees
- 1 Independent Trustee
Meet the trustees1 / 5
Lush Director, Shareholder and Board Appointed EBT Trustee
Karl Bygrave started his career with Constantine & Weir, a previous business venture from the founders of Lush, in 1983 as a trainee product compounder and has now been working for Lush for 24 years.
Karl has had a very colourful journey in the business starting with the set up of the Japanese business back in the early 2000’s. Karl also relocated to Australia for a number of years to re-organise the Australian business and introduce Lush into the New Zealand market. Along with his fellow colleagues, Karl managed Lush’s entry into several other international markets including The Middle East and Brazil, as well as often managing the fall out of many partner relationships and re-structures and even set up the very first Lush website!
Through his love for animals, has championed Lush’s non-animal testing work through The Lush Prize and Lush’s Human Cell Culture testing programme for almost ten years. Having worked in and managed many areas of the business including UK Mail order operations, International Regulatory Affairs, Legal, Emerging Markets and Intellectual Property protection, in Karl’s words ‘It is his job to remove any block or barriers to enable the company to do what it wants to do while managing the business risk’.
“I’m very touched to have been asked to be a trustee as I believe it is an important aspect of the business and important recognition of every member of staff’s contribution,” he says.
Lush Co Founder, Shareholder, Inventor and Board Appointed EBT Trustee
Mo Constantine co-founded Lush in 1995 with six co-founders including husband Mark and has been involved in the creation and manufacture of innovative beauty products for the past 25 years. Mo manages our manufacturing business and specialises in inventing solid, unpreserved and unpackaged products and was granted her first patent in 1988 for the invention of the resoundingly popular solid shampoo bar, although most commonly known as ‘inventor of the Lush Bath Bomb’.
Most recently, Mo led the team working on the concept and opening of our very first Fresh shop in Paris.
Staff appointed trustee
Wendy, is the staff nominated representative for the UK. “I’ve been in the business for the last ten years. Firstly as a Christmas temp, a shop manager, a product and brand trainer and now a retailer for the UK and Ireland. Throughout my whole experience my passion for Lush has come from the people who work for our brand; It’s what made me want to work here in the first place! I truly think we have the most unique and amazing work force.
I wanted to be a EBT trustee as my politics and activism both in and out of the company are about equality, inclusivity and diversity. Something I’d always strive to improve and protect. Beyond that I am excited to offer all Lushies the chance to be heard, shape our future and keep changing the world.”
Staff Appointed Trustee
Julia hails from Lush Austria and has been part of the Lush family since 2015. “I started as a Christmas Temp and after a few days of work I knew that I would like to work for this company longer. After a while I became Supervisor of the busiest shop in Austria and in Summer 2019 I got voted as a Trustee, which means a lot to me!
Lush is a beautiful place to work at and I want everyone to feel the same way. Even in difficult times we have to take care of each other. Staying connected is the key to being heard. As a Trustee I want to make sure that every voice is taken seriously.”
Helen brings with her 18 years of experience in retail employee ownership via the John Lewis Partnership. “I am absolutely delighted to be joining Lush as the new Independent Trustee of your Employee Benefit Trust. Not only do I love your products, but I applaud everything you stand for. Doing work of meaning is of great importance to me and I have enjoyed a career of working with and for several purpose led organisations.”
Our Ethical Charter
One of the principle aims of the Lush Employee Benefit Trust (the EBT) is to protect the core values that enable us to maintain our ethical standards. To that aim we are putting a process in place via the EBT to ensure that decisions are not made which may breach or materially affect our ethical practice without first taking the views of the staff of all Lush companies into account. This also allows for us all to be thoroughly briefed about the issues behind any major proposed changes so that we can make a meaningful contribution to that decision and the leaders of the business can make an informed decision having considered all our views.
The Employee Benefit Trust (EBT) has been created with 10% new shares issued to the trust. We hope the EBT engages our employees and gives you a voice in safeguarding Lush’s independence and ethical principles.
Anyone who is employed in a Lush group country is automatically part of the EBT. As soon as join the payroll your voice and vote count. There is nothing you have to do to sign up for EBT.
Group countries are: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia Manufacturing, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Portugal, Saudi Group, Spain, Sweden, UAE and UK.
Our partner businesses are jointly owned by our partners some of whom are interested in seeing how the EBT works with a possibility that they do something similar in the future.
There are two ways this could happen. In the past, we have had partners who wanted to sell their business and Lush UK bought it. If this were to happen with a partner country, then you would join the EBT. Alternatively, if a partner wants to retire, they may wish to set up an EBT or something equivalent in their country. If something is established for the benefit of the staff it would be a separate entity to this EBT.
No, employees don’t have to invest any of their own money. This isn’t a share ownership scheme. If shares become available from the shareholders the shares may be purchased by Lush Cosmetics Limited and re-issued to the EBT.
Once you leave the business and come off the payroll then you will no longer be part of the EBT.
Further reading →