Veganism is one of the fastest growing lifestyle movements worldwide and ‘vegan beauty’ is on the rise. [According to The Vegan Society Market Insights], 95 per cent of vegans and vegetarians look for vegan/vegetarian certification logos when they are buying into a brand for the first time. The Vegan Society represents the global gold standard in vegan certification. With a globally recognised trademark across multiple industries, it provides a trusted stamp for The Body Shop products across the world.
Currently, 60 per cent of The Body Shop products are vegan. This includes best-selling ranges such as the Tea Tree skincare range, its Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, Body Yogurts and now the iconic Body Butters. Over the course of 2021, the new vegan Body Butters will be rolled out globally with the Vegan Trademark.
The Vegan Society takes an extremely thorough approach to certification and contact is made with every supplier and manufacturer of raw materials within the product catalogue. For The Body Shop, that’s over 3700 raw materials. Once each raw material has been meticulously investigated, each product is reviewed in totality to make sure it is fully compliant. Only then does a product receive Vegan Trademark certification.
* By December 2023, we aim to have all our product formulas certified by The Vegan Society. It is possible that old formulations which have not been certified by The Vegan Society are still present in the market at that point, as those products are being sold through.
IR: What will the new refill stations look like and how much of the range will be suitable for this?
SC: For The Body Shop, our refill stations are an important step towards sustainability. We know that as a business we need to do more to help our planet. We believe that once is not enough and we want to make it easier for our customers to reduce their impact on the planet, by making refilling a convenient and easily accessible option as part of our collective effort to eliminate waste. Our aluminium refill bottles contain no single use plastic, and our refill station and operating system has been designed to be as efficient as possible in terms of materials and environmental impact. For example, we are not using any energy in the dispense unit, we only use 100 per cent FSC-certified wood-based materials and units are designed to be easily disassembled to aid re-use.
These new refill stations are just the first step on our journey. These stations require thorough testing and come with some logistical challenges. For now, while we make sure we are getting this right, we have chosen our most popular products across our body, hair and handwash categories. We want to make refilling as convenient as possible and to drive real behaviour change in the way our customers can access our products, so we are continuing to explore what products we offer as refills. Watch this space.
IR: How is The Body Shop improving its in-store recycling scheme Return, Recycle and Repeat. What has the response been from consumers and any lessons learned from that process?
SC: The Body Shop could be said to have been ahead of its time when it launched the refills programme in 1976. The trailblazing spirit of our founder, Dame Anita Roddick led the way in many ways, however at the time of the refills launch, the beauty industry and beauty consumers were not ready for it. Times have changed, consumers are now more aware of reducing waste, hence the roll-out of the programme on a global scale. The Body Shop’s roll-out of Return, Recycle, Repeat in five markets in 2019 was paused due to Covid-19 hygiene factors, however the large-scale, global roll out will commence in 2021.
IR: Can you explain how The Body Shop is advancing its sustainability efforts while working with partners in developing countries?
SC: Our Community Fair Trade programme is a fundamental part of how The Body Shop operates, and it’s something we’re tremendously proud of. Since launching in 1987, we have developed long-term trading partnerships with Community Fair Trade suppliers from all over the world – paying fair prices, offering favourable trade terms, targeted support and access to an international market.
Our new Body Butters are made with aluminium lids and 100 per cent recycled plastic, including Community Fair Trade recycled plastic collected off the streets of Bengaluru, India, through The Body Shop’s trade partnership with Plastics for Change. Because, let’s face it, there’s an abundance of plastic in our environment already. With almost a third of India’s waste being uncollected, it has given rise to 1.5 million unsung heroes known as ‘waste pickers’ who work tirelessly to clean up their streets. The Body Shop’s Community Fair Trade partnership with Plastics for Change not only helps tackle the existing plastic problem but helps support around 2,500 marginalised waste pickers in India with access to more sanitary working conditions and a fair price for the plastic waste they collect.
As The Body Shop’s new recyclable Body Butter tubs are made with 100 per cent recycled plastic, it helps reduce the use of virgin plastic in their tubs by 241 tonnes per year.
IR: Why has The Body Shop decided to revamp its famous body butters and are there any other exciting product launches in the pipeline?
SC: The Body Shop invented Body Butter way back in 1992. It was created in the kitchen of Dame Anita Roddick. The very first Mango Body Butter was given its name by her daughter who, while making a piece of toast, said “it’s like butter…for your body”. And Body Butter was born. The seriously rich formula of our Body Butters transformed moisturiser application forever, and the rest is history.
The Body Shop owes a lot to its famous Body Butters – and to all the beautifully unique bodies around the globe – for helping this product reach cult status. But in 2021, it was time for a refresh. Our new Body Butters are now better than ever – certified by The Vegan Society, made with at least 95 per cent natural-origin ingredients, 100 per cent recyclable packaging made from aluminium lids and 100 per cent recycled tubs, and 96 hours of body-loving moisture.
There’s plenty more innovation coming from The Body Shop, so stay tuned!
IR: Now that China has removed mandatory testing on animals for general imported cosmetics, is this a market that The Body Shop would be keen to explore in the future?
SC: The recent changes are exciting. We are currently exploring opportunities in China, as we have always said we would, when regulations change. Our supply chain integrity is aligned across the world and we will remain committed to that. We will share any news to officially enter the market once we’ve done all of the necessary due diligence.