Sustainable Packaging Practices at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Sustainable Packaging Practices at Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

Understand the issue of sustainable packaging and how Lush successfully differentiated itself

The case is about Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics (Lush), a UK-based manufacturer and marketer of ethical beauty products with nearly 500 stores worldwide. The case focuses on the sustainable business practices of Lush, with a special emphasis on its sustainable packaging practices. At a time when the world was experiencing an explosion in packaging due to the increasing importance of packaging as a marketing tool, 65 percent of Lush’s products were sold ‘naked'(i.e. without packaging). The rest of the products came with minimal packaging. The retail chain used just enough packaging so that the products reached the residence of its customers safely. It used grease proof paper, reusable tins, paper bags made from recycled materials and rewarded its customers for bringing back their containers and shopping bags. In 2007, it started using popcorn as loose fill instead of shredded paper (many other companies use polystyrene chips) in its shipping package. The same year, Lush also started a worldwide campaign ‘Get Naked’against excessive packaging by the industry. The much-publicized campaign strove to educate consumers regarding the adverse affect of packaging waste on the environment and urged them to shun excessively packaged products in favor of minimally packaged or ‘naked’products. Lush, which marketed fresh and natural handmade products, had leveraged on its new product development to come up with ‘category defying’products such as solid shampoos, solid conditioners, deodorants, massage bars, and solid bubble bath, which required no packaging. Moreover, these products were designed in the form of eatables such as cakes, cheese, ice-creams, and other desserts, and were displayed in the store in the form of an old-fashioned delicatessen. Experts felt that Lush through all aspects of its business – packaging practices, natural products, against-animal-testing stance, support for fair trade, decision to not use mass-media advertising and not go public to sustain its ethical practices – displayed a strong commitment to sustainable development issues and also successfully differentiated itself from its competitors. They felt that a key reason for the success of Lush was its corporate culture with everyone from the directors to the people working in the stores sharing the values of the brand.


Q1. Understand the issue of sustainable packaging and how Lush successfully differentiated itself with respect to its competitors in this regard.

Q2. Understand how Lush, through its product and packaging decisions coupled with its strong ethical stance, differentiated  itself in the competitive beauty industry.

Q3. Appreciate the importance of the role of corporate culture in corporate sustainability.


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