“With climate change on the news every day, sustainability is not just a trend anymore, it’s a movement toward a ground-shaking new archetype for the industry,” emphasized Chidley.
He noted that there are nearly eight billion people on the planet who require more resources than ever. But Chirdley said that we won’t be able to solve industrial revolution problems with industrial revolution thinking. Using less only postpones the inevitable. Sustainable is not enough.
More Good, Less Bad
This is where Beauty Kitchen comes in. The company strives to use vertical and horizontal innovation to bring new innovation to the masses. In alignment with the Cradle to Cradle philosophy of designing products to a set of principles, promoting quality products with a positive impact and turning the making of thigs into a positive force, Beauty Kitchen is moving beyond merely closing the loop. The company is selecting safe and healthy materials, eliminating the concept of waste, powering its processes with abundant clean energy, protecting water as a precious resource and practicing social fairness. The end goal is to create an impact that is 100% good and 0% bad, rather than just less bad, according to Chidley.
To reach these lofty goals, Beauty Kitchen redesigned every one of its products during the past 12 months. Also, the company’s reusable packaging can be returned to retailers, washed and reused, to reduce waste. Chirdley noted that 1,200 stores in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium are actively accepting the empties with more coming soon. This sort of infrastructure and vertical integration can be utilized by other companies that decide to try the Cradle to Cradle model as well.
Chidley stressed that there are also business benefits to this strategy beyond the positive environmental impact: The Cradle to Cradle method may reduce costs, simplifies supply chains by vertically integrating, reduces liabilities, increases the benefits of products and anticipates global customer demands for increased quality and transparency.
Other brands besides Beauty Kitchen have already achieved Cradle to Cradle certification and are seeing results. Most notably, L’Oreal has achieved platinum level certification for two of its brands.
“We have to work together to create change that is communicated to consumers in a clear and consistent method” said Chidley.
The strategy has worked for L’Oréal and can work for other brands too, but only time will tell if more big companies will be willing to partner and take the positive step toward Cradle to Cradle.