Our environmental policy
Since Lush began, our founders 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 when we invented 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 is how we've been doing it and how we would like to improve
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.
Waste and Recycling
We spend a lot of time finding the most thorough recycling schemes for the shops and factory and we go to great lengths to avoid sending waste to landfill.
All organic waste at the UK factory is sent for composting, plastic gets recycled in the UK and our wood waste gets burned in our biomass boiler. We also donate to charities the products, which are fit for use, but not for sale.
We will continue to find clever ways to reduce our waste and have set ourselves the target of recycling 85 percent of the factory and shop waste by 2010. We believe in keeping a watchful eye on our rubbish and are currently working in five shops to bring the waste sent to landfill to less than five percent, so zero waste.
Since we are an international company operating in 46 countries - and using fresh raw materials from all over the globe - sea, land and air transport make up our biggest contribution to climate change.
To minimize that, we have reduced the amount of air-freighted raw material to less than five percent in weight of everything we bring into the UK and will keep that as our target. We also work with our international partners to help them reduce their amount of air-freighted goods coming out of our factory.
We prefer to make fresh products locally, using local staff to supply local markets, so we have six manufacturing units around the world and intend to open a few more in the near future.
We don't believe in carbon offsetting. It is a tricky business of ineffective schemes, cheap carbon and people taking advantage, while others try to relieve their guilt.
To reduce our flights, we have kindly asked our employees not to take any UK mainland domestic flights. We encourage using video-conferencing, questioning staff's decisions to fly and making the most out of the trips. For the flights we do take, we tax ourselves Â£50 per metric tonne of CO2 and use the money to fund transport and climate change groups, as well as internal and external low carbon projects.
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.
All our products are biodegradable, expect for the odd glitter or shiny star, they compost easily and cows are known to have grazed on fields full of Lush soapy water after a famous muddy festival.
When designing products, we go for lovely natural ingredients and use as few synthetics as possible. In fact, we have an incredible range of natural products with no synthetics at all. Over 70 percent of our range is totally unpreserved and we will aim to improve on that.
We will keep on putting masses of natural ingredients in our products, dreaming up preservative-free cosmetics, worrying about their environmental impact and working with our suppliers to minimize that. We choose to give our love (and money) to suppliers that respect the environment and the animals and people living there.
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, increasing insulation and buying our energy from a green supplier committed to investing only in renewables.
We would like to have new additions to our solar panels and biomass boiler family and have committed to a target of reducing energy use at the UK factory by five percent a year for the next five years. In the shops, our aim is to reduce energy consumption from lighting by at least 20 percent in new shops and refits.
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 organization 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.