Giving & Regeneration
The (r)Evolution of our Giving
How we Give and How it's Changing
Celebrate 11 Years of Generosity
So much has happened since Charity Pot was launched in 2007. Our giving has become more diverse and expanded to cover many of the areas we care about as a business.
Below is a timeline celebrating 11 years of generosity from our founders, customers and staff as well as the incredible hard work of many thousands of groups who have been making waves in their respective areas.
Global Giving: The Facts
Our global giving ecosystem is relevant and diverse. Including Charity Pot, Lush has 13 different giving schemes worldwide (actually 14 if you include the 3 Wishes programmes). In the last financial year (FY18), we gave over £13 million globally. Above are our main strategies and below you can find the facts and figures for each of these funds.
Charity Pot & Annual Awards
Charity Pot is our longest standing charitable fund. It donates 100% of proceeds (minus VAT) of its body lotion namesake to grassroots environmental, human rights and animal rights groups. Twenty groups that are making vital contributions to social change also receive core funding as a £20,000 grant as part of our Annual Awards programme. There are 5 environmental groups like Campaign for Better Transport, Frack Off and Rewilding Britain, 5 animal rights groups like Sea Shepherd, Hunt Saboteurs and Animal Protection Agency and finally 10 human rights groups like Reprieve, Refugee Community Kitchen and Global Justice Now.
Carbon Tax → Flight Fund
We’ve been taxing our flights for the past ten years to fund resistance to fossil fuels and aviation expansion, and now it’s evolving into Flight Fund, for the free movement of birds and people. In the past 10 years we have measured the carbon emissions from our flights and for every tonne of CO2e we have paid £50 into a pot. Different countries do it slightly differently. For the new Flight Fund, all group countries will contribute to one pot.
Carbon Tax Q&A
- What was the Carbon Tax?
Lush is a global business, and as such, makes use of its share of air travel. However, we also recognise that flying has a considerable impact on climate change and that air travel does not bear the costs of that impact. The Carbon Tax was a self-imposed policy for Lush UK and the eight other countries that adopted it, where for every metric tonne of carbon emissions from staff plane travel, £50 would be collected in a fund which supported climate change and transport campaign groups.
- Why is it changing?
Even though the campaigning efforts to mitigate Climate Change are far from over, the past years have seen a fierce impact of the climate on the migration of people and animals. The Silent Spring has already arrived. Mark’s concerns on disrupted migratory paths for birds, as well as forced and dangerous migration for people, have prompted us to evolve Carbon Tax into the Flight Fund.
- How will Flight Fund work?
For every flight taken by Lush staff, we will continue to put money into a pot which will be equally split by groups working for the freedom of movement of people and animals - especially birds. Groups will be able to apply on a regular basis and a decision-making panel will grant the funds accordingly.
Each year the Lush Film Fund commits £250,000 to help finance small-to-medium sized film projects that raise awareness on the issues that we care about. The Film Fund has had its first year supporting a wide diversity of topics. Every grant comes with the assurance that it is not about brand promotion, product placement or selling of any kind. It is about telling stories that may otherwise not get told.
Manufacturing Product Donation
Products that are fit for use but not fresh enough to sell are given to those who need it most.
We make our fresh handmade cosmetics in six different countries around the world, so we can make sure local markets get fresh products made not too far from the shops. Forecasting for production is not a perfect science, and we often have great products and packaging that we can’t make use of. So instead of going to waste, it will find a home in women’s refuge centres, children’s homes, refugee camps, in care packages for the homeless and many other initiatives aligned to our values.
Lush customers help to raise money for worthwhile campaigns by buying exclusive products.
We launched our first campaign product, Guantanamo Gardens bath bomb, 10 years ago as part of the “Fair Trial my Arse” campaign, demanding a fair trial for Guantanamo Bay prisoners. The money raised helped Reprieve fight on behalf of two British citizens held without trial. Since then our staff and customers have gotten behind numerous campaigns and given their cash to protect people, planet and animals. Here are some of the most recent and memorable ones:
In partnership with the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), we raised enough money to buy 100 hectares of palm oil plantations bordering rainforest in the Leuser ecosystem, Sumatra. We did this by selling nearly 30,000 bars of soap in Europe and Asia. Half the land is in the process of being converted into productive agroforestry and the other half reforested into tropical rainforest.
Gay is Ok Soap
In July 2015, All Out and Lush launched the #GayIsOk campaign and sparked one of the biggest LGBTQI+ conversations ever to be held on social media.
Through 107,479 sparkly gold bars of Love Soap, the Love Fund swelled to a total of £275,955, which was given over three years to groups working in one of the 36 countries where love is still illegal.
We take the Internet for granted, but governments all around the world are instructing internet service providers to block internet access during protests, civil unrest, elections, and even school exams. Lush’s partnered with Access Now in 2017 to speak up about internet shutdowns and support groups keeping the internet free, open and safe.
The Error 404 bath bomb kickstarted the Digital Fund, now a permanent fund at Lush. The Digital Fund aims to support initiatives around the issues of #techforgood including ethical hardware, open software, e-waste, privacy and accessibility.
Keeping the internet free, open and safe.
The Lush Prize rewards initiatives fighting to end animal testing. The Lush Prize is a major initiative aiming to bring forward the day when safety testing takes place without the use of animals. 2018 will see its seventh edition. In 2015, the £250,000 Black Box Award was given to scientists who mapped the first ever “human toxicity pathway” which was for skin sensitisation, the kind of breakthrough the prize wants to encourage and reward.
The seeds of the Sustainable Lush fund, or SLush, started in the Lush Buying team in 2010. From this inspiration and vision, Paulo Mellett and Simon Constantine set out to test out new partnership models to develop regenerative raw materials for our supply chain. One of the core ideas was to prove it was possible and to build capacity around ways of doing business where we give more than we take. The enthusiasm and utopic dreams of the time met reality and many learnings, successes and failures came out of this experience. It is time for a revamp. In the past few years, SLush has gone through a lot of changes and we crystallise some of those learnings into a new fund in the UK Buying Team, the Re:Fund.
Re:Fund & Spring Prize
Besides supporting regeneration through our Buying practices, it became clear we needed to raise the profile of the ideas around a regenerative culture and celebrate those doing good work. In partnership with Ethical Consumer, Lush launched the Spring Prize, rewarding projects working toward social and environmental regeneration. After two years running, Spring Prize will sit within the Regenerative Fund, or Re:Fund, and will award £200,000 in 2019.
SLush UK has evolved into Buying Investments and Re:Fund. In the Re:Fund pot we have £1.5 million managed by the Buying Team to give grants to groups driving regeneration in three areas: Displacement & Disaster, Permaculture & Agroecology and Rewilding & Biodiversity.
Access fo fund and play for Fukushima kids.
The 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan radically changed the lives of the children living in the Fukushima area. Even in the areas that had not been evacuated, radiation levels meant that playing outside became a dangerous feat. Jack Constantine had the idea of dedicating part of the sales of every bar of Fun sold globally to created FunD. Through FunD, we have supported many community groups to create safe and fun play spaces for the children of Fukushima. FunD will also soon evolve. Watch this space!
Random Acts of Kindness & Black Pot Returns
Besides our Manufacturing Product Donations, we have two more ways of giving at Lush that go beyond money and grants. We give a Fresh Face Mask to anyone who returns five of our black pots to us, enabling us to increase recycling rates and feeding into our closed loop scheme in UK, North America and Japan. In FY17/18 we gave away half a million face masks in our three biggest markets in our efforts to reward good habits.
Gifting and generosity are major drivers for our business. A large part of our turnover comes from customers’ desire to gift their loved ones. So why not continue to celebrate that giving mentality within our teams? Every team member in a Lush shop is entitled to perform ‘random acts of kindness’ and gift any product in the store to one of their customers. All we ask is for the receiver to spread the love and pay it forward.
The Map of Good People Doing Good Work
Humans as Agents of Regeneration
Want to know more about Re:Fund?
The Regenerative Fund, or Re:Fund, is the evolution of the SLush Fund, or Sustainable Lush Fund, and one of Lush’s many giving streams.
While we’re still in partnership with some projects around the world who have received SLush funding, we have learned many important lessons and have now separated buying investments connected to our raw material supply from giving.
Re:Fund’s purpose goes three ways: raise awareness that humans can become agents of regeneration, support regenerative practices globally and help support the long-term resilience of the supply chain.
Re:Fund supports humans as agents of regeneration operating in three crucial fields that interconnect and impact one another: Displacement & Disaster; Permaculture & Agroecology; Rewilding & Biodiversity. Re:Fund also includes our annual award, Spring Prize.
Each giving stream above has a decision making panel that often chooses to fund programmes rather than single projects and takes a strategic approach to specific causes and bioregions. That allows us to build stronger relationships and develop mutually beneficial connections with groups delivering initiatives within those three topics. Besides funding effective work, we also want to bring regenerative ideas to a wider audience, springboard exciting projects and organisations and make their invisible work visible. It is about inspiring action that gives back more than it takes. It’s about refunding nature.
- Displacement & Disaster
Build back better
The Displacement and Disaster fund addresses the needs of communities that have been impacted by conflict or environmental crises, whether they had to resettle away from home or rebuild their lives in their places of origin. By working with existing, native, small organisations, the D&D fund supports the use of regenerative and community-led practices within the overlapping fields of aid and development.
- Permaculture & Agroecology
A leg up for Regenerative Livelihoods
Changing the ways of our agriculture and land-based businesses is one of the most important tasks of our time. The Permaculture & Agroecology fund supports demonstration sites to show what it is possible, capacity building so people can master how to do it, and entrepreneurship so that financially viable, socially just and ecologically sound businesses can sprout up.
- Rewilding & Biodiversity
Bringing the wild back
Rewilding & Biodiversity (RnB) is about supporting life (wildlife), and people’s love of life, through protecting and restoring damaged and threatened habitats and species, and supporting healthy relationships between people and wider nature. It’s about welcoming the wild.
Of course, the boundaries between each of the above areas is not always super clear and that is what we can expect on our interconnected planet. Many of the projects we support will sometimes have components of two or even three of those areas as they form the basis of a regenerative culture.
- What was SLush?
The ‘Sustainable Lush’ fund, or SLush, was founded in the UK in 2010. SLush North America launched in 2014.
SLush was developed to help set up and fund permaculture and regenerative agriculture projects from scratch, around the world. In the past, some of these projects also supplied ingredients for Lush products.In North America, SLush was always more focussed on supplying regenerative raw materials to Lush.
- Why is SLush changing?
The SLush project has helped Lush to learn many lessons, and we have now separated Buying Investments from Lush Giving. We noticed an opportunity to make our Giving strategies even more streamlined, focussed and transparent. That’s why SLush UK is transforming into the Re:Fund.
- What are Buying Investments?
The Buying Investment projects involves the set up of structures (which could be business entities or partnerships with organisations) to enable us to grow and process our own materials, locally, in ecologically and socially regenerative ways. Here, we aim to experiment with alternative, eco agriculture methods and add as much value on the ground, within the communities who grow these materials.
Some examples involve Patchouli oil from Gayo Permaculture Centre, Sumatra and Geranium oil from Mt Kenya Regenerative oils, Kenya.
The Lush Buying Team are committed to buying ingredients from suppliers who meet our high standards of ethics and values.
- Will the SLush projects stop receiving funding?
While Lush may continue purchasing ingredients from some groups who have previously been funded through SLush, this will be done through our regular buying channels. Lush may also support previous SLush funded projects through Buying Investments. Where appropriate, some projects may also be eligible for grants through Re:Fund’s Permaculture & Agroecology fund.
- What about the SLush ingredients? Won’t there be more SLush ingredients?
Funding granted through Re:Fund will not be focussed on supplying ingredients to Lush, but will instead be centred around supporting the vital work of projects working in areas of environmental and social Regeneration.
SLush North America will continue but it will evolve too and we will update as it develops.
- Why is SLush North America continuing?
North America has a different social and political climate to Europe, and as such businesses there need to be operated differently. There are some different structures, processes, and other uniquenesses throughout the Lush NA business, compared to Lush in Europe. The North American team feels that SLush is the right model for them to continue using in Lush NA right now.
The Road from Degenerative to Regenerative
What’s the Regenerative Continuum?
The Regenerative Continuum is both a map and a compass. It helps us reflect on where our ecological and social impacts are and shows us which direction to move to - from degenerative to regenerative. It sees environmental and social Regeneration as a spectrum, like the gradient below, rather than in simplistic black and white issues. It is an ecological model which we are using to visually display the stories of Spring Prize winners at the Showcase 2018.
Degeneration is the destruction of what sustains life on the planet. It is the road to biodiversity loss, poverty, war and climate chaos. It starts with a mindset based on separation and domination, which results in attitudes and actions that legitimise colonialism, racism, misogyny, speciesism and the destruction of nature. How can we repair this crumbling foundation and choose a different road, the one to regeneration?
The word ‘sustainability’ is sometimes used vaguely or ambiguously. It essentially means sustaining how things are now. But what are we sustaining? The world as it is now, with all of its inequalities? Why should we aim to sustain a world with billions living in poverty, and where 200 plants and animals become extinct every day? The word is often used to greenwash the image of businesses. Sustainability is not enough. Go beyond your reusable cup.
Regeneration is about restoring the health and vitality of the planet and the beings living on it, seeing things as wholes rather than reducing them to separate parts. It is about reviving our connection to the environment and to each other in a way that restores soils, forests, and water courses, and revitalises our communities. It means we can develop so as to increase our collective capacity to bounce back from crises. How can we get to a more honest give-and-take between us and the world, and reverse our damaged ecosystems and human communities?
What is the Spring Prize?
The Lush Spring Prize is an annual fund which awards £200,000 to a diverse array of organisations from around the world that are working towards environmental and social regeneration.
Each year the awards have been given to 11 projects within four categories: Intentional Projects, Young Projects and Established Projects, as well as an ‘Influence Award’.
The Lush Spring Prize is run in partnership with Ethical Consumer Research Association. Ethical Consumer and Lush together launched the Spring Prize in December 2016 and the first prize was awarded in 2017.
Follow The Spring Prize on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
You can find out more on the Spring Prize website here in English, Arabic ( العربية), Spanish (Español), French (Français) and Portuguese (Português).
You can also find some case studies on previous winners of Spring Prize groups, written by 2018 winner International Permaculture Education Network, here.
Apply to be a Judge
The judges of the Lush Spring Prize are from a wide spectrum of movements representing regenerative design, permaculture, food sovereignty, transition, biomimicry and eco-village networks.
Each year, the Spring Prize team invite one Lush staff member and one Lush customer to be a judge on the Spring Prize judging panel. You can apply to be a judge here, and you must be able to speak and read English. Applications for judges are open until the 12th October.