Ethical retailer of the week: Lush
Lush produces fresh handmade cosmetics, with little or no packaging, and follows ethical principles that defend the environment, people and animals.
It was 1994 when Mark and Mo Constantine opened the first shop in Poole, Dorset. Since then, Lush has opened 830 stores in 51 different countries, selling homemade beauty products that attract customers in the streets with their beautiful smell.
Lush used to be the biggest supplier of the Body Shop but the two companies broke up after a while. When the Body Shop was bought by L’Oreal (owned by Nestle), Lush founders criticised the move as a form of greenwashing.
Lush uses fresh and natural vegetarian ingredients – mostly organic and fairtrade – that make the products look like food rather than cosmetics. In an interview, the founders said they took the inspiration from a cheese shop in London and in fact, most of Lush soaps are shown in big blocks. Customers decide the cut they want and get their soap wrapped in paper, saving material and cost on packaging.
Lush is an ethical brand: it does not test on animals – but on human volunteers who offer to try the products. The firm donates 2% of its profits to charity and has started to get involved in campaigns for the protection of animals and on human rights, such as appeals to free Palestine and against immigration laws.
The firm switched to green energy supplier Ecotricity a few years ago, in order to power its factories with clean energy, while inviting customers to return product containers in order for them to be recycled and reused.
Since 2008, Lush started to phase out palm oil from its products. It created the Charity Pot body lotion, a product that promotes a different small charity on the lid each time, whose full price goes to the project sponsored.
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