THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY, CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
BY MADELEINE BELL
When plastic was invented, our lives changed overnight. The transformative alternative material flooded markets and quickly overtook the production of goods from ‘natural’ sources like wood and metal. Inventors and businesses transitioned to plastic without hesitation as they saw an opportunity to ‘make our lives easier’. As the demand for plastic accelerated, so did its supply. Today, some 60 years later, we are feeling the impact of this indestructible material as it accumulates uncontrollably around us.
Scientists have identified that we have entered a new geological age of history: the anthropocene. This epoch is identified as the period during which human activity is the dominant influence on climate and the environment. We are changing our planet as a consequence of the way we live our lives and this change is accelerated by our addiction to plastic.
Human reliance on single-use, low-grade plastic is a leading contributor to the monumental damage we’re causing to our planet. Single-use, low-grade plastics have overtaken our lives and begun to suffocate us, entering our food chain, water tables and even the air we breathe. The use of plastic in recent history has been nothing short of abusive. Our ‘throw away’ society fuelled by overproduction, overconsumption, single-use materials and poor waste management is damaging our planet extensively. The current system is not sustainable. The planet needs our help. We need to redesign the system: we need a circular economy now.
The circular economy opposes the current ‘take-make-dispose’ linear model and is renewable and regenerative by design. The circular economy can pave the way to a sustainable future wherein humans can ‘undo’ the negative impacts we’ve wreaked on our planet. The circular economy model is built entirely on renewable energy and aims to design waste out of the system.
Within a circular economy, materials like plastic and metal are recovered to create new materials, rather than disposing of ‘used’ products into landfills after just one or two lives. What does this mean exactly? The plastic we have on earth right now can be collected and repurposed into something new again and we can eliminate the need for production from raw materials. If we continue to create goods from virgin fossil fuels rather than materials that already exist, we will exacerbate the problem. The circular economy helps us ‘turn off the tap’ of plastic pollution at the source and clean up our planet in the process.
A BRAND THAT’S COMMITTED TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
The good news is there is an air of change approaching. Some companies around the world already understand this need for a redesign. They understand that we cannot change our planet without first changing our practices. Love Beauty and Planet are an exemplary example of a brand with an environmental and social conscience who are willing act.
Love Beauty and Planet operate a circular business model. Their products are responsibly sourced from sustainable markets and packaged in bottles that are 100% recyclable. Most of their bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Although their caps and pumps are not, they share this information freely, quickly followed by clear commitments to change this.
Love Beauty and Planet was created to meet and exceed the new benchmark in sustainable practices and lead the way with their circular model. They’re taking responsibility for their footprint with six goals for a better future:
- Sustainably sourced ingredients
- 100% recycled bottles to reduce waste
- Saving water through fast rise technology
- Reducing carbon footprint and reporting honestly
- Supporting environmentalists through projects
- Product innovation that cares for the planet
“Whatever we do must be good for beauty and good for the planet. If it’s not, it’s out.” – Love Beauty and Planet
As a brand that are truly committed to reducing their impact, Love Beauty and Planet operate under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). Built around the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, the USLP raises the global benchmark and outlines how they, as a multinational corporation, are taking responsibility of their global footprint.
The three big goals of the USLP which Love Beauty and Planet contribute to are
- Improve the health and well-being of more than 1 billion people by 2020
- Halve Unilever’s environmental impact by 2030
- Enhance the livelihoods of millions by 2020 (each compared to 2010 baseline)
“I believe that the only way to serve our consumers is by creating brands that deliver great beauty results and also show respect for our planet by being accountable for, and working to reduce our carbon footprint.” – Piyush Jain, Global Vice President of Love Beauty and Planet.
When brands take responsibility for their footprint, the planet wins. Through setting bold goals in circular business, sustainable sourcing and honest reporting, Love Beauty and Planet are creating a blueprint for other companies to take notes and hopefully, follow suit.
For more information, visit lovebeautyandplanet.com/au