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UK cosmetics firm Lush says mission for slavery-clean supply chain never ending

July 26, 2016

UK cosmetics firm Lush says mission for slavery-clean supply chain never ending

Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday 26 July 2016

As British retailer Lush expands globally, the head of ethical buying at the handmade cosmetics company says he is facing an almost impossible challenge - ensuring all products are free of slave labour and other human rights abuses.

Simon Constantine, the son of two of Lush’s founders, said sales doubling and an almost 50 per cent jump in profits to 31 million pounds ($40 million) since 2013 created the potential for wider social impact by sourcing from more local communities.

But he said this growth had also opened a labyrinth of new problems for privately-owned Lush - which prides itself on products ethically sourced, environmentally friendly and not tested on animals - particularly as it expands in Asia.

Founded on an ethos to do good while doing business and campaigning on social issues, Lush vowed in 2014 to stop using mica from India in cosmetics as child labour was found to be rife in the industry.

The company also refuses to use sandalwood from India for similar worker concerns, instead sourcing from Australia, and has drastically reduced its use of palm oil, concerned about deforestation, human rights abuses and slavery in that industry.

Constantine, known by Lush’s staff as the “guerrilla perfumer” for combining campaigns on issues like fox hunting and gay rights with his role as the firm’s head perfumer, said expanding to around 930 stores in almost 50 countries had thrown up challenges and the best Lush could do was to be totally open about its efforts to be clean.

Read more at Eco-Business.

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