February 2014 FEW Meeting Recap: NOT Optional
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as THE business model and strategy for sustainable profit
By Christina Hanazawa-Gallagher, FEW Vice President
Maho Takahashi, Charity and Campaign Manager at LUSH Japan presented “Not Optional: Corporate Responsibility and the Business Model for Sustainable and Ethical Profit” at the February 13, 2014 FEW meeting.
“We use 2000 types of ingredients and we have a direct connection with our suppliers. This is the best way to know where the ingredients come from.” LUSH Japan products are manufactured in Kanagawa, sent by trains to its stores and 99.7% of the waste is recyclable.
Maho joined LUSH Japan last year after working for Peace Boat, a grassroots organization “promoting peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment.” With Peace Boat she travelled to an estimated 75 countries, but after 10 years there she was looking for something different.
She transitioned to the corporate world because she “was interested in how NGO’s and businesses can work together and share experiences and their profession to create better initiatives.”
Although filling gaps in society in terms of community impact, NGO’s are still considered with some skepticism in Japan.
Maho said that in Japan NGO’s are not as trusted as they are in other countries. In fact, she sited a statistic showing that in Japan NGO’s are 4th on the list of trusted organization behind business, government and media.
So, where does that leave a company that is forging a different business model than its competitors?
For one thing, they don’t even have a CSR Department because their ethical business philosophy is spread throughout the company.
Maho said, “It takes effort to convince people we don’t (just) work for a cosmetics company; we work for a company that cares about human rights.”
Last month’s “We Believe In Love” campaign is one of those initiatives. The month-long campaign aimed to spread the message that “love should be an equal right.” This year’s campaign came in the aftermath of the anti-gay rights movement by the Russian government and to spotlight the issue around the Sochi Olympics. LUSH Japan sent 10,000+ post and pics of people with pink triangles on their body gathered through social media sites. They sent a photobook to the Russian embassy in Japan on Valentine’s Day.
About our speaker – Maho Takahashi, Charity & Campaign Manager, LUSH JAPAN
Circumnavigating the globe several times coordinating international projects for peace, conflict resolution, sustainability and many more, Maho works as a Charity & Campaign Manager at fresh handmade cosmetics LUSH JAPAN coordinating ethical campaigns on human rights, animal rights and environment.
Since establishing 19 years ago, Lush Cosmetics has been driven by innovation and its ethics. Creators of pioneering beauty products such as the fizzing bath ballistic, shower jellies and solid shampoo bars, Lush places emphasis on fresh ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables. Lush operates a strict policy against animal testing and supports Fair Trade and Community Trade initiatives. Lush has been awarded the RSPCA Good Business Award for 2006, 2007 and 2009, along with the 2006 PETA Trailblazer Award for Animal Welfare. LUSH Japan has been awarded the British Business Award for 2012, 2013. Co-founders Mark and Mo Constantine were awarded OBEs for services to the beauty industry in the new years honours list 2010.