Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lush's way of greening the supply chain

The class discussion of how the emerging trend of environmentally conscious products has influenced product design and SCM like  in the Herman Miller case, has reminded me of the UK based cosmetic retailer, Lush. It is interesting how Lush, founded by a husband and wife team from Poole in Dorset in 1995 now has 650 stores and many factories in over 40 countries and also a buying power to bring a positive change in the world.

Lush as a cosmetic retailer chose a totally unconventional route to success. Since its establishment Lush has been inventing and designing its own 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. The products in the retail store are displayed similar to how fruits and vegetables are displayed in a grocery store without extra packaging. 

Lush created solid shampoo bars, massage bars and Bath Bombs that do not 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.[i] Also, solid bars need less water compared to their liquid counterparts. From making shampoo bars in solid form, rather than bottled, over 450,000 liters (118,800 gallons) of water is saved every year.[ii]

      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. Lush works hard with all its suppliers to minimize environmental impact. Lush encourages its customers to return the bottles by giving them a free treat when they return those.
      Another interesting facet of Lush's supply chain is that Lush is not just careful careful about what goes into its products but also about where the material comes from.While designing the products Lush goes for natural ingredients that are produced in a sustainable way. Lush calls its way of buying from its suppliers as creative buying. Lush has a creative buying team which visits the places across the world from Ghana to the co-op mountain plantations in Papua,New Guinea to trace the ingredients they get from the suppliers.Lush has strict policies for its suppliers. It does not buy raw materials from suppliers who indulge in animal testing or use preservatives.

Lush has been working diligently to develop a supply chain that makes good business sense without compromising any of its beliefs. Also by focusing strongly on 'doing the right thing' Lush is saving money and realizing an ROI, building a great brand and winning trust of its customers.

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