Lush Employee Benefit Trust

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.

There is this horrible repugnant idea that businesses can be sold along with its staff. Many of our staff have been with us for years – so their life’s work is sold with the business.


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
Kim and Karl on the EBT

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.


Employee owned

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


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.

Our Lush Ethical Charter

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

The Lush Ethical Charter

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