Wednesday 10 October 2012, by Karl FISCHER, Li Changdong, Shi Jinwen

8 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

As working in cosmetic activity I once came in a LUSH store new opened in Paris to check how this new brand opening in France was. I was impressed by the design and the strong smell, very particular, of the products in the whole store. I then looked for information on this original brand with original concept, mixing ethical business with very modern products.
LUSH is a manufacturer and retailer of cosmetics products for its own brand product. Important fact about their activities is that their marketing concept is based on ethical products, covering many fields, and that they produce by themselves their products.

The creators of LUSH have been originally working as the main supplier for Body Shop, another key brand on the ethical cosmetics market. The first brand they created was named firstly “Cosmetics To Go”, starting business in 1987 until 1994 then closed. Later another brand was created in 1995 firstly named “Cosmetic House” until the final and current name of LUSH has been chosen.

As its creators were vegetarians, LUSH products are free of animal testing and without ingredients from animal. It is the main ethical field on which they’re doing strong communication on, such as joining or launching campaign against shark fin and animal testing on cosmetics. Also LUSH has worked on many other ethical subjects such as environment protection and their special design of product in order to reduce packaging importance.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

LUSH has made use of ethics as a strategic weapon to market new customers and implement a brand image not only based on beauty and out of the classical luxury image of other cosmetics brands. As a consequence, the company is addressing various ethical challenges in order to differentiate itself from other brands.

First of them, is its policy against animal testing. The company has made strong policy against any form of animal testing and not only for the cosmetic product itself but also for the whole supply chain including all ingredients. They controlled very strictly their suppliers to ensure the respect of such policy and also have special policy to promote the un-tested ingredients for future possible suppliers.

Second ethical aspect where LUSH is doing efficient communication and actions is the protection of Environment. LUSH makes clear statements that they commit themselves to reduce as much as possible their carbon footprint and use of natural resources. This strategy has conducted them as innovating in new form of packaging and design of products, producing solid shampoos without any packaging, called “naked” to be sold in the markets without primary or secondary packaging materials. They also packed some products for delivery in pop-corn, which reduce their carbon footprint, improve biodegradability of product. In term of communication they also launched several campaigns against over-packaging.

Another ethical concept used by LUSH is the people safety and information. Some of their ingredients are ethically sourced as matching a fair-trade system. However up to today only vanilla beans are listed as ethical sourced. But LUSH also cares its customer safety and it starts with the communication when LUSH is using big fonts and color to let the customer identifying easily the ingredients of the product he wants to buy. LUSH also reduces the use of preservatives in its cosmetic product, as preservatives have been since long time identified as risky components for human health.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

When I first meet LUSH, I was deeply moved by the lovely soup with a natural color and smell. This is one of their successful strategies all the products are made from fresh vegetables or fruits which really inspires girls and boys all over the world. But for me, the most inspiring thing that LUSH is doing is being an ethical company in acts.
One of their goals is to do right to the environment and have fun when doing it. They do make every effort to be kind to the environment and to animals and people too. Most important they promise to the public that they will never test their products on animals! This promise really inspires me, as in the world there are still several countries such as China who are using animal testing as standard method.

Another important goal of LUSH is to make the world clean. Most of their products are sold directly with minimal packaging or entirely without packaging, which can reduce the energy of additional produce and transport. They support many environmental and social non-profit organizations by donating 100% of the proceeds through our Charity Pot program. They have an in-store recycling program called “5 Black Pots Return”. They encourage their customers to be kind to the environment by ask them to return 5 of our black pots on your next visit to any of LUSH stores and they’ll receive a FREE Fresh Face Mask as a gift. By this process, they play a role of green-life idea transmitter.

In fact what inspire us with the business done by LUSH is that they are really ethical. If we check most of major cosmetics companies, they are all playing with ethical issues with the release of reports, policies, commitments without targets and other Communication means. But what’s happening in real life? In most of cases these companies will increase packaging materials, make them more complicated and finally less environment friendly. What about the control of suppliers ensuring ethical business practices? For most of them it doesn’t belong to their responsibility. And we can go on like this on most of ethical items; but then LUSH has a clearly different approach. When promoting the reduction of packaging materials, it goes through innovating design of materials, packaging materials. When talking about animal testing it means not going into markets requiring animal testing. LUSH is not just talking, it is acting and we like it!

LUSH is a profitable company combining efficiently active ethical business practices and business interest. “Lush has seen sales grow in recent years, and has today reported profit before tax of £22.3 million for the 12 months to June 30th 2010”.
So it is an efficient way to make dream business people about ethics like us.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

Every company may face challenges. LUSH cannot be an exception.

LUSH may encounter increasingly drastic competition in the market segment along with more and more consumers’ preference for organic cosmetics. As customers are requiring more and more ethical values in their product, especially on the field of environment protection, it is possible that LUSH is going to have more competitors in the same sector. In that case they can improve in keeping strong management on natural product and maybe go through some certifications. LUSH products are today not certified by any third part about organic cosmetics but more and more some labels appear for the certification of products.

Another big challenge on LUSH activity is coming from its policy of doing campaign against several issues which are identified by LUSH as ethical. And here is raised a question: What is considered by LUSH as ethical? This problem has brought serious matter about LUSH credibility as they launched in 2011 a campaign against Israel. Since now all information about that event has been cancelled from official company websites. But observers are pointed out that LUSH has opened store in Arabian countries such as South Arabia, even if these countries are well-known for several issues on Human Rights respect. It shows to customer that the ethical values of LUSH are biased and so decreased drastically its credibility.

Also LUSH has a risky position on ethical campaign as each country usually focuses on specific campaign, though some campaigns are worldwide. In some cases it is controversial, such as the current one for avoiding to buy preserved duck liver-in-grease launched in France. It may damage their credibility and so their ethical image; which for such company means damaging their business interest. Majority of French people cannot understand why what they consider as a traditional agriculture method shall be banned. I think they can improve their credibility by launching worldwide campaign about selected ethical issues, not any kind of issues they consider as ethical. Also it is important I think that they pay more attention to culture issues.

On the other hand, it is very courageous from them to launch such controversial campaign. In some ways, that may be the reason why people come to buy their product: Having a company not only looking at financial interest but also with an opinion on all subjects. To some extent, a Business with Humanity.


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2 Discussions / 2 Messages

  • LUSH 6 March 2013 at 21:49 , by Paula Molina

    I think Lush it’s great company because they do business while respecting their principles.

    They aim to preserve:
    1. Human’s health: by reducing the use of preservatives in their cosmetic products.
    2. Animals life: by not testing their products on them.
    3. Nautre: by promoting the reduction of packaging materials.

    They are really ethical and they act according with their clear values, which I think it’s the most important point because facts matter (it’s not what you say but what you do...).

    Moreover, they are so aware of it that they also check that their suppliers have the same health and environmental policies. So again, they are being congruent with their acts and that differenciates themseleves from other companies in the sector.

    A negative point could be that their products are more expensive than the competition but they try to compensate this by building customer loyalty.

    Finally and to sum up, I honestly think that there should be many more comapnies like Lush.

  • LUSH 6 March 2013 at 23:39 , by Daniel EO

    Totally agree with that study about LUSH which is a great example of what SOCIAL management is and how it should be; avoiding such a false image that is created by other companies trying to hide their dirtiness and try to show to media, clients and other groups a good side of its company.

    To check what it’s said about LUSH i deeply recommend visit any LUSH shop and talk with any shop assistant about LUSH ideas and ask them how things are done and in most cases the shop assistant personality and LUSH ideas will match, what means that only hire people with same ideas that makes easier the workforce commitment

Location: Poole, Dorset BH15 1AB, (United Kingdom)

Sector: Manufacturing, Wholesale and retail trade

Official website:

Key figures:

With over 700 stores in over 40 countries in the world, LUSH is growing every day. About 6000 people are working in LUSH in the several factories and shops all around the world.

Nbr. visits: 23898

Nbr. inspires: 8