We give our products and product categories an environmental score based on how easily they biodegrade or dilute to a safe level (their ‘water footprint’), and how the ingredients are made or sourced.
In 2017, the overall environmental footprint of our six product categories (Bath & Shower, Body Care, Fragrance, Haircare, Make-Up and Skincare) improved by 3%. Our Body Care and Fragrance categories each improved by 5%.
Working closely with our suppliers, we achieved this progress by promoting sustainable ingredients and those created using ‘green chemistry’ (processes that reduce the use or production of chemicals that damage the environment). This is closely linked with our expanding Community Trade programme and increasing the number of ingredients of natural origin that we source.
In 2017, the total environmental score of all our products increased by more than 5%. We launched 146 new product formulations, 95% of which led to an improved environmental footprint for that category or family. The eight new products that did not have an improved environmental impact were mostly new shades of existing make-up products with the same environmental score as existing shades.
In 2016, we published our scores for our product families, which we’ve since updated below to reflect 2017 measurements. We are now expanding this to include product families, with the aim to eventually publish scores for individual products.
From January 2018, we refined this target as a result of our new alignment with Natura &Co. This is therefore the last year that we will publish our water footprint score, as this was a tool that we utilised under our previous parent company and is no longer available to us.
Biodegradability is how easily the product breaks down and can be assimilated by natural processes – in technical terms, the ability of bacteria or other living organisms to decompose the ingredients used in a product.
Biodegradability tests measure the amount of organic material degraded by microorganisms within 28 days.
Each product category and family is assigned a biodegradability percentage that considers the individual biodegradability rating for each component, and takes into account the inclusion level of each ingredient. Factored into the product biodegradability percentage is the level of inclusion and the score of each individual ingredient.
At The Body Shop, we favour ingredients classified as readily biodegradable.
The volume of water needed to dilute a product to a level where it would have no impact on water quality standards.
We strive to ensure that we have a low water footprint value and low eco-toxicity.
INGREDIENTS FROM RENEWABLE NATURAL ORIGIN
We measure our ingredients of natural origin, which is any ingredient that comes from plant matter formed from physical, fermentation and other low-impact processing methods.
Measuring the renewable natural origin content of a formula starts with the classification of each of the ingredients used.
An ingredient is defined as either natural, natural origin or synthetic. The ingredient is assessed by the origin of the starting materials and the level of processing that the ingredient(s) undergo.
To calculate the percentage of natural origin content in a formula, the amount of natural or natural origin ingredient is summed together. This amount is divided by the percentage of the formula, excluding water, to give an overall formula percentage.
Our aim is to increase the levels of ingredients from natural origin.
INGREDIENTS FROM ‘GREEN CHEMISTRY’
Those that come from environmentally friendly processes and techniques, reducing the generation of chemicals which are hazardous to the environment.
Currently there are 12 principles of green chemistry that focus on ingredients that have a minimal impact on health and the environment.
An ingredient produced according to these principles is classified as an ingredient from green chemistry.
HOW DO WE CARRY OUT THE TESTS?
During the development phase of products, our research team is able to asses each formula against these indicators. Each assessment uses computer modelling to accurately predict their environmental impact, based on the data measured from each ingredient. We use this information to reduce our impact on the environment.
WHAT DOES THE FORMULA RATING MEAN?
The final formula rating is a combination of the four indicators, which is given a value from 0-10. The average value considers the amount of products sold in each of the above categories and families in the previous 12-month period. The ratings show how we are performing in each of our categories and families and set the targets that new products are measured against. This is to ensure that year-on-year we improve our environmental footprint.