Alongside the aromatic bubble you walk into when going into a Lush store, another obvious factor you notice is that the vast majority of the products are ‘naked’. The bath bombs, bubble bars, soaps and shampoo bars, amongst many others products, do not come in any form of pre-wrapped packaging. Customers are asked if they need a bag, rather than want one. There was a recent Bag Monster campaign to raise awareness of a new government initiative about charging 5p for all single use bags and the response was of overwhelming public agreement, and customers were encouraged to give in their own plastic bags. The second-hand plastic bags were used to create real life bag monster costumes which Lush staff from all over the UK wore to the Conservative HQ in Birmingham last week.
Their buying policy means that they have a strict criteria that must be met; the products must be sourced and created in establishments that provide the appropriate rights for their workers and that do not utilise child labour or animal exploitation. For instance, in the countries where donkeys are used as the means of transporting the goods, they have to be fed well, looked after and given ample rest. All methods of transportation have to be environmentally sustainable.
Lush is also involved with the work of charities; they want to help grass roots organisations whose ethics fit with their own (not contributing to animal testing for instance). These charities are those that would have difficulty raising funds for themselves. Lush’s forthcoming campaign sees the return of the “Fabulous Mrs. Fox” bubble bar, a product which raises awareness and generates funds for the Hunt Saboteurs Association.
Lush is renowned for the use of controversial ad campaigns. In a brief interview, we spoke to Pete Simms of Lush about his first-hand experience of the Lush campaigns. He reported: “In our store, one of my colleagues was caged for the duration of his shift like an animal, and customers were allowed to prod him, draw on him etc. He was left pretty much helpless. Perhaps the most shocking animal testing campaign was held in the window of the Regents Street store, where a performance artist was subjected to the treatment of animal testing, before being stuffed in a bin bag and thrown out onto the street.”
“In the future, we aim to use even more of our store window space in our campaigns. There’s the misconception these are to promote our store rather than the causes, not true. For instance, last time we had the ‘Fabulous Mrs. Fox’ campaign, colleagues who worked at other Lush stores before the Arndale shopping centre have told me how they were repeatedly threatened by supporters of fox hunting, had their shop windows smashed etc.”
Lush also sells charity body lotions whereby everything but the VAT, which is required to be given to the government by law, is donated to charity. This money is divided between charities that support environmental/conservation causes (58.43%), humanitarian causes (23.61%), animal causes (16.96%) and other (1%). There are many companies that claim to be eco-friendly and green but it is very rare that a company tackles the issue from so many different angles as Lush.