Chemical footprinting comes of age

July 13, 2020 by  
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Chemical footprinting comes of age Meg Wilcox Mon, 07/13/2020 – 02:00 When the Chemical Footprint Project launched in December 2014, it aspired to become the next carbon footprint or the next widely used tool for measuring company performance on a critical sustainability concern — toxic chemical use in the manufacturing of products.  It’s made steady progress since then, with 31 companies, including Levi Strauss, Walmart and HP Inc., using the Chemical Footprint Project’s annual survey to inventory and report on their hazardous chemical use, as well as their progress towards safer alternatives.  Last month, however, the initiative scored a big win that just might bring it closer to reaching its lofty goal. Nearly 45 percent of TJX Companies’ shareholders voted in favor of a resolution calling on the discount retailer to report on its plans to reduce its chemical footprint (the “chemicals of concern” used to manufacture the products it sells in its stores).   “To get that kind of vote on this ask, that sends a message,” said Cherie Peele, program manager at the Chemical Footprint Project.  Investors, it seems, want more transparency from companies about how they are moving toward safer chemicals, to manage their risks and respond to consumer preferences. Socially responsible investors are further concerned about the environmental justice implications of the science linking hazardous chemical exposure to chronic diseases such as diabetes because communities of color bear the brunt of chemical production. This investor interest just may spur more companies to take up chemical footprinting, and particularly as they see their high-performing peers reap the rewards of consumer trust in their brands. The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals. The TJX vote was “a good demonstration that the E in ESG is not just about climate or water, it includes chemicals. It’s something that I hope companies take to heart,” said Boma Brown-West, senior manager of consumer health at EDF+Business.  The strong vote surprised the investors who filed the proposal, Trillium Asset Management LLC and First Affirmative Financial Network , because it was the first time such a resolution had been brought to a vote. Ordinarily, such first-time shareholder resolutions receive single-digit votes. That fact that it got over 40 percent is “an indication that some major institutional money managers voted in favor,” said Holly Testa, director of shareholder engagement at First Affirmative Financial Network. “It’s an indication that there’s widespread investor interest in this issue. It’s a mainstream concern.” “I think it’s going to set a precedent for future work on [chemical footprinting],” said Susan Baker, vice president of Trillium Asset Management. “I have to give credit to the leaders out there that have policies and are really listening to the changes in the marketplace. They’re gaining competitive advantage.” Roger McFadden, president of McFadden and Associates and former senior scientist at Staples for 10 years, said he sees corporate interest in chemical footprinting rising. Whereas in the past, “they were afraid their footprint wouldn’t be all that good,” or they feared they might not stack up well against their direct competitors, now, he says, “I think that’s the exact reason chemical footprinting is catching on. Enough companies are doing it that their competitors are beginning to pay attention to it.”  Brand value and competitive advantage A core advantage for companies participating in the chemical footprint survey “boils down to building trust, protecting your brand,” said McFadden, pointing to recent examples where companies have taken big economic and reputational hits when the health impacts of toxic ingredients in their products came to light — namely, the weed killer Roundup and baby powder.   “The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals,” he said.  Trillium filed the shareholder resolution with TJX in part because it saw the discount retailer lagging behind its peers. “There wasn’t evidence that they were taking a proactive approach in keeping abreast of regulatory changes and consumer preferences,” Baker told GreenBiz. “They really need to think about responsible sourcing, and how it impacts customer trust,” she added, pointing to retailers measuring their chemical footprints and moving toward safer alternatives. “Look at Target. They have all these private label brands that are attracting people into their stores. Their customers trust their brands.” TJX did not respond to GreenBiz’s request for comment; however, in its 2020 Proxy Statement it noted, “The company is already taking steps to better understand and appropriately address how the company manages its chemical footprint. … Developing and implementing a comprehensive chemical policy is especially complex in light of the company’s off-price business model,” which involves buying from a vast universe of vendors.  In response, Baker and Testa point to Dollar Tree, which has a similar off-price business model yet nevertheless participated in the 2019 Chemical Footprint Survey and has committed to eliminating 17 hazardous chemicals from products in its stores. COVID-19 spurs environmental justice concerns As evidence mounts that chemical exposure has effects on chronic disease, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease — and that individuals with those health conditions are more vulnerable to the coronavirus — socially responsible investors are wanting more disclosure and action from companies on chemical risks, Testa told GreenBiz. “The connections are becoming clearer…” she said, and “that has staggering economic and societal consequences.”  Research documents that the chemical plants that produce the chemicals used in everyday products are often sited in communities of color, in areas some call sacrifice zones . “If the brands and retailers can start a program of reducing these chemicals, it’s going to go upstream and reduce the impacts of air and water pollution to the most vulnerable in this country,” Baker said. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia has been linking environmental justice and chemical risk concerns in its work with retailers such as Dollar Tree and oil and gas companies with stores or facilities in communities of color. “We are tying the pandemic, climate change, environmental justice and human rights. They’re very much linked to one another,” said Sister Nora Nash. Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role. For companies such as Dollar Tree and TJX, it “hits both sides,” Testa added. Much of the companies’ products are made in countries with low standards for protecting workers from chemical exposure, and their consumer bases also have a high representation of lower income and minority communities purchasing their products. Such products may contain chemicals of high concern if the company is not assessing its chemical footprint.  The next carbon footprint? With just 31 companies reporting their chemical footprints, the initiative has a way to go before it becomes as widespread as the carbon footprint. Peele says that “we’re still in the process of socializing” the survey. The Chemical Footprint Project survey is also evolving every year as it works with companies on the challenges of collecting and reporting information that comes from many places within a company.  McFadden agrees that it takes time for a reporting scheme to become mainstream, noting that the carbon footprint had slow uptake initially because companies were unsure about it. And he notes that carbon is just one chemical, whereas chemical footprinting is thousands of chemicals.  Still he sees potential for the chemical footprint to become just as mainstream as the carbon footprint, particularly once companies get over the fear factor of “What am I measuring?” and “What if my grade makes us look bad?” To that Peele responds, “Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role.” Ultimately, if investors don’t spur more companies to report their chemical footprint, consumers just might do the job.  “The next generation, my kids and grandkids, they’re not going to accept the things … that my generation accepted,” McFadden said. “They’re going to expect much more transparency and disclosure. Companies are going to have to recognize that. If they push back against that, they’re going to push back against their customers.”  Pull Quote The chemical footprint provides a way to not just say that we care about safer chemicals and green chemistry, but demonstrate it by measuring the process towards safer chemicals. Even just beginning the process is a leadership role. We’d like to think that anybody who’s participating, we see them in a leadership role. Topics Chemicals & Toxics Investing Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Chemical footprinting comes of age

Whether pandemic or climate crisis, you better get your data right

June 25, 2020 by  
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Whether pandemic or climate crisis, you better get your data right Paolo Natali Thu, 06/25/2020 – 00:30 According to polls, it was  mid-March  when most of us in the United States understood the severity of COVID-19. At the same time, we collectively were searching for data to drive lifesaving decision-making. Close all business and keep people inside homes? Or allow some degree of freedom? What would be the exact growth curve of virus cases, and most important, how could we flatten it? By early April, a consensus had emerged around the role of accurate data, even if it could not help contain a first wave of infections. This lesson on the importance of actionable data did not go unnoticed for those of us working on industrial decarbonization. With growing consensus on the gravity of the climate crisis, countries and companies are adopting carbon reduction targets. If we are to learn from the pandemic, there’s one critical element for any effort to have a chance of success. Less catchy than a target reopening date, and perhaps more like an immunologist telling you to get tested: Do we have the right data to act upon? Pressure is growing to take action The question is relevant because there is mounting pressure to take action against the climate crisis. Pressure to make emissions visible has been around for a while: Consumers want to know how much carbon is embodied in the products they buy. Investors are concerned about the viability of long-term assets in high emissions sectors at risk of being hit by negative policy or market developments. For example,  one chocolate bar  could emit as much as 7 kilograms of CO2, equivalent to driving 30 miles in a non-electric car. Alternately, if the cacao is grown alongside agroforestry or reforestation, the same bar could have zero or even negative emissions via the trees removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If consumers knew the difference, would they pay a premium for the climate-smart chocolate? A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. This year, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management company, made thundering news in his  annual letter to investors , touting, “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.” Since then, the asset manager  backed two proposals  at the annual general meetings of both Chevron and Exxon, related to the manner these companies conduct themselves in relation to Paris Agreement targets. Earlier in the year in Australia, investors at both Woodside Petroleum and Santos passed annual general meetings motions to  adopt a “Scope 3 ” (indirect emissions) reduction target. This trend of shareholder and consumer scrutiny has strengthened in recent months, and most S&P 500 companies — in fact, 70 percent of them — already make climate-related disclosures to the reporting platform CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project). Translating demands into dollars Yet, to date, there is no way to exactly translate these demands for action into dollar figures. You walk around trade conferences (or, more likely these days, Zoom workshops) and everyone is asking: What’s the premium that a consumer is willing to pay for low-carbon products? Is a bank really willing to decline loans for an investment that fails to fulfill certain sustainability standards, for example as pledged by the 11 global banks that signed the  Poseidon Principles  for shipping finance in 2019? If the European Union agrees on a border price for carbon, what should it be? All of this pricing talk begs the question: How can we have such discussions without clear metrics that everyone can stand by? A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. For a start, while financial accounts are reported via one of two standards — U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) — a variety of methods can be used for carbon accounting (CDP accepts 64 of them). While financials make the performance of a chemicals company comparable to an iron ore miner, the carbon accounting metrics differ in a way that is difficult to reconcile. This becomes a problem for an automotive company, which needs to combine the performance of both to make an accurate declaration about the carbon content of a product that has over 30,000 parts. It is also a challenge for a fund manager who needs to combine stocks of different sectors, and has a fiduciary duty to use financially material metrics to do so; or for a commercial banker who lends money to different asset classes, and needs to determine the amount of “climate risk” involved in each investment decision. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. Remember the core of the coronavirus debate: The number of confirmed cases are better known than the total number of cases. This uncertainty generates debatable data, upon which it is difficult to make decisions that will have an enormous impact on the destiny of societies. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. And if the cost of those gases to a community and ecosystem isn’t clearly visible, conversely, how can we measure good interventions so that investors feel confident to put their money toward them? This is particularly ironic because market demand for product sustainability creates a win-win situation for everyone involved: make a plan to increase product sustainability, shape the world to be a better place. In most cases, low-carbon technologies are either readily available, such as in the case of low-carbon electricity and carbon-neutral concrete, or less than a decade away, such as hydrogen-based trucking. But if it’s so easy, why isn’t it happening? And most importantly, what needs to happen? Harmonizing the efforts The current ecosystem of reporting is built on bottom-up efforts that are not harmonized. The previously mentioned CDP has a large database of disclosures. The Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) has a widely adopted set of metrics that companies use to report (including to CDP). The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has — you guessed it — standards solid enough to guarantee “financial materiality,” that is, to allow the analyst in the above example to “buy with confidence” when making investment decisions based on sustainability. The Science-Based Targets Initiative promises to take all this to the next level and link carbon disclosures to the trajectories that companies need to undertake in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. Companies that need to report emissions lament that this is too complex or that it doesn’t allow apples-to-apples comparisons due to discrepancies in the way different methods prescribe calculations. Investors lament that they can’t base financial decisions on current metrics, because they aren’t reliable or standardized. Consumers still have to see eco-labels that are truly credible. It is imperative that emissions accounting shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. As confusing as it sounds, the good news is that between existing methods, standards and platforms, the elements of a functional system do exist. Despite the gloomy portrait that we often read in the news, of a humankind sleepwalking toward climate disaster due to a selfish inability to act together, this ecosystem actually represents a wonderful testament to the ability of society to recognize a challenge and address it. The importance of climate alignment A few years ago, the Smart Freight Center introduced the Global Logistics Emissions Council (GLEC) Framework, creating a common guidance for logistics companies to report in a unified manner. The GLEC Framework is a guidance that specifies how disclosures need to be made in each of the existing methodologies and platforms. Once a company discloses according to the GLEC Framework, analysts will be able to compare a disclosure made for different purposes using different methods, and trace back what it actually means. It is urgent that this expand to supply chains at large. It is also imperative that the emissions accounting focus shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. With unified and simplified standards, companies will be able to be easily ranked based on their actual and projected contribution to meeting the Paris Agreement, thus keeping climate change at bay. Why do this? To reap the benefits of being in sync with what stakeholders request more and ever louder. This is only wise, considering that not even a global pandemic and looming economic recession has silenced these requests. According to a recent Deloitte  report , 600 global C-suite executives remain firmly committed to a low-carbon transition. They are perhaps finding opportunity in shifting from risk and need clear data to make their decisions. Pull Quote A company’s financial accounts are used to make reasonable decisions about how that company will do in the future. Alas, to date the same isn’t true of carbon performance. From the perspective of the climate crisis, we still haven’t figured out how to attribute the right price to something nobody can see, such as the amount of noxious gases emitted by a factory in a land far, far away. It is imperative that emissions accounting shifts from a notion of disclosures (a still image of current emissions) to climate alignment, a forward look into a company’s future emissions. Contributors Charles Cannon Topics Energy & Climate COVID-19 Data Collective Insight Rocky Mountain Institute Rocky Mountain Institute Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Dow’s Jim Fitterling on tackling plastic waste and the company’s sustainability goals

June 17, 2020 by  
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Dow’s Jim Fitterling on tackling plastic waste and the company’s sustainability goals In a conversation with GreenBiz Executive Editor Joel Makower, Dow CEO Jim Fitterling details strategy for the company’s latest sustainability commitments — including being carbon neutral by 2050. “That includes looking at Scope 1 through 3 emissions. And also taking a look at some of the positive benefits our products bring to society,” Fitterling said, pointing to energy-efficient housing and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that that creates. Its other commitments are related to protecting the climate, stopping waste and closing the loop. Fitterling noted that the company is currently putting together a consortium of partners that would help come up with an index that allows it to measure, account and verify its work as it progresses toward its goals. taylor flores Wed, 06/17/2020 – 00:00 Featured On

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Dow’s Jim Fitterling on tackling plastic waste and the company’s sustainability goals

Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion

June 16, 2020 by  
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Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion Cecilia Keating Tue, 06/16/2020 – 00:30 Unilever has announced it will invest €1 billion (about $1.12 billion based on exchange rates this week) over the next decade in efforts to tackle climate change and deliver on a new goal to ensure net zero emissions across its value chain by 2039. The consumer goods giant unveiled its new Climate and Nature Fund on Monday as it set out a raft of fresh sustainability goals, which include plans to end deforestation in its supply chain and communicate the carbon footprint of every product it sells. The new 2039 target builds on existing sustainability goals to reach carbon neutrality across its operations and halve its value chain emissions by the end of the decade. Unilever CEO Alan Jope emphasized the company intended to eschew a sustainability strategy that focused on emissions alone and instead take a holistic approach. “Climate change, nature degradation, biodiversity decline, water scarcity — all these issues are interconnected, and we must address them all simultaneously,” he said. “In doing so, we must also recognize that the climate crisis is not only an environmental emergency; it also has a terrible impact on lives and livelihoods. We, therefore, have a responsibility to help tackle the crisis: as a business, and through direct action by our brands.” To reach its new value chain emissions goal, Unilever said it would prioritize partnerships with suppliers committed to science-based climate targets and work with partners across the value chain to drive lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Under the plan, the Anglo-Dutch company said it intends to set up a new system where suppliers are required to declare the carbon footprint of the goods and services while invoicing. It also outlined its intention to work with other businesses and organizations to standardize emissions data collection, sharing, and communication. The new fund will support a raft of initiatives, including landscape restoration, reforestation, carbon sequestration, wildlife protection and water preservation projects, the company said. While it’s critical to address the impact that our products have at the end of their life, it’s just as important to continue to look at the impact they have on the planet at the start of their life … The firm also confirmed that it is aiming to achieve a deforestation-free supply chain by 2023. As such it pledged to increase traceability and transparency by using emerging digital technologies — such as satellite monitoring, geolocation tracking and blockchain systems — to enhance oversight, accelerate smallholder engagement and improve its approach to derivates sourcing. Marc Engel, chief supply chain officer at the company, said that empowering farmers would deliver a “step change” in regenerating nature. “If we want to have a healthy planet long into the future, we must also look after nature: forests, soil biodiversity and water ecosystems,” he said. “In most parts of the world, the economic and social inclusion of farmers and smallholders in sustainable agricultural production is the single most important driver of change for halting deforestation, restoring forests and helping regenerate nature. In the end, they are the stewards of the land.” Unilever also has committed to step up its efforts to preserve water, with plans to make all its “product formulations” biodegradable in order to minimize their impact on aquatic ecosystems. It also said it would implement water stewardship programs for local communities in 100 locations by the end of the decade. Jope concluded that the suite of new initiatives would complement the company’s ongoing mission to curb its reliance on virgin plastic. “While it’s critical to address the impact that our products have at the end of their life, it’s just as important to continue to look at the impact they have on the planet at the start of their life — in the sourcing of materials — as well as in their manufacture and transport,” he said. “We will reduce the impact that our products and our operations have on the environment, and we will do our part to bring the planet back to health.” Last year, the company pledged to halve its use of virgin plastic and ensure it collects and recycles more plastic packaging than it sells. The announcement came the same day as the publication of an open letter to governments from leading green businesses and NGOs, calling on policymakers to prioritize nature restoration projects as part of their imminent coronavirus economic stimulus packages. Pull Quote While it’s critical to address the impact that our products have at the end of their life, it’s just as important to continue to look at the impact they have on the planet at the start of their life … Topics Corporate Strategy Supply Chain Natural Climate Solutions Carbon Removal BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Early evening view of Unilever office The Bridge in Feijenoord neighbourhood in Rotterdam

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Unilever unveils climate and nature fund worth more than $1 billion

To the Point: Pens and Pencils Offer Eco-friendlier Features

May 20, 2020 by  
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If you’re a shopper who evaluates environmental facets of products … The post To the Point: Pens and Pencils Offer Eco-friendlier Features appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity

May 12, 2020 by  
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How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity Katrina Shum Tue, 05/12/2020 – 01:30 This article is part of our Paradigm Shift series, produced by nonprofit PYXERA Global, on the diverse solutions driving the transition to a circular economy. See the full collection of stories and upcoming webinars with the authors  here . Commerce as we know it is going through a rapid evolution. The convergence of new technology, emerging social platforms, constrained natural resources and the evolving values of each new generation is changing the way we do business — whether it’s the sharing economy, the rise of products as a service or the retail shopping experience itself. But the accelerated growth of the retail industry has come at a cost. There’s no doubt about it — we are in the midst of a plastic pollution crisis. We’ve all seen the viral images of turtles with straws stuck up their noses, or whales washed up with bellies full of plastic bags. And one of the biggest contributors to this plastic crisis is the space we operate in: the cosmetics industry. By nature, cosmetics packaging is small and intricate, made up of many parts that are difficult to clean after use, resulting in the majority of this packaging going directly into landfills. Consider that the cosmetics industry brings in a booming $500 billion every year and imagine the waste created by default. But it doesn’t have to be like this. As businesses, we can manufacture and sell products with no packaging, create closed-loop recycling systems and collaborate with suppliers to create innovative solutions for reducing waste — all while thriving. A family-owned and operated bath and beauty business, Lush began as a single storefront in Poole, England in 1995. With no money for fancy wrapping or individual molds, Lush co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine would hand-pour soap into upcycled drain pipes or lunch pails, then cut slices for customers to order. These humble beginnings ignited a continual cycle of innovation that has driven the brand forward for more than 30 years and continues today with the evolution of more “naked” products that require no packaging at all. As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. The global packaging industry is set to reach over $1 trillion by 2021. What if businesses invested that money into the products themselves rather than what is wrapped around them? The waste hierarchy is well known, yet we struggle as businesses to follow it — pushing blame on cost or customer convenience. How do we start with refuse, rethink and redesign in our products and packaging, before we step down the hierarchy? How can we tackle reuse and recycle in a way that is both meaningful and impactful? Designing for sustainability and zero waste can be challenging with multiple stakeholders and competing interests throughout the lifecycle of a product. Who designs the product may be different from who makes it, who sells it or how it’s used. Different business models and organizational structures can be conducive to supporting zero-waste, closed-loop goals. As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. We still invent our own products, manage our own supply chains, grow some of our own raw materials, own and operate our manufacturing and distribution facilities and run our own retail shops. Now in 49 countries around the world, Lush has the creativity and agility — along with a strong base of customers who share our values — to push boundaries, innovate, make mistakes, learn, evolve and bring to market packaging-free products that prove what is possible. As businesses that bring products and packaging into our customers’ homes, the private sector has a responsibility to think about how we lead the transition toward zero-waste living. Whether you work in product innovation, packaging or marketing, we each have an opportunity to change the habits and the dialogue in society around waste in our everyday living. Over recent years, we have significantly expanded our naked or packaging-free range by reformulating products to reduce their water content, resulting in solid versions of products such as shampoo, shower gels, body lotions and toothpaste. We invented our shampoo bars back in the late 1980s and in the last five years alone we have sold over 6.5 million shampoo bars in North America, saving 19.4 million plastic bottles from being produced. That’s about 535 tons of plastic avoided, or about the weight of five blue whales. With a growing range of naked products came an opportunity to evolve a new retail experience with the rollout of Naked Shops in Milan, Berlin, Hong Kong and Manchester. Naked Shops are our way to re-imagine what a store without any packaging could look like. How do you list ingredients without a label? How does the customer find directions on how to use the product? Leveraging technology, we have developed the Lush Lens App, which allows customers to use their phones to scan products and get the typical information they would find on a physical label, along with engaging and interactive content about the ingredients and stories behind them. Moving down the waste hierarchy is reduce, reuse and then recycle. When it comes to packaging, reduce and reuse can present simple cost savings. Reducing the thickness of bottles or minimizing the use of unnecessary packaging can reduce the cost of resin and materials. Promoting reuse options such as reusable containers or reusable giftwrap can generate initial revenue and help reduce packaging costs if we set up the means for them to be properly reused. When it comes to recycling, businesses can affect the larger systems level by sourcing post-consumer recycled content (PCR). Generating significant demand and putting our dollars toward PCR content rather than virgin resources provides the market signals and funds necessary to support all players in the recycling and processing of those materials. For the products that do still require packaging at Lush, we have been sourcing 100 percent PCR content for all our plastics and 100 percent recycled paper for over a decade. Our buyers have had firsthand conversations with paper mills about the real struggles of keeping the recycled content supply chain in operation; they have heard these conversations evolve over the years without adequate demand for PCR content. We have worked for over a decade to find, connect and support suppliers and processors throughout the chain who can source, grind, process and extrude packaging that meets FDA and other quality requirements. As businesses, we can all play a role in supporting a circular economy at the macro level by simply sourcing recycled content. In addition to supporting at the macro level, businesses also have an opportunity to create circular systems for their own packaging and provide customers with a direct and transparent way to ensure their packaging is being properly processed and recycled or repurposed into new items. Lush started the Black Pot program in 2008 when global recycling rates were very low. Through this program, customers can bring back five empty black pots from any of our products in exchange for a free face mask. Black pots, the packaging for some of our haircare, skincare and shower products, returned by customers are shipped back to our factories where they are consolidated and sent to be chipped, washed, pelletized and remolded into new black pots. The reverse logistics (the process by which we recapture the value of post-consumer material) for this program has not been easy. It challenged us to rethink our black pot supply chain that had been set up in Asia. Through many conversations, we developed meaningful partnerships with local processors in Vancouver and Toronto, located within hours of our factories where our products are made. By fostering these relationships, we were able to localize our supply chain and keep our black pot recycling program within North America. With limited promotion, the program currently has a 17 percent return rate, which allows each new black pot to be made with roughly 10 percent resin from old pots and the remainder from 100 percent PCR resin. In addition to customer-facing programs, businesses also have an opportunity to initiate waste reduction and circularity programs upstream with their network of suppliers. As we have been tackling zero-waste goals in our manufacturing and distribution facilities at Lush, we recognized the need to engage our suppliers in reducing the amount of unnecessary packaging materials they send into our facilities. Including packaging questions in traditional supplier surveys and focusing on reuse opportunities with local suppliers is a good place to start. Over the past few years, we have found various reduction opportunities by simply initiating conversations with suppliers and sharing our zero waste goals. We’ve eliminated the soft plastic baggies that used to cover each of our reusable metal shampoo and lotion containers, we have worked with suppliers on larger volume containers to eliminate many smaller containers, and we’ve successfully tested a few reuse programs with local suppliers. One recent win was a cardboard box reuse program with our black pot supplier. Through our annual waste audits, we noticed that cardboard was 47 to 55 percent of the discarded material being generated in two of our production rooms. Our cardboard box reuse program allows us to reuse boxes an average of five times, saving roughly 9,000 kilograms of cardboard annually with the potential for 17,000-plus kilograms more. While reducing cardboard may not look good in the way companies typically calculate and communicate waste diversion percentages, reducing the overall discarded materials is the right thing to do and has encouraged us to rethink how we measure and value true waste reduction and reuse efforts. At Lush, we look to nature for inspiration. Similar to keystone species within larger ecosystems, we see the opportunity to be a catalyst for change and have a disproportionately positive impact on our industry to transform bathroom habits and routines around the world. Whether it’s working with our network of suppliers or bringing packaging-free products to market, as businesses we can all have a positive ripple effect in all that we do — in the decisions we make, the ingredients we put into our products, the people we do business with and the voices and values we amplify. In truth, it’s not the easy way. But if all of us use our business influence for good to raise awareness about waste issues, challenge industry working groups and support advancement of government policies, then we collectively can have a much greater positive impact on creating a cleaner, more sustainable world. T o learn more from the leaders of the circular economy transition, visit  PYXERA Global . Pull Quote As a vertically integrated business at Lush, we’re in a unique position to embed our values and zero-waste philosophy throughout our value chain. Topics Circular Economy Design & Packaging Supply Chain Paradigm Shift Cosmetics Circular Packaging Supplier Engagement Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Lush Close Authorship

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How cosmetics retailer Lush is making purposeful profit through circularity

Tree Top, Pop-Tarts and the beauty of ugly fruit in tackling food waste

April 15, 2020 by  
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What is old is new again for the food industry as consumers become aware of the virtues of turning damaged apples and other fruit into purees, canned foods, breakfast items and other products.

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Here are 4 ways cities are coping with the effects of COVID-19

April 15, 2020 by  
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Cities — from Wuhan in China to New York in the United States — have been at the front lines of the novel coronavirus crisis and will be in the same position for future crises.

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Here are 4 ways cities are coping with the effects of COVID-19

Not just biofuels: Algae’s next wave

March 30, 2020 by  
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Applications in packaging and other products are beginning to gain momentum.

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Not just biofuels: Algae’s next wave

DIY Kids’ Personal Care Products

March 30, 2020 by  
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Many of the personal care products for children found in … The post DIY Kids’ Personal Care Products appeared first on Earth911.com.

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DIY Kids’ Personal Care Products

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