‘Critical Next Step’: The Body Shop To Go 100% Vegan By 2023, Amidst Global Refill Program Launch

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The Body Shop has announced that it will be making its entire portfolio vegan within the next two years, as the “activist beauty” brand seeks to retain conscious consumers. The company will also be rolling out its new refill scheme across 500 stores globally within this year as well as expand its existing in-store recycling program to ramp up its sustainability credentials. 

The Body Shop has committed to make its entire product range 100% vegan and certified with The Vegan Society by 2023, the London-headquartered company announced on Wednesday (June 2). On the back of its legacy as one of the first beauty brands to commit to no animal testing in 1989, the firm says described going completely animal-free as the “critical next step”. 

Gaining certification with The Vegan Society to bear its trademark logo will mean ensuring that The Body Shop’s entire value chain, from suppliers to manufacturers, comply with vegan-friendly standards. Currently, around 60% of the brand’s products are vegan, with animal byproducts such as honey and beeswax used in their non-vegan items

In the same announcement, The Body Shop said it will launch an “ambitious roll-out” of its new refill scheme globally. The stations are slated to land in 500 stores within this year, before an additional 200 are added in 2022

The new refill stations in The Body Shop, rolling out globally across 500 stores in 2021 and a further 300 stores in 2022. (Image: The Body Shop)

We want refills to become mainstream – easy and accessible to everyone.

Lionel Thoreau, Global Brand Director, The Body Shop

“Going 100% vegan is a natural next step for us and vegan beauty is a critical next step in our sustainability and environmental endeavours. This, along with our global refill and in-store recycling programmes makes The Body Shop a destination for ethically-minded customers,” commented global brand director Lionel Thoreau. 

“We want refills to become mainstream – easy and accessible to everyone. This is just our first step in a 5-year plan to roll out refill stations across the globe,” Thoreau continued. 

The existing recycling in-store program that The Body Shop has in place will be extended to a further 800 stores in 14 markets by the end of this year. 

The Body Shop’s decision to ditch all animal-based products and ingredients and tap into circular business models is no doubt a move squarely aimed at the increasingly influential group of conscious consumers, primarily younger millennials and Gen Zs who are changing the way brands behave

Existing recycling scheme at The Body Shop. (Image: The Body Shop)

Going 100% vegan is a natural next step for us and vegan beauty is a critical next step in our sustainability and environmental endeavours.

Lionel Thoreau, Global Brand Director, The Body Shop

In the wake of the pandemic, consumers have further ramped up their demands from brands, with the most recent survey indicating over 8 in 10 now expect climate action and social justice from companies.

The Body Shop, a self-described “activist beauty brand”, began launching sustainability-focused stores two years ago in its domestic U.K. market, before bringing the concept to Singapore last year. The stores allow customers to participate in upcycling workshops and recycling campaigns, but until now had not provided any reusable or refillable offerings to reduce packaging waste.

The brand’s rival Lush has taken the lead in the realm of packaging-free beauty products, launching its zero-waste Naked concept store back in 2018, and brought the store to Hong Kong the year after

French beauty and skincare brand L’Occitane has also come under pressure for a sustainability revamp. It opened an eco-themed storefront in Hong Kong in January this year, featuring no paper or plastic bags, a take-back recycling program and refill stations. 

All images courtesy of The Body Shop.

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