Industry Insight: Sustainability from the Outside In, Putting Packaging First


Beauty Kitchen UK has big ideas for sustainability. Founded in 2010 by Jo-Anne (“Jo”) Chidley (JC), an at-home chemist, herbal botanist and beekeeper with a bachelor’s in analytical chemistry from the University of Strathclyde, the company stands strongly upon principles of reusable (not just recyclable) packaging, sustainable natural materials, and even sharing the successes of its business model with would-be competitors.

As a B-Certified Corporation, the company is committed to not only shareholder value, but also the greater good of the environment and the people it touches. No doubt, the company’s good karma helped it to land on the shelves of Holland & Barrett, one of the UK’s major health store chains. Learn more about the company’s sustainability success in the following excerpt adapted from a longer interview with Chidley. Here, she considers opportunities to advance sustainability. For more on the sustainable consumer, ingredient considerations, manufacturing challenges and how Beauty Kitchen is disrupting traditional models, see Page DM1 in this issue.

C&T: Where are the opportunities for improving sustainability beyond what this industry is already doing?

JC: The one thing the beauty industry has been doing really well, and is state-of-the art, is formulation. It’s been the driver forever and I don’t think any business in our industry doesn’t think about formulation. But I also think, You know what, we’ve [already] done that. So what we should be focusing on now is how to calibrate the formulation in a different way. That’s where the opportunity is within sustainability.

So as an example, if I have a shampoo that I think is the best, formulation-wise, I now need to think, Why do I need to have it in a bottle? How do I get that shampoo maybe into a bar? ... We’ve thought about the formulating first and the packaging last, rather than thinking about the packaging first. Consider what LUSH has done; its products don’t need packaging. That’s how we must think about it—building a product that doesn’t need packaging. Or, if you want some packaging, first consider what that packaging is and then what formulations can fit it. I think it’s about turning formulation on its head. With the bottle, we’re absolutely amazing at the recipes. I think it’s the packaging that needs to evolve.

Jo Chidley
Beauty Kitchen UK Ltd.

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