9th March 2023

A Foreword, by Lush Chief Digital Officer, Jack Constantine



Why is a cosmetics company getting involved in the work of digital ethics? Well, because we all have a duty to give a shit about the future of our planet and the life that inhabits it. At Lush we vehemently believe that digital rights are human rights, and without conscious change on a global, holistic level those rights are compromised. Humanity is sadly not in a position to turn a blind eye to the issues we face as a global society any more. So instead we will roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty trying to make a small difference to a big problem.

To keep us accountable to the beliefs that we hold true, Lush formulated its own set of Digital Ethics Policies in 2016, which we consider every time we design, build or launch a digital product. These policies are now locked into the ethical charter of the Lush EBT and represent a platinum standard that we aim to move iteratively closer to in each decision that we make. They are our guiding principles.

We do not wish to be draconian in the way that we enforce them, but they need to be a conscious consideration in everything that we build and design. In the same way that we know that we cannot immediately eradicate palm oil from all of our cosmetics products, despite acknowledging the necessity to move toward palm-free alternatives, we determined these policies to act as a destination that we are continually driving toward. These policies can be consolidated into three categories that are further detailed below.


  • The open-source policy is about embracing the use of open-source technologies in everything that we design, build and release throughout the Lush technology estate
  • We will only use technologies that are released on an OSI-approved license
  • Giving back – we will give back our research and code under an OSI-approved license to the open communities

Ethical Hardware:

  • We will only use hardware that is conflict material-free where possible
  • We will only use commodity hardware that has high output and a low energy consumption
  • We will only host on 100% renewable energy

Ethical Data:

  • We will ensure all data that is stored on our products or systems is encrypted and secure
  • We will ensure your data can be accessed only by you and those you give permission to
  • We are transparent about how we use customer and staff data

How can all of this be summed up? Ultimately, at Lush we believe in the power of small tech energy. As with our social switch-up, which saw Lush dubbed the ‘anti-social gangster of the high street’, we are prioritising a move away from the big tech giants such as Meta in favor of smaller, more agile, open-source communities. We wish to have zero reliance on the rabbit hole that is ‘trademark buccaneering’ on Google in favor of interacting with our customers in more ethically sound digital scenarios such as across the metaverse (no, not Zuckerberg’s half-baked version). Lush feels that we are at a parapet moment of big tech rebellion and we want to be there for the opening procession.

Despite how it may come across, we are extremely optimistic about the future of digital and the potential for technology to positively impact both society and the planet in harmony with one another. As emerging technologies and younger generations collide with force, we are beginning to peak over the horizon of a brighter future. Where only tech monopolies existed previously, we are seeing discerning commentary on why that has been allowed to happen. We are seeing an increased appetite for a decentralized, open web, far more akin to the original intentions of Tim Berners-Lee, forefather and founder of Web2. There is an optimistic blending of the digital and physical worlds to generate experiences richer in joy and uniqueness, making the seemingly impossible, possible. At the same time, this blurring of IRL and online is helping to establish a reality that is breaking free from the monetary constraints of big money meaning big influence – in a decentralized, digital world virtuous values can hold much more clout than financial values.


People Surveyed for this report

The fault lines between old and new-order thinking in digital spaces have become increasingly stark, with technological innovation promising a break from Big Tech’s dominance, welcoming a digital future that’s democratized, decentralized and transformational.

As societies and individuals, our reliance on technology has continued to intensify. Whether it’s for their health or happiness, work or wellbeing, people are now digitally dependent. But as the world-changing promise of existing digital platforms wanes, brands and consumers alike are re-assessing these reliant relationships. 

‘Digital culture is currently highly fragmented,’ says Mica Le John, educator, author and CEO of Idoru, a platform that aims to help people find their true-to-life style and identity in the metaverse. ‘Social media platforms, for instance, are having an identity crisis, each trying to be everything at once. And in the process, they’ve stopped fulfilling people’s real needs.’

Rachel Coldicutt, technology expert and founder of consultancy Careful Industries, agrees. ‘Technology can be socially transformational and empowering, enabling networks to be built, strengthening social bonds, allowing people to resolve conflict and helping communities organize themselves,’ she says. ‘But currently much of the landscape is dominated by market capture, entrenched power, capitalism, surveillance and a hostile environment.’

So what should brands do in response? According to our research, almost seven in 10 adults (69%) across the UK, the US and Japan believe that if a social media platform is unethical then brands should step away from it, with six in 10 (62%) respecting a brand who cares more about a social media platform’s ethics than the number of people they can reach.

Despite growing concern about the impact of existing digital culture, techno-optimism continues to shine through. Digital platforms still offer numerous benefits that consumers hold close, including connecting with others (33%) and finding like-minded individuals (29%). A majority (57%), meanwhile, say tech boosts their productivity, with 39% saying social media helps them express their identity.

‘We need to help elevate and develop the positive actions that are happening in this space,’ says Annabelle Baker, director at Lush. ‘There’s a different future out there, beyond the one we see now, where people can engage within safe environments on. We need to move the narrative from what we can’t do to what we can.’

This positivity is being further fueled by a rapidly developing technology landscape, with artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse and Web3 – the next, decentralized iteration of the internet – promising a new way of doing things.

But figuring out how this future will unfold presents a mammoth task. ‘It’s difficult to understand what’s coming, with so much technological change on the horizon,’ says Mark Constantine, CEO of Lush. ‘We need to develop a greater understanding of what societies, the environment, economies and cultures will look like after a decade of exponential digital disruption.’

With a belief that tech should give more than it takes, Lush, in partnership with strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory, has set out to do just this. Already championing ethical data, ethical hardware and open-source technologies, Lush demonstrates how tech can be built for the greater good and impact positive social change, just like its ethically sourced products.

In this report, we explore what this will look like over the next decade and beyond, investigating the rapidly shifting digital landscape, its impact on consumers and existing barriers to digital transformation. We present a new manifesto for digital engagement, which can enable ethical innovation to be unleashed, and uncover the new solutions and spaces future-facing organizations can build. 

To do this, we’ve interviewed five leading experts in the tech sector who are already helping this techno-optimist future unfold, and surveyed more than 12,000 consumers across the UK, the US and Japan to understand their digital wants, needs and desires, and their views on the future of digital engagement and social media.  As Martin Raymond, co-founder of The Future Laboratory, states: ‘Digital culture is set to become increasingly pervasive, immersive and potentially transformational – both positively and negatively – than we can imagine. We need to create a fundamental framework that can govern these spaces, in the same way we have with the physical world.’


Facing a series of once-in-a-generation challenges, the world has experienced more change in recent years than we’d expect across a whole decade. Cultural, economic, political and social priorities have all been transformed by the climate crisis, a global pandemic and geopolitical instability, among other factors – and now technology is entering the mix.

From the pitfalls of existing digital spaces to the world-changing potential of AI and the decentralized promise of Web3, transformation is under way. So what changes are these ongoing shifts powering, and how will they affect the future of digital engagement?

Anti-social Media

Times are changing. Our research shows that over the past 12 months, people are spending less time on social media. Over a third (35%) of Meta users (Facebook and Messenger at 17% and Instagram, 18%), almost a third of Pinterest users (27%), a quarter of Twitter (24%), Discord (24%) and Snapchat (24%) users, over a fifth of BeReal (22%) users, 18% of TikTok users and 16% of Line users, are on these social media platforms less frequently than a year ago.

‘People are shunning social media and the reasons for this departure are complex,’ says Jack Constantine, chief digital officer at Lush. ‘The promise of social media was connection, expression and community. But today, many consumers distrust social media platforms. Some even experience digital platforms as a hostile space. This is alarmingly shown by our research, which reveals that nearly half (49%) of consumers believe social media platforms do not do enough to protect users from harassment, harm and manipulation.’

In many ways, the social aspect of platforms has long been left behind. Digital spaces have turned into purely media platforms that are harming digital wellbeing, polarizing populations, amplifying mistrust and rewarding toxic posts more and more.

‘The social aspect of social media no longer really exists,’ says Mica Le John, educator, author and CEO of Idoru. ‘It’s now largely about content rather than social interaction.’ It’s a view backed by consumers, with our research revealing that 44% of consumers surveyed say social media is no longer social.

The impact of this content is proving destructive too. A majority of consumers in the UK (63%) and Japan (53%) don’t think social media platforms do enough to moderate the circulation of extreme viewpoints. ‘If a high street store was inspiring similar feelings, or fueling extremist views, we wouldn’t stand for it,’ says James Bridle, artist, writer and author of New Dark Age. ‘Yet in digital spaces, we let it unfold.’

It’s something being felt across regions. As Danny Gallagher, owner of Tokyo-based youth culture agency Future Collective, states: ‘While Japan’s social media is relatively pure juxtaposed against that of America, there is most definitely a dark underbelly counterbalance. Bullying – or in the digital world, cyberbullying – runs rampant in Japanese Gen Z’s domain.’

When it comes to responsibility, consumers are looking to leaders to set the tone. Our research shows that over a third (35%) of social media users would abandon a platform if the CEO was unethical, with just 17% of consumers saying it’s important for brands themselves to make social media a safe place.

Depressingly, dangerous outcomes are baked into the success of many platforms. While over half (58%) of consumers we surveyed believe controversy gets an unfairly weighted share of attention on social media, many are unaware of how far the deception goes, with algorithms able to weaponize content covertly. If the truth were out, a significant proportion of consumers would stop using a social media platform if that platform knew they were allowing posts or profiles that were intentionally offensive (31%) or biased (29%) and didn’t remove them.

‘We’ve heard from whistleblowers about how engagement metrics actively drive and increase polarization,’ says Rachel Coldicutt, technology expert and founder of consultancy Careful Industries. ‘They know what’s happening but do it anyway because it makes them the most money.’ Consumers in our survey have some awareness of this, with over a third (36%) believing that social media posts provide dishonest, inaccurate information.

Katie Hillier, chief digital anthropologist at the LiiV Center, agrees, speaking to the need for continual re-appraisals of social media platforms and their evolution. ‘Most social media companies have failed at protecting users,’ she says. ‘You can’t just ‘set and forget’ these platforms. A greater, ongoing and iterative understanding of digital culture, general culture and people is needed to ensure spaces are safe and secure.’

Growing evidence and the testimony of whistleblowers is driving future-facing brands to reconsider their endorsement of social media platforms. Lush is one example, with its anti-social media policy representing a commitment to ensuring the platforms on which it is present do their best to protect users from harm, are transparent with data use, and don’t embrace algorithms that target users with negative content.

Citizens are rallying behind such action, with our research showing six in 10 adults (62%) would respect a brand which cares more about a social media platform’s ethics than the number of people it can reach, while 70% agree that brands should be responsible for creating and maintaining clear social media policies. Brands that have no presence or have stepped away from social media platforms are also viewed as responsible (21%) and principled (16%).

‘There is now overwhelming evidence that some social platforms know the apparent dangers that people, particularly young people, are exposed to because of algorithms and insufficient regulation,’ says Mark Constantine, co-founder and CEO of Lush. ‘We’re not willing to expose our customers to this risk, so it’s time to take it out of the mix until practices have improved.’


of consumers believe social media platforms do not do enough to protect users


Most social media companies have failed at protecting users. You can’t just ‘set and forget’ these platforms. A greater, ongoing and iterative understanding of digital culture, general culture and people is needed to ensure spaces are safe and secure.

Katie Hillier, chief digital anthropologist at the LiiV Center

Too Big Tech
Across the globe, Big Tech’s digital dominance is palpable. According to Harvard Business Review, more than 50% of global online ad spending goes through Meta or Alphabet. In search, Google boasts more than a 60% share in the US, 75% in Japan and over 90% in Europe. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services alone generated $80bn in revenue in 2022, with Bloomberg estimating Amazon’s entire market value at $1 trillion.

‘The last decade has seen this strange system evolve, where consumers and audiences provide tech platforms with engagement and content at no cost,’ says Rachel Coldicutt. ‘Big Tech has stealthily normalized this precarious relationship, with users essentially working for these platforms for free.’

This unregulated dominance has set in motion a tech-lash. Big Tech’s supremacy is on the decline. Our research affirms this, with barely half (52%) of respondents believing Google and Amazon are considered trustworthy sources of ethical information. Public concern has also been sparked over the extent to which a handful of companies have colonized the internet, fueling movements seeking to combat the unregulated dominance that Big Tech has in society.

A significant 57% of consumers we surveyed feel like big brands and corporations dominate technology and online culture, while 55% want Big Tech to have less control online. This rises to 60% and 61% in the UK and the US, respectively.

Beyond societal influence, the unwieldiness and lack of transparency around Big Tech’s inner workings is also affecting our human needs. ‘Having agency – knowing where you stand, understanding your relationship to things around you and, critically, feeling like you have some control – is one of humanity’s most basic psychological needs,’ says James Bridle. ‘But it is constantly under attack when we operate in digital spaces we have little or no control over.’

In a bid to fragment a monopolized digital economy, regulators are now focusing on ethical policies such as anti-trust bills and children’s protection acts which prioritize collective benefit rather than profit. We know from our research that consumers are rightly concerned: 70% are calling for global legislation that protects the safety of users throughout their digital experiences.

The need for immediate change is paramount. ‘We can see Big Tech actively lobbying to protect their interests when it comes to emerging technologies that could threaten their dominance,’ says Jack Constantine, with layoffs and sluggish stock performance suggesting that the tide could be turning against Big Tech. ‘At the same time, they are making virtual land grabs to try and control the future of immersive digital spaces.’


of consumers we surveyed feel like big brands and corporations dominate technology and online culture


consumers don’t believe social media platforms do enough to protect their data from third parties

The Data Dichotomy

More connected than ever, humanity now creates over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to Domo. As people spend more time in digital spaces than ever before – sharing data, spending money, working and divulging personal details – unsurprisingly, data privacy remains a major global consumer concern.

Many businesses underestimate the scale of the issue. In the UK, 60% of consumers don’t believe social media platforms do enough to protect their data from third parties. Two thirds (65%) of global consumers, meanwhile, don’t want social media brands to use their data for commercial benefit.

These concerns are undermining the transformative potential of ethically harnessed data, with a new approach required to ensure that this potential can flourish. ‘The first step is to recognize that when we talk about data, we’re really talking about people,’ says Katie Hillier. ‘This can help fuel the fight to protect people’s data, grow awareness and put the pressure back on companies to ensure they have the right privacy layers in their products.’

At the same time, data should be re-appraised as a tool to unlock innovation, instead of something to collect and sell on. As Lush’s Jack Constantine states: ‘Organizations have stopped considering how they can innovate with the data they have. Instead, they’re intent on collecting more and more, but are doing less with it. It’s a dirty place to be.’

This doesn’t only apply to ethical concerns either. Consider the environmental impact of the vast infrastructure required to store ever-increasing quantities of data. Often referred to as factories of the digital age, data centers are projected to account for 3.2% of electricity demand in the EU by 2030, an 18.5% jump from 2018, according to the European Commission.

Data transparency will be key. Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology holds significant promise, helping to create secure, real-time communication networks with partners around the globe to support supply chains, delivering new levels of trust. Lush is already using supply chain mapping software to create visibility of its global supply webs.

In addition, it has partnered with suppliers to implement and test a blockchain-enabled high transparency supply chain for frankincense. Frankincense supply chains in Somaliland can be notoriously opaque and utilizing blockchain helps ensure fair, timely payments to harvesters and traceability of material.

An Exclusive Internet

The current iteration of the internet has been found wanting. Despite its inventor Tim Berners-Lee stating back in 1997 that ‘the power of the Web is in its universality’, the reality has unfolded very differently. Instead of universality, today’s dominant digital spaces provide anything but, with Berners-Lee’s vision undermined by digital exclusivity and a lack of online representation and accessibility.

This is evident across the web. Our research reveals that just one in three (33%) consumers think digital spaces represent a more accessible place for them to interact with others than the real world. A majority (54%) of Gen Z, meanwhile, believe select groups are marginalized or ignored in digital spaces.

The sentiment is even higher among those who are marginalized. More than four in five (81%) consumers who don’t ascribe to traditional gender binaries, for instance, say digital spaces ignore marginalized groups, compared to 38% of the general population.

The implications for businesses are significant, with the intended democratizing impact of technology reversed. ‘In an ideal world, businesses should be accessible wherever people want to access them, without having barriers put in place,’ says Annabelle Baker, director at Lush. ‘But many digital platforms are lacking – they’re still out to make a profit themselves, but it’s to the detriment of both brands and customers.’

Mica Le John says what’s required is more than a step change, but an ongoing remedial process tracked over time. ‘Diversity and accessibility need to be centered at every element of the production, maintenance and growth of digital platforms,’ she says. ‘As businesses continue to build their products and iterate on them, making sure that diverse voices are being heard and catered for is integral.’

Next-gen Digital

As the digital landscape becomes increasingly immersive, intelligent and powerful, society finds itself at a tipping point. The metaverse and artificial intelligence could transform society for good. But they will continue to widen inequality and fragment unless we develop more inclusive strategies, with their onset also creating a wealth of ethical conundrums for society to consider.

Take AI. Thanks to a wave of consumer-facing generative AI platforms – think ChatGPT, Midjourney and Dall-E 2 – the technology’s transformative potential is being heralded. While generative AI is still in its early days, nearly one in three (27%) professionals have already used it to assist with work-related tasks, according to Fishbowl, while Gartner forecasts that generative AI will account for 10% of all data produced by 2025.

But, at present, this influx of intelligence could have an exponentially negative impact on society, entrenching existing issues. A team of researchers from the USC Information Sciences Institute studied two AI databases to see if their data was fair, and found bias in 38.6% of ‘facts’ used by AI.

‘If the data isn’t good, you’ll get outputs that perpetuate negative systemic problems,’ explains Katie Hillier, who remains optimistic about the technology’s impact. ‘Get it right, however, and future digital spaces could unlock so much value. Bringing people together and giving them more ways to build communities would be hugely powerful.’

The metaverse is yet another case in point, despite only two in five (39%) consumers knowing about the metaverse, one in five (21%) believe in its promise to redefine how we experience the world, suggesting a strong conviction among those who have engaged with the immersive new digital frontier. But, with our research showing that 41% believe Meta (Facebook’s parent company) is the metaverse, its potential is already under threat.

The ethical conundrums that many of these technologies present should be met with a mixture of increased discernment and pragmatism, to protect against premature wholesale adoption of behaviors that may in time prove detrimental. ‘We need to be able to distinguish between hype and true value, and develop the critical skills that help us understand the true impact of emerging technologies,’ says Rachel Coldicutt. ‘There might be intelligent people in the room, but plenty of them are too scared to say no.’

In an ideal world, businesses should be accessible wherever people want to access them, without having barriers put in place

Annabelle Baker, director at Lush.

Web3 isn’t just the next iteration of Web2 – it’s a complete rejection of it. What’s incredible is that those building it are attempting to realize the original goals of the internet.

Katie Hillier

Alternet Rising

Amid the digital doom and gloom, there are reasons to be hopeful. A digitally native generation are creating a wave of techno-optimism by embarking on an approach to social change through digital activism defined by collaboration and decentralization. Innovators are harnessing the power of Web3 and immersive tech to confront the homogeneous nature of the internet and its monoculture, creating networks that could help establish a new paradigm for society.

At its simplest, Web3 is a new approach to governance, value creation and stakeholder participation in digital spaces. Built on top of blockchain technologies, Web3 is intended to be decentralized and open to everyone. It represents an opportunity to create a digital future where people are builders and owners of digital assets, community-owned digital spaces and their data.

As the LiiV Center’s Katie Hillier states: ‘Web3 isn’t just the next iteration of Web2 – it’s a complete rejection of it. What’s incredible is that those building it are attempting to realize the original goals of the internet.’

First and foremost, that means facilitating connection, community and curiosity. These are benefits that consumers are craving, particularly younger demographics. Our research revealed that 60% of Gen Z and 58% of Millennials have found communities online that they wouldn’t have in real life, while a majority (56% and 52%, respectively) believe digital spaces enable them to express their identities in ways they can’t in real life.

But it also promises more fundamental changes to the status quo. ‘When you’re trying to deal with the power of some of these tech giants, you sometimes have to get up to mischief,’ says Lush CEO Mark Constantine.

Web3 is allowing this mischievousness to be realized in fully fledged alternative business models and radical ways of doing things. Web3 has enabled new business models to emerge in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), for example, which allocate power to members instead of a single central point of authority, with tokens distributed instead of shares. Research by DeepDao.io shows that, as of January 2023, the total market value of all DAO tokens stood at about $21bn, illustrating their growing influence.

Crypto is another case in point, with 43% of consumers displaying knowledge of cryptocurrency and its potential impact on future growth. In the US, more than one in 10 consumers display advanced knowledge of the tech. Companies like Lancium and HIVE Blockchain, meanwhile, are putting to rest environmental concerns about the technology too, becoming an asset to local electricity grids by purchasing energy when public consumption is low, and powering off during peak hours.

Figures suggest that many agree with this potential: data from Metaverse Post shows that the Web3 space raised $7.1bn in funding throughout 2022. If allowed to be harnessed by communities, this kind of capital represents a wealth creation opportunity that could reset existing wealth gaps, shaping an economically equitable future.

‘Web3 holds significant promise,’ says Danny Gallagher. ‘Many questions still need to be answered, but should its intentions come to fruition, then it sounds like digital nirvana. To think that the average digital denizen can read, write, AND own would be a dream come true.’

But there is a long way to go before this future is realized. Our research revealed that 71%, 70% and 64% of consumers in the UK, Japan and the US, respectively, have never heard of Web3. But, with a majority (51%) of consumers surveyed believing a new version of the internet which gives ownership to users is necessary, Web3 should be heartily embraced once awareness grows.

The challenge now is for governments, businesses and institutions to work together to unlock Web3’s full potential and power up the Alternet, with opinions on who should take responsibility when it comes to online governance split between tech companies (35%), governments (34%) and society as a whole (31%).

‘Web3 is going to be as good as we make it,’ says Lush’s Jack Constantine. ‘Businesses can choose to be big players in this space or sit back and let it unfold. There’s a huge discrepancy between how it’s viewed in the media and how it’s viewed by those building in it, and this needs to be addressed.’


Imagine if, instead of shadow-banning diverse voices, algorithms raised them up and made them visible. The empathy and awareness it could generate – that’s a future I want to see.

Mica Le John, educator, author and CEO of Idoru

of consumers say community ownership of online platforms and sites is important to them

Open-source has always been part of our business, and this will only strengthen as we move into a more tech-dominated world. We want to fast forward, accelerate away from Web2 toward Web3 as quickly as possible.’

Annabelle Baker, director, Lush

A Manifesto for Digital Engagement

Once a signifier of hope and liberation in its rebuttal of 1980s Wall Street culture, the tech industry has, in many cases, revealed itself as a more nefarious force. With a world-changing technological revolution coming into focus – fueled by AI, extended reality (XR), the metaverse, biotech and quantum computing, among other technologies – it’s arguably never been more important to recalibrate our moral compass and embed both integrity and collective ethical codes of conduct into new technologies.

‘Consumers expect brands to help in the fight, with our research showing that 62% believe it’s up to all businesses to ensure digital spaces are ethical,’ says Lush chief digital officer Jack Constantine. Almost half (43%) are actively looking for guidance on how to ensure digital wellbeing, while a similar percentage (48%) believe that global legislation that protects the safety of users throughout their digital experiences is important (48%), rising to 59% in the UK.

‘In response, a new manifesto for world-changing digital frontiers should be adopted from the start, with existing digital platforms requiring a retrofit,’ says The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond. ‘Businesses must help to build a digital culture that promotes equitability, inclusion, representation, accessibility, transformation, and personal and planetary betterment.’

According to James Bridle, this kind of manifesto can make a universal impact. ‘Better education, frameworks and understanding of how we behave, act and protect ourselves and each other in digital spaces is key. Crucially, it’s transferable – it builds agency whatever network you’re on, empowering people with the skills and tools they need to navigate these spaces.’

Without such thinking, things could quickly get dystopian. Take the metaverse. As Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, says: ‘This metaverse is going to become far more pervasive and powerful than anything else. If one central company gains control of this, they will become more powerful than any government, and be a god on Earth.’ Consumers agree, with 47% believing the integrity of the metaverse is vulnerable to unethical conduct by Big Tech.

To protect against such threats and ensure that technological innovation can create exponential progress in a positive direction, we have created The SOCIAL Framework manifesto. A set of six principles for digital spaces, platforms and engagement, this manifesto is designed to enable a techno-optimist future to flourish. Here, we explore its principles and uncover the innovators leading the way.

Before building any digital platform, service or product, its environmental impact must first be considered. No matter how positively impactful a digital space is, any experience will be undermined if hardware, waste or data storage has a detrimental impact on the environment. Get this right, and technology can become a tool to combat the climate crisis, rather than exacerbate it.

Future-facing brands are showing how. A Snøhetta-designed data center, for instance, redirects excess heat to warm surrounding businesses that need it most, including schools and hospitals. Danish company Prime’s new data center, meanwhile, has a net-positive environmental impact.

Elsewhere, Lush is investing in its ethical hardware policy, established to utilize material free from commodity hardware wherever possible, with high output but a lower, more efficient energy consumption, and powered by renewable green energy. Research and development by Lush is now happening on data servers powered by solar and tidal energy, harnessing the power of the famous Poole harbour next to its HQ in Dorset, UK. In addition, Lush has been looking to build a best-in-class ethical tablet device, primarily for its stores, with the potential to be rolled out as a consumer device too.

Across the digital and wider business landscape, competition needs to be replaced by cooperation, with new collectivist attitudes ending an era of one-upmanship. A transparent flow of information can help create solutions and innovations that benefit everyone in the value chain.

‘At present, there’s a lack of collaboration and goodwill among companies,’ says Lush CEO Mark Constantine. ‘Many businesses are buccaneering with trademarks and IP – straight out of the pirate textbook – and this needs to change so that problems beyond the reach of a single business can be solved.’ Lush has already utilized open-source solutions, relaunching its website and app in collaboration with Saleor, which depends on countless contributions by the world’s open-source developers, from high-level libraries down to machine code. 

In the future, platforms will unite data to enable all stakeholders to track and compare performance, ensuring accountability. Founded by ETH Zurich’s Crowther Lab, new platform Restor is paving the way, allowing grassroots nature conservation projects from all over the world to plot their impact, connect and collaborate.

At present, consumers in most digital spaces are not in control of their data or communities. But as consumer-centered models play out beyond e-commerce, decentralized data ownership will create new value exchanges and cultivate self-sufficient micro-economies in which people are in charge of how they obtain goods, as Web3 technologies facilitate true community control of platforms.

As well as the rise of DAOs, myriad platforms are emerging with community ownership in mind, transforming the relationship between brands and consumers. With an eco-system powered by tokens, Voice is a blockchain-based platform that rewards users for posting quality content. Similarly, Twetch is an ad-free social network where users not only own their data and content, but also earn money as they garner likes and followers. It’s a shift being felt strongly in the US, where 41% are interested in receiving monetary value for their consumer data, enabling them to control and profit from sharing it with brands.

Iterative approaches to digital innovation should also be embraced, with a recognition that digital spaces – unlike the physical world – evolve rapidly and in ways we may not yet even comprehend. Embedding an iterative mindset can enable necessary changes to be made, with the continual tweaking of platforms utilized by companies like OpenAI, for example.

Lush’s Headless Commerce approach is another case in point. Representing the separation of the front end and back end of its app, it gives Lush the freedom of expression to build whatever functionalities however it wants, at speed. World-changing iterative innovation doesn’t have to be all-new either; Danny van Kooten, author of a popular WordPress plug-in used on nearly 2m websites, recently found that by removing a single kilobyte from his plug-in he was able to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 2,950kg per month.

Digital spaces must be accessible and inclusive, realizing the original vision of the internet.  Increased inclusivity represents an inherent benefit of digital or virtual environments, ensuring that a person’s work, worth and value are judged based on who they are, rather than despite it.

This push toward inclusivity is driving brands to offer more diverse representation in virtual realms, and help people with diverse needs, wants and desires to move through digital spaces seamlessly.

Idoru is an app that allows users to create realistic, life-like avatars of themselves, providing a level of representation rarely seen in the gaming and digital world. TapTapSee, meanwhile, is a camera application created specifically for blind and visually impaired users that analyzes two- and three-dimensional objects using a phone camera and audibly describes them.

Finally, as IRL and URL become indistinguishable, the experiential nature of digital interaction should be harnessed to provide playful, fun and life-affirming moments. Doing so can promote a mindset shift toward positivity, encourage conduct more akin to that displayed in the physical world, and ensure that digital culture enhances wellbeing.

‘Digital spaces provide an opportunity for business to create life-affirming experiences that defy gravity and material properties, enhancing wellbeing and sparking joy,’ says Lush’s chief digital officer Jack Constantine.

With research suggesting that regularly experiencing awe can enhance our physical and mental wellbeing, boost compassion, generosity and critical thinking skills, reduce chronic inflammation, and even awaken self-transcendence, the challenge is on for brands to harness immersive technologies and deliver moments of wonder in digital spaces (sources: Dacher Keltner, author of Awe, and American Psychological Association).

‘It’s about achieving balance between digital and physical spaces,’ says Mark Constantine, Lush CEO. ‘Coming out of lockdown, people want to experience the real world, they want to see nature and they want to feel the positive impact of doing so on their wellbeing. Digital immersion has its own strengths, and the right combination can ensure both worlds augment each other.’


By embracing the principles outlined in The SOCIAL Framework, brands and businesses can harness the full potential of the revolutionary technological advances already making their mark on society. Here, we outline how these opportunities could unfold, explore the new services and solutions they can inspire, and uncover what a future of ethical digital engagement will look like.

Purposeful Platforms

Consumers burnt out on traditional social media are being offered new platforms that build common good values into their functionality. By 2030, young tech enthusiasts will take community-centered and altruistic approaches to digital platforms even further. 

In response to the anti-social nature of many prominent digital spaces, a wave of social media platforms designed to facilitate positivity and purpose are emerging. These new spaces hope to redeem the social media project by focusing on the core values of civility and social good. To deliver these lofty aims, they’re building ideals into the functionality of their platforms, so that every click, swipe and upload fosters connection, cooperation and community.

Forgoing one-size-fits-all approaches, today’s purposeful platforms each have their own niche for users to hunker down in. Community-focused social media platform Somewhere Good, for example, was created as a safe space for people of color and queer communities, and prioritizes cultivating connection and relaxation online. Users, who are encouraged to take a breath upon opening the app, don’t have profiles, feeds, likes or followers and there is no algorithm.

Taking a different tack, Spoutible is a social media platform where users can ‘spout off’ without fearing harassment. Created by Christopher Bouzy, Spoutible claims it doesn’t have to be sterile and boring to keep its users safe. It promises diversity, a commitment to news and journalists, to put users before profits, and to be vigilant against hate and fraud.

‘New platforms are helping society find the right balance,’ says Lush’s Annabelle Baker. ‘At present, many digital spaces have a detrimental impact on people’s mental health, and this is undermining their potential to provide connections and individual benefits – something new entrants are prioritizing.’

Instead of monopolizing the social media landscape, the likelihood is that in the next decade new, niche options will continue to proliferate, with a network of unique platforms enabling consumers to pick and choose depending on their moods. Purpose is one thing they will have in common.

‘When you create a community through a platform online, you have a responsibility to set up a set of values from the [word] go,’ says Katie Hillier, chief digital anthropologist at the LiiV Center. ‘If you’re not designing with the values that you believe in, that’s where problems arise. It’s why there’s been a new divide in social media as people try to create systems that reject capitalism and enforce more altruistic beliefs around community and democracy in society.’

Already, we can see this shift in action. Users moving away from Facebook and Messenger, for instance, are doing so because they don’t like how the platform uses their data (15%) along with a dislike for what the company stands for (18%). In Japan, not liking the platform’s values was noticeably higher for TikTok (23%) and Instagram (20%).

Beyond altruism, other platforms are enabling users to earn by doing good. Created by Sue Fennessy, WeAre8 is a digital platform with a zero tolerance for hate that encourages engagement through profile-building, likes and follows, but it prompts users to upload content that focuses on making an impact in the world. WeAre8’s users get paid for watching adverts on the platform and can choose how much of the money they earn goes to charity.

‘There’s no point in disrupting without purpose,’ says Mark Constantine, CEO of Lush. ‘By embedding purpose at the heart of these platforms, it makes processes easier and ensures that algorithms and engagement metrics drive positive behavior.’

Looking ahead, we can expect the next wave of social platforms to push the envelope even further, embracing Web3 principles to offer full community ownership and control. Already, we’ve seen the launch of Niche, an ad-free, decentralized social media platform consisting of member-owned communities, while Friends With Benefits (FWB) is powered by a community of Web3 artists, operators and thinkers who each share rebellious values.

Already, consumers are suspicious of the unchecked nature of existing platforms, algorithms and processes. Globally, 34% would stop using a social media platform if it served only content that benefited advertisers and not the individual, while 29% would do so if the algorithm served them biased content. In the UK (53%) and the US (51%), meanwhile, a majority would stop using platforms that allowed harmful or manipulative content.

‘New platforms can help ensure that digital spaces fulfill their potential as a boon to societal progress, like social and civil movements,’ says Future Collective’s Danny Gallagher. ‘Unethical brands and corrupt government love chaos and discord because it drives clicks, conversions and policy changes that pad the pockets of special interest groups. This often leaves young people open to sinister forms of manipulation in the private and public sectors, and it’s something that needs to be protected against.’

With other entrants like Myco enabling any of its users to found digital social clubs, the next generation of digital architects will construct their own virtual spaces to compete with legacy players and prioritize their social health.

And there’s significant potential for brands to get involved in helping consumers attain these platform-building skills, which could help bridge the digital gap – itself a symptom or extension of wider wealth gaps established by systemic racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and ageism. Digital environments are at risk of repeating or contributing to the same inequity we see across societies unless we actively challenge this at the points of access and development.

There’s no point in disrupting without purpose.

Mark Constantine, CEO, Lush

We need to have spaces – both virtual and physical –  that easily allow us, and in a healthy way, to expand and contract what community means to us in the moments of our lives that we’re in.

Mica Le John, CEO, Idoru

The Metastore

With the evolution of the metaverse, XR and increased connectivity, in the next decade the future shopping experience will become a social network of immersive, interactive, connected and open-source stores. Welcome to the Metastore.

As life becomes increasingly phygital, the experience- and service-led approach to offline will go full circle back to online with enhanced capabilities. Immersive digital spaces will mimic physical stores – and vice versa – with customers able to visit and shop either in real life or digitally with their avatars, personalizing the experience to their own unique needs in extended reality through a set of open-source parameters.

This horizon is much closer than it may seem. Technology research and consulting firm Gartner forecasts that by 2026, a quarter (25%) of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse to work, shop, attend school, socialize or consume entertainment. And organizations are already experimenting with the platforms on which this future will unfold.

The city of Seoul, for instance, is the first with its own metaverse platform, with a 3D virtual space providing next-gen public service for both administrative and cultural needs. Spaces include a fintech incubator, a virtual mayor’s office and the Metaverse 120 Center, where avatars help citizens file complaints and solve problems.

Staying in South Korea, Lush harnessed this radical immersion during the Covid-19 pandemic, launching the Lush Christmas Showcase on metaverse platform Gather, which offers fully customizable virtual spaces and interactive capabilities. The brand created three worlds – Lush Land, Winter Land and Snow Fairy Land – with each enabling audiences to learn about the brand’s stories, values and campaigns, along with its different product ranges.

As Lush is showing, the possibilities of this physical, digital and virtual merging are enabling brands not just to provide products and services, but universes that are accessible to all. It marks the beginning of an era when commerce will become truly immersive, collaborative and engaging, with citizens existing ‘in’ the internet, rather than being connected to it. It’s a future of significant appeal to Gen Z and Millennials, with almost half (48%) excited about the blurring of lines between physical and online retail to create a convenient and flexible shopping experience.

But as Web2 has shown, this promise isn’t guaranteed. ‘We’re already seeing Big Tech make land grabs in the metaverse,’ says Lush director Annabelle Baker. ‘There’s a battle between people who are used to owning and being in control of assets buying up digital space and property because they can, and Web3 purists working to ensure virtual spaces are equitable.’

Ryan Gill is one such purist. A leader in the Web3 and the wider tech landscape, Gill views the metaverse as a public utility that should be accessible to all and upon which anyone can build, creating the Open Meta Association to realize this future. It’s attempting to accelerate the growth and adoption of the metaverse by replacing traditional Big Tech and brand gatekeepers of digital eco-systems with a community of like-minded people.

Momentum is growing around these movements in the US and the UK, where 52% and 49% of consumers, respectively, think the integrity of the metaverse is vulnerable to unethical conduct by Big Tech companies, compared to just 18% in Japan. Meanwhile, 45% of consumers globally think Big Tech companies will control the metaverse by selling individuals’ and brands’ data (without their knowledge or consent) for advertising revenue.

Adding value for customer communities is key. As Lush’s Jack Constantine states: ‘The metaverse is more than just another channel to advertise. It’s a space to add value. For retailers, that could mean offering personalized and recommendation-driven service, encouraging experimentation or providing an arena for communities to engage with one another.’

Lush has acquired land in Decentraland – a metaverse governed through a user-led DAO – to bring this kind of value to its customers, enabling them to engage with immersive pop-ups, activations and quests where they can earn exclusive digital wearables for their Decentraland avatars.

As more and more infrastructure becomes connected, virtual spaces that mimic physical ones also promise to fuel experimentation, giving businesses insight into the impact of a decision before they make it. The German Federal Agency for Cartography and Geodesy (BKG) is one case in point. It’s created a digital twin of Germany that can simulate future scenarios to address societal challenges and enhance decision-making. Tech company NVIDIA is building Omniverse, a real-time digital twin platform able to simulate, predict and ultimately combat climate change.

The implications for brands are significant, with digital twin stores enabling companies to simulate in-store initiatives virtually – canvassing the feedback of customers – before physical commitments are made. It also means understanding the impact your entire business eco-system is having in real time, allowing for live tweaks to manufacturing and logistics that can help optimize supply chains and deliver regeneration.

Looking ahead, mimicry could soon flow the other way, as organizations turn the tables to create ‘physical twins’ – real-world spaces informed by a brand’s digital existence.

Showcasing what this phygital future would look like, London retailer Selfridges, together with fashion brand Paco Rabanne and museum Fondation Vasarely, recently created Universe, an in-store experience bridging fashion, art, retail, theater and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). As part of the retailer’s Corner Shop concept, the project included an in-store art exhibition, bringing to life the geometric works of French-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely, complemented by 12 Paco Rabanne NFT garments.

The Lush Lens digital packaging solution also highlights the impact that digital layers can have in physical spaces. The open-source tool eradicates the need for packaging with its ‘naked’ product range, merchandise and apparel by revealing details like product description, ingredients and price, along with in-app immersive videos when shoppers point their smartphone camera at the brand’s products. The feature was designed by Lush’s in-house tech research and development team, and is driven by machine learning and product recognition, with the potential to revolutionize the packaging industry. Customers can also shop in their native language through the app, providing a borderless communications solution. The Lush Lens functionality was created in collaboration with Quikkly, providing a more visually engaging alternative to QR codes through a circular or hexagonal pattern of coloured shapes.

Ultimately, the Metastore is about choice. ‘We need to have spaces – both virtual and physical –  that easily allow us, and in a healthy way, to expand and contract what community means to us in the moments of our lives that we’re in,’ says Mica Le John, CEO of Idoru. ‘Some days you just want to be with your best friends as a small community, some days you want to be delighted by an immersive experience, and some days you want to connect creatively.’

Feedback Frontiers

In 2030, brands will harness the power of Web3 to forge new interactions with customers, creating a new era of co-creation, innovation and Direct-with-Consumer commerce. 

Already, traditional boundaries between brands and consumers are blurring. Customer service has evolved to become more rapid, reactive and personalized, with businesses striving to create conversations with customers, lean in and learn. In response, the landscape has shifted from transactional to reciprocal.

Demonstrating this shift, research from Ogilvy reveals that, when asked if they would be willing to commit an hour a week to be part of a working group for their favorite brand, such as joining a Gen Z Council for three months, 86% of Gen Z said they would be willing to commit the time.

One commerce model built on authentic customer self-expression is Basic.Space, which operates as a membership-based online marketplace. The platform’s digital storefronts allow users to shop for items featured in photos and live-streams of creatives. Encouraging a direct dialogue between sellers, brands and customers, its private social media account is accessible only to members.

‘Rather than avoiding engagement, many consumers are now seeking it,’ says Lush’s Annabelle Baker. ‘It’s laying the groundwork for a period of co-creation and direct-with-consumer commerce, where brands create continual feedback loops with customers, invite them to contribute to the innovation process and build intimacy at scale.’

The Lush app showcases the kind of engagement that can be unlocked through increased intimacy with its Lush Bathe feature. In the near future, by connecting the app to their health data, users will be able to access all-new understanding around the tangible, physical benefits of bathing in relation to sleep and heart rate, maximizing wellbeing.

Immersive, virtual spaces present the perfect opportunity to act on this feedback, allowing customers to experiment with (within set parameters) and co-create branded environments. Such community input can protect against digital homogeneity, ensure virtual realms promote crowdsourced inclusivity, and harness the talent of the more than 50m people around the world who consider themselves to be creators, according to SignalFire.

Digital-first fashion house Finesse uses data, AI and community feedback to predict trends and produce virtually prototyped designs that users vote on. The company, which recently raised $4.5m in funding, approaches its customers as peers. Another example is MetaFactory, a marketplace for digi-physical apparel that takes a crowdsourced approach to creating new brand economies, where designers and their communities share incentives and collective brand management. The MetaFactory community can suggest and vote on product designs using the platform’s own currency.

Already, initiatives are showcasing the positive impact of similar initiatives in the analogue world. In the US, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) recently enlisted design studio Gretel and ON ROAD – a research agency concentrating on Black, Indigenous young people of color and under-represented voices – for a co-created rebranding process involving designers, students, alumni, artists and scholars. This community-led and inclusive approach is designed to reflect the institution’s commitment to inclusivity.

Lush has a number of internal community networks allowing staff from underrepresented communities to connect and collaborate across the business. These networks help to facilitate different communities to contribute to training, product development and how Lush supports its people.  Customers have also been invited into the manufacturing process, transforming it into an experiential touchpoint, whether through in-store Lush Party Experience Workshops, which offer tailored activities and product creation opportunities, or sending its Lush Makers on tour to co-create bath bombs with customers. By 2030, brands could also make their supply chains and innovation hubs experiential too, letting customers wander around virtual replicas of their entire value chain and experience its ingenuity.

Looking ahead, the inherently decentralized nature of Web3 will ensure that these services are offered securely, maintaining the privacy of customer communities. Collab.land is a system showing how, using cryptocurrency to manage Telegram or Discord chat groups so that only those with a certain number of tokens are permitted entry. Moderators can add a bot, which acts as a bouncer to keep the channel’s guest list exclusive.


of Gen Z would commit an hour a week to be part of a working group for their favorite brand

Most companies make it convoluted and difficult for people to gain an understanding of what’s being collected – and they do so deliberately. But Web3 and the blockchain promise to reset the balance, helping people derive value from sharing personal data

Jack Constantine, CFO, Lush

Activist Incentives

By the end of the decade, a new data commerce market will enable consumers to control, broker and profit from their personal data, which brands will harness to incentivize community-minded behavior. 

As we move toward increasingly immersive digital environments, a new data commerce market will follow. The metaverse’s complex network of browsers, indexes and virtual destinations will create new data collection types – especially in the fields of marketing, communications and advertising – with blockchain technologies ensuring data privacy and transparency.

Lush’s ethical data policy is leading the way, ensuring that all of Lush’s staff and customer data is secure and transparent. As Lush chief digital officer Jack Constantine states: ‘Privacy and transparency are integral to unlocking the potential of data, but most companies make it convoluted and difficult for people to gain an understanding of what’s being collected – and they do so deliberately. But Web3 and the blockchain promise to reset the balance, helping people derive value from sharing personal data.’

Providing real value is key – and economic incentives are one route forward. Our research shows that 41% of US consumers believe in a future when they can control and profit from sharing their data with brands. And this figure is likely to increase, rising to 47% and 48% among global Gen Z and Millennials.

As Danny Gallagher says: ‘Digital consumers are now privy to the fact that the users are the product – not the other way around – and are not fans of the fact that their personal data is being abused for the benefit of the one per cent.’

CoverUS’s blockchain-based data marketplace allows consumers to generate a biometric revenue stream by populating their digital wallet with information from an electronic health record (EHR). The brand pays for the data collected through the fixed-price cryptocurrency CoverCoin, which the company hopes users will be able to spend on services such as gym membership in the future.

‘Data has to become a social currency – it’s a natural next step,’ says Katie Hillier. ‘Providing an emotional angle can help realize this future. Imagine being able to opt into sharing your data with a company working toward something you believe in, which in turn could help you change your own behavior to further that cause.’

Several brands are harnessing another Web3 favorite – NFTs – to build this future. In Japan, Lush created exclusive NFTs – minted using Xooa, an ethical blockchain platform – to accompany a recent product drop, with plans to further explore and expand the connection between physical purchases and digital collectibles.

Ikea’s research lab Space10 has developed a concept for connecting a physical furniture piece to an ever-evolving NFT tree, which ‘grows’ through acts of care to incentivize people to keep, repair and recycle their belongings. The concept encourages a move away from financial incentives toward care, where digital objects visualize and reward sustainable behaviors in our real world, creating opportunities for new forms of digital self-expression.

Building on this, luxury beauty brand Guerlain has created Reaverse, hoping to unite digital communities and sustainability through real-life action. Merging its sustainability efforts with a Web3 presence, the brand is selling 1,828 NFTs of bees to support a rewilding project in France’s Vallée de la Millière nature reserve.

By 2030, consumers will be able to assess the real-time environmental impact of their actions – and that of brands too – enabling iterative incentives to be offered that shape behavior for a sustainable end. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) innovative Snapshot IT tool is already delivering these capabilities, collecting and processing up-to-the-minute information on the positions of different parties during complex negotiations at the COP26 climate conference, showing how progress can be tracked in real time.

Fully responsive room environments are also emerging to offer seamless recuperation. Concepts like Mediated Atmosphere, a project by the Responsive Environments group at the MIT Media Lab, can enhance both wellbeing and productivity by improving the atmosphere at an individual level. Using modular, real-time control infrastructure with biosignal sensors that track heart rates and facial expressions, Mediated Atmosphere creates immersive environments through controllable lighting, projection and sound designed to help users work comfortably, with the concept self-regulating on the basis of the user’s activities and physiology.

One can envision the power of such concepts in stores – and, promisingly, engineers from MIT are helping to overcome privacy concerns around tracking and collection. Its Butlr system uses passive infrared sensors to detect only body heat when tracking movement and posture. The sensors don’t know who you are – only where you are and where you’re heading – with tracking stopping as soon as you leave the sensor’s range.

Responsive R&R

As our lives become more digitally dependent, brands are developing tailored solutions that enhance individual wellbeing and promote recuperative living, from bespoke products to responsive environments.

By 2025, an average connected person anywhere in the world will interact with connected devices nearly 4,800 times per day – about one interaction every 18 seconds – up from 601 in 2020, according to IDC/Seagate. This wealth of data is set to unlock all-new, hyper-personalized experiences that seamlessly benefit the health and wellbeing of consumers.

‘Whether it’s unlocking new experiences or new connections,’ says the Liiv Center’s Katie Hillier, ‘giving people the choice to exchange their data for hyper-personalized services can spark new innovations that push the boundaries of engagement.’

In the hospitality sector, the Mandarin Oriental in Geneva is teaming up with Switzerland’s private medical sleep clinic CENAS to provide guests with overnight polysomnographic tests to diagnose sleep disorders. After careful analysis by the clinic’s experts, guests receive advice to attain a deeper slumber beyond the hotel’s program.

Smart technologies are enabling similar solutions to enter the home. A smart bathroom mirror created by wellness company CareOS is one example, promising to cater for families’ overall wellbeing and long-term health. The Poseidon mirror functions as a private personal care device for total wellbeing and can be customized according to individual needs, including families with children or adults following particular care regimes.

The Lush app’s Lush Bathe feature is also paving the way. Collaborating with an inspiring range of wellbeing experts, practitioners, sound healers, mentors, musicians, bands and DJs, Lush offers a series of transformative experiences.  Designed to track and maximise the benefits of bathing, assisted by immersive audio-visual experiences, the in-house designed feature can also connect with your health data to really understand and identify the tangible, physical benefits of bathing. 

Later in 2023 Lush will launch Bath Bot. A companion to Lush Bathe, it’s designed to help create a unique and sensory-transformational experience in the bathtub. Identical in design to Lush’s iconic bath bomb, it connects with Bathe to play content through a distinctive domed convex speaker for 180-degree sound, with different coloured multi-directional lights personalizing the users bathing experience.

Consumers’ appetite for these kinds of experiences is already growing. Our research shows that more than one third (36%) of global consumers are seeking hyper-personalized products and services that cater for their individual needs in the hunt for wellbeing, rising to 40% in the US.

‘By 2030, connectivity will enable products to evolve into immersive experiences,’ says Lush’s Jack Constantine. ‘Buying a product could unlock a personalized bathing experience, like our Lush Bath Bot, for example, with a paired app providing advice and expertise, or smart lighting automatically adjusting to promote relaxation.’


By 2025, an average connected person will interact with devices nearly 4,800 times per day – about one interaction every 18 seconds


From ethics and transparency to purpose and control, existing digital engagement is lacking. But what’s important to remember is that many of these digital platforms weren’t designed with society in mind.

‘Digital platforms would be wildly different places if social scientists had helped design them,’ says Katie Hillier, chief digital anthropologist at the LiiV Center. ‘The general rules that make up Big Tech machines are based on values that a lot of people don’t subscribe to. And they’ve only been able to survive for so long because most people weren’t aware of how their data was being used, or their engagement monetized.’

On the cusp of a new technological revolution – which promises to offer immersive, accelerated and transformative digital experiences – society now has an opportunity to ensure that the rules that govern these spaces do align with their values before we see wide adoption. Importantly, our research shows that we all have a role to play in building this future, with 62% of consumers agreeing that everybody has the ability to contribute to a safer, more inclusive digital world.

For artist and author James Bridle, the pay-off in achieving this goal will prove transformational. ‘Creating ethical digital spaces requires a huge amount of thought, human activity, intentionality and clarity,’ he explains. ‘Telling people what you’re doing and why, and letting everybody in the network engage in the process and contribute their input and imagination is when the interesting, innovating and morally good stuff happens.’

In this report, we’ve set the wheels in motion, says Jack Constantine, chief digital officer at Lush. ‘The phrase ‘tech for good’ doesn’t have to be meaningless. The people behind the building of our technologies are ultimately responsible for the ethical standards ingrained in those technologies. Big Tech CEOs know what they are doing when designing new features, and have every opportunity to act ethically.  While they continue to please their shareholders regardless of the ethical standards of their services, we will move toward a more socially responsible digital future with like-minded communities focused on building a bright future for all.’

Annabelle Baker, director at Lush, agrees: “We’ve gained insight into what the future could be, and there’s endless opportunities for Web3 and the future iterations of the internet to be the spaces we want them to be. Now it’s time for us to actively create the future we want to see.”

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