Lush is a company of activists. For more than a decade, we’ve campaigned alongside the climate movement, calling on our staff, customers, industry and government to combat the climate crisis. To meet the science-informed targets of the Paris Agreement and prevent the earth’s temperature from rising more than 1.5°C, we need to work together. Climate justice movements have shown that decades of fossil fuel extraction that has caused permanent damage to the environment and which largely exist close to BIPOC and low-income areas (environmental racism) has destroyed land and livelihoods, and sickened Indigenous and other marginalized communities.
That’s why we work with grassroots organizations fighting for climate justice. Through our charitable giving program, Charity Pot, we support hundreds of groups on the frontlines of environmental racism and industrial extraction projects, and who resist more harm to their communities, developing innovative and local solutions for lasting change. Three of our partners are:
Anthropocene Alliance unites and supports survivors of human- and climate-caused flooding when they need it most. Many face damaged property, homelessness, debt, and unaffordable insurance, and their vast network matches members with pro bono lawyers, scientists, and health advocates to successfully halt developments in flood-prone areas; plan and institute green infrastructure; organize home buyouts; and promote cleanups at superfund sites, toxic landfills, and petrochemical plants.
The ENRICH Project
The ENRICH Project investigates and uncovers environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities. They work with those impacted to advocate for the closure of toxic sites, remediation, and compensation for harm. Their research informed the 2019 documentary There’s Something in the Water and has inspired communities impacted by industrial sites across Canada to unify and share strategies.
Seeding Sovereignty is an Indigenous-led collective that radicalizes and disrupts colonized spaces through land, body, and food sovereignty work, community building, and cultural preservation. They support communities on Indigenous Apache, Pueblo, and Dine lands, and those in the San Juan Basin—communities that are on the frontlines of oil and gas extraction, which devastates land and precious water resources. Resilience and asserting rights against toxic projects are core to their success.
We look to these organizations as models of what we must do to combat the climate emergency. We prioritize supporting communities and take actions to protect and invest in the BIPOC and working-class communities most impacted. And to meet global targets, the science is clear, we must end the era of fossil fuels.
We know that looking where we can improve is essential, so we can be accountable for our use of fossil fuels, which touch many of our end-to-end operations. To reduce our use, we apply a variety of innovations that focus on improving energy, water, waste, and transportation consumption, such as:
- In 2020, 61 percent of our manufacturing and retail used renewable energy. We invest in the development of more renewable energy through our partnership with NativeEnergy and Bullfrog Power.
- We’re installing a water meter pilot in our shops to identify opportunities. We’re also in the process of developing a wastewater treatment system for our manufacturing facilities to ensure that the water we use during production can be recycled and reused.
- Two of our manufacturing plants are zero waste. We recently brought on 50 new local composting partners for our shops, boosting our retail diversion rate to 73 percent.
- We prioritize cleaner transport to move our goods, like choosing rail over truck and ocean over air. Between 2016 and early 2020, we kept our outbound air shipments by weight to below one percent.
We know we can do more, but we also know that taking action alone isn’t enough. We need other businesses to join us along with bold action by global leaders.
That’s why we joined the call to President Biden to Build Back Fossil Free, ending all fossil fuel project approvals and accelerate the production of clean, democratic and sustainable energy through executive orders and congressional action. These actions must be taken along with support for workers impacted by transitioning away from the fossil fuel production sites of oil and gas extraction. That’s why we also advocate for legislation in Canada and the United State to support a “Just Transition”, so the livelihoods of workers are protected.
The urgency of the climate emergency can’t be understated. The Paris Agreement defined the necessary action as reducing emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and net zero by 2050. Individual action must have systemic change impacts, grassroots solutions must be supported, businesses must be bold and visionary, and leaders must act so we can all be climate leaders, and make climate action politically urgent. In 2019, the youth-led climate strike showed us we can’t operate as “business as usual”.