LUSH Cosmetic Retail Ltd. is a cosmetics retailer headquartered in Poole, United Kingdom, founded by Herbal trichologist, Mark Constantine and his wife, Liz Weir in 1995. This UK-based handmade cosmetics firm is one company that now has over 800 stores worldwide and uses factories in more than 40 countries. Lush as a cosmetic retailer has always been a company that uses unconventional methods which have led them to success. Since its establishment, Lush has been inventing and designing its products to reduce usage of packaging, water, energy and also to reduce carbon emission and waste. 100% of Lush’s products are vegetarian, 65% of them are preservative free, and 58% of them are free from unnecessary packaging. Lush also created solid shampoo bars, massage bars and Bath Bombs that do not even need packaging. Lush says liquid soaps and shampoos need to be bottled and that one can prevent over 30 plastic bottles from entering the landfills by switching to solid bars from Lush. From making shampoo bars in solid form, rather than bottled, over 450,000 litres (118,800 gallons) of water is saved every year. The products in the retail store are displayed similar to how fruits and vegetables are displayed in a grocery store without extra packaging. It’s no surprise that Lush’s ethical supply chains and financial success aren’t mutually exclusive.
A Glimpse into Lush’s Supply Chain Management (SCM)
In the race to become ethical in SCM, companies that are ahead of the game are usually the ones that are “born-green”, in which they prioritised corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their supply chains. Lush is such a company that prioritises ethics and has taken the green approach as a core value of their organisation. With Lush, they put an enormous amount of care into making their products and put importance into finding ingredient suppliers that do the same with the help of their Ethical Buying team. Their buyers travel worldwide, personally visiting our suppliers to trace the ingredients, to meet the growers and producers, and ensure care for the environment and fair conditions for workers.
Lush has called its supply chain approach “creative buying”, where a business looks beyond lowest price and bottom line, and instead buys the best, safest and most suitable products by their ethics. To do this, Lush does not only look at what they buy in association with cost. Organisations should seek assurances that their suppliers are also firms with an ethically sound CSR policy. Clear and transparent CSR programs allow a level of trust to be built into the supply chain for both the purchaser and supplier. They believe that what we buy should have a positive impact on the community from which they are harvest material. Buying from small-scale producer groups affords us the opportunity to drive positive change and form incredible relationships with people all over the world.
Green policies aren’t about appearances, marketing and sales. A credible environmental CSR policy places supply chain processes and practices at its heart. Doing so can reap a whole range of benefits from reduced transport costs, less waste, increased efficiency, lower material costs and even access to government incentive programmes.
Examples of how Lush gets corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their supply chains:
- When packaging is unavoidable Lush uses 100% recyclable and biodegradable bags.
- Lush’s bottles and bags are made from BPA-Free, 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and encourages its customers to return the bottles by giving them a free treat when they return those.
- While designing the products Lush goes for natural ingredients that are produced in a sustainable way as every product is 100% vegetarian and 81% are vegan.
- Lush does not buy raw materials from suppliers who indulge in animal testing or use preservatives.
Social media does play a central role in Lush’s supply chain management as they use it to facilitate people-to-people communication and collaboration. That is why Lush gets personal with its consumers providing assurance for its ethical practices and goes behind the scene into its factories to show consumer’s where their supplies come from and how their products are made and shipped out. Check out these videos that take you inside Lush’s operations:
Lessons for Others
Lush has been working diligently to develop a supply chain that makes good business sense without compromising any of its beliefs. It focused firmly on ‘doing the right thing’ and in the process has saved money, built a great brand and had won the trust of its customers. Taking note of Lush’s accomplishments, there are a few lessons that could be learned here from their ethically responsible supply chain management (SCM), and it’s engagement on social media, as well as a few questions you can ask yourself about your company:
- It is important to define Clear Vision: Lush had a clear vision of how and why they wanted to portray their SCM on social media. They showed their SCM as ethical, socially responsible and sustainable for the environment and that’s exactly what they wanted to communicate to their suppliers and customers. Thus, ask yourself, what is social media expected to do for my supply chain. What are my social media goals? Am I seeking to communicate or engage with my key suppliers and customers?
- Identify with your suppliers and customers in Online Communities: Lush is a company that identifies with suppliers and consumers looking to save the environment, prevent animal cruelty, and online communities that engage in sustainable development. Their theme is based or centred on sustainability concepts such as efficiency or sustainable materials. Where are your existing and potential suppliers collaborating? What online communities can your company identify with and will exposure of your SCM engage them?
- Actively engage: Social media is an ongoing, always on a platform, which means that it is important to be present to the ongoing conversation: listening, contributing to the discussion, providing timely feedback, and incorporating that information into materials, processes, and products. To be effective with business sustainability plan Lush has a defined engagement strategy. Lush is a company that encourages clients to build sustainability programs that leverage social media engagement tools to implement direct and measurable impacts on social, environmental, and economic goals. For example, Lush has created a recycling campaign in which the customer that purchases five fresh face masks from Lush and returns them to a Lush retail store (where they can be recycled and placed back into the supply chain), the customer can receive a free fresh face mask of their choice. This also includes active interaction within the supply chain, seeing how lush created videos using Lush employees to display how their products are made in factories and engage their customers to become more familiar with lush’s SCM. How can your company use social media as a tool to engage customers and suppliers in you SCM? What sustainable measures do you take in you SCM?
Industry: Cosmetics, personal care retailer
Name of Organization Contact: -
Authored by: Huda Mohammed
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
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