Since Lush began, our founders and staff have been aware of how the products we manufacture and sell interact with the environment.
We have always used creative solutions to make a positive impact on the planet, like the invention of the first-ever solid shampoo bar.
Environmental issues are at the heart of the company and trickle through to the decisions we make on a daily basis. For example, we use almond and olive oil – not mineral oil – partly because we think fields of trees make our lives much richer than oil fields. We keep on top of legislation and welcome new regulations that genuinely reduce our impact. We like to support environmental groups that take part in creative direct action to help change the law.
We are committed to becoming more sustainable the more we grow, by using our buying power to drive positive change.
We believe taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility including all of our staff and our customers.
Here’s how we’ve been doing it…
Our passion is to get rid of packaging when designing a product. We use as little packaging in the shops as possible and give you the choice to go completely naked – we mean the products, not yourselves. About half of our products can be taken home with no packaging. We save nearly 6 million plastic bottles globally from selling shampoo bars alone.
When packaging is unavoidable, we prefer to use recycled materials. 90%, by weight, of our packaging material is recycled and we’re working on the remaining 10%. We like our packaging to be reused, recycled or composted at the end of their lives and aim to have 100% of our packaging recyclable or compostable.
As recycling for our black pots is not available everywhere (despite being a clean and non-toxic material), we put our money where our mouth is and give a free fresh face mask when you bring five of them back. Black pots are recycled or re-used as art material.
We also enjoy looking into new materials and for the future, legislation permitting, we would like to start using refills and to increase the amount of reusable packaging used to transport products between our factories and our shops.
We take great care when buying our raw materials. We prefer to use ingredients that are produced in a sustainable way and avoid those that aren’t. Palm oil, for example, went into our black book and was replaced by more earth-friendly oils in our soap base. We are now working to remove it from all products, as well as encouraging other companies to do the same.
Over 70% of our range is self-preserving and we are always looking at ways to improve on that.
We will keep on putting masses of natural ingredients in our products, dreaming up self-preserving cosmetics, worrying about their environmental impact and working with our suppliers to minimise that. We choose to give our love (and money) to suppliers that respect the environment and the animals and people living there.
Waste and Recycling
The total recycled content in all Lush packaging is about 89% (including paper bags, aluminium tins, gift wrap, ribbons, boxes, tags and inserts). That means that for every tonne of material bought, 900kg come from recycled sources.
Pots and bottles are made with 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic, saving about 65 tons of Carbon Dioxide and 90 tonnes of virgin plastic, or 800 barrels of oil, each year.
Carrier bags are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, saving 100 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide each year.
Gifts are lovingly wrapped with recycled paper and protected using Ecopops; which is made from potato starch and is 100% biodegradable.
Energy is embedded in all that we consume. We are working to reduce the amount of energy used to produce, transport and sell the products to you. We have been doing that by making our processes more energy efficient, getting staff to switch off, replacing less efficient equipment, generating some of our own energy on-site and increasing insulation. We also carefully choose who we buy our energy from to ensure no fracking companies are supported by our energy use.
Water is very precious to us and we are aware that it is a luxury not everyone on the planet shares. By making some products solid, we avoid using incredible amounts of water 450,000 litres a year from selling shampoo bars globally. We will continue to monitor how we use water at the factory and reduce our consumption of water not used in products.
We would like to report on our environmental performance on a yearly basis and make sure we maintain green issues alive in the hearts of our staff, ensuring that this policy delivers on what it promises. Although the green message comes from the top, the organisation needs a network of people to spread it. So we will continue to encourage and support all the people who want to help and will make them Green Helpers.
We also believe in campaigning with our customers to bring to light important topics, while also having a lot of fun. We like to empower those around us and are especially fond of turning passion into action.
Lush Green Policy
The Lush Green Policy lays out the commitments Lush has made to environmental issues and reminds us that there is always more we can, and should, do.
Core elements include:
Keep environmental issues at the heart of the business and take them into account when making decisions.
Commit to keeping in line with legislation and going beyond it to create new green initiatives.
Use recycled materials for in-store packaging, printed materials, office paper, and collect black pots from customers for recycling.
Set a target for recycling rates in the shop and continually work towards it, until one day we hope to reach the dream of Zero Waste.
Commit to having the best possible recycling service in our stores and offices, and in training staff to implement this.
Commit to reducing air-freight of products and ingredients and use green transport to distribute it to stores wherever available.
Choose trains over planes for staff transport.
Set targets for saving energy. Pledge to use green energy suppliers if available and buy energy-saving equipment.
Pledge to campaign for environmental issues, empower staff to make a difference and have a thriving programme of Green champions.