Natura &Co is a global purpose-driven personal care group comprising Avon, Natura, The Body Shop and Aesop. In 2020, the group unveiled Commitment to Life, a ten-year plan designed to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, one of which is the dramatic rise in plastic usage.
Multiple targets to reduce plastic usage
Natura &Co aims to achieve full circularity of packaging by 2030. It has committed to decreasing packaging material by 20% (or more) in weight, and for 50% of all plastic used to be made of recycled content. In addition, 100% of packaging material will be either reusable, recyclable or compostable. Finally, the group plans to offset plastic use through ‘collection and reuse’ programs, which will help reach 100% responsible disposal where recycling infrastructure is not available. To achieve this, Natura &Co has committed to investing a minimum of $100m by 2030 in developing solutions, such as biotechnology to transform waste to plastics.
A joint effort featuring external partnerships
Natura &Co is working on achieving the Commitment to Life targets through a collective effort across its brands, with sustainability, R&D, human resources and business leads at all group’s companies collaborating daily to achieve progress.
Natura &Co also partners with several different organizations, such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by designing out waste, promoting reuse and generating natural systems, and the Consumer Goods Forum, which plays a crucial role in eliminating plastic. In addition, Natura &Co sits on the board of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) which works towards finding solutions to making plastic and packaging circular and sustainable.
Impact so far and future outlook
Natura &Co has made advances in its mission to include recycled plastics in products and packaging. The Body Shop are now using 68% recyclable plastic in packaging, and Natura are using 50%. In 2020, 70% of Aesop’s plastic bottles were made from at least 97% recycled PET. Further, The Body Shop’s Community Fair Trade Program continues to have an impact, resulting in 250 tonnes of recycled plastic being incorporated into packaging in one year. This figure is growing, with hope that it will rise to over 900 tonnes by the end of 2021.
Progress has also been made through initiatives designed to reduce the use of plastic. Avon has re-launched several products in bottles which contain 30% PCR plastic. These new bottles save 45 and 33.5 tonnes of virgin plastic per year respectively. In addition, by introducing the option of purchasing hand wash products as a refill without a pump, Aesop has saved 12g of plastic per bottle. The Body Shop’s refill scheme, reintroduced in 2019, removed 21 tonnes of plastic from Christmas gifts alone and is continuing to reduce plastic further.
Natura &Co strongly believes that change requires co-operation amongst all stakeholders, including civil society. Given this, the group seeks to work with partners, competitors, companies, NGOs and the academic world to take collective action. Natura &Co will continue its efforts to include recycled plastics in products and packaging. For example, The Body Shop is looking to put 75% of recycled material in their product packaging by 2022, an increase from an average of 25%. In addition, by 2025 they aim to make all bath, body and haircare products full recyclable from a formula and packaging standpoint.
Natura &Co also plans to decrease plastic usage overall by expanding current initiatives, with an objective to bring the product refill scheme to more stores, and expanding the ‘Return.Recycle.Repeat’ scheme into more regions.