Feature

5 minutes with Peta from Lush

Green Lifestyle

You can smell the store from the other side of a shopping centre – but how much do you know about the Lush Cosmetic store's ethos? Director Peta Granger talks us through it.

Peta-LUSH

Peta Granger is the director of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics in Australia and New Zealand.

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What’s your professional background, and what do you feel you bring to Lush?

I’ve been the director of Lush Australia and New Zealand for the past 3½ years, but I’ve been with the company for 14 years – initially joining when I was backpacking the world!

I got a job as a Christmas sales assistant in Dublin and spent three years building the store to be the number one for performance in the world. I was working with extremely inspiring women, and I learnt a lot about animal testing, essential oils, and ultimately how to run a business founded on a strong ethical model.

Later, I was asked to join one of the international teams, where I had the opportunity to travel to over 40 different countries that have Lush stores – training, team building, and generally developing the business. I had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with the founders, looking at internal communication and spreading the Lush ethos.

What do you love about Lush’s ethos?

Ethics are at the heart of the business. It's a cosmetics business that’s wholeheartedly committed to operating on a strict policy against animal testing, and to support Fair Trade and Community Trade initiatives.

From Lush’s humble beginnings as a company in 1995, it's clear to me that the founders have always been aware of how the products that are manufactured and sold interact with the environment.

The company is also at the forefront of sourcing new, ethical products. For example, this year we produced the world’s first fair trade, organic vanilla absolute.

To you, what makes Lush different?

The company is set apart from other cosmetics brands in that there's a blanket policy not to do any form of paid advertising. So when a customer purchases our products they are paying for the price of those ingredients – like fair trade organic cocoa butter, or organic cold pressed neroli oil – not for celebrity or media endorsement. Also, the packaging isn’t worth more than the ingredients inside.

Lush makes fresh products with no, or limited, preservatives – no mean feat in an industry geared towards keeping products for years before and after they are sold. Our customers not only know when their product was made, or when it’s out of date, but the name of the person who made it.

As a business, the sustainability model offers huge benefits and global gains for farmers, suppliers, communities around the world. From an internal perspective, I believe we foster a deep sense of loyalty from our customers and our staff.

What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?

This October I’ll be speaking at Australia’s Sustainability in Business Conference and Exhibition about our Slush Fund.

The story behind this is that a few years ago there was a positive shift in the direction of the company to go above-and-beyond organic, fair trade, and buying ethically. Social justice and ecological regeneration was going to be the next wave of growth.

So, Lush set up the Slush Fund, which – despite being difficult to explain to auditors – stands for the Sustainable Lush Fund.

Two percent of our total buying spend is donated to the Slush Fund, which is set up to invest in ecological growing and raw material-related projects. Sometimes this is in locations where Lush has an interest in the raw materials, and sometimes it’s just to give a donation to a worthy project doing good work in line with our ethics (usually with permaculture farming methods).

The Slush Fund provides financial support to projects that then go on to develop their own income-generating projects. The aim is to help these ethical projects to become self-sustainable and independent.