Dr. Kate Forbes, Aesop

Dr. Kate Forbes, Aesop

Premium Beauty News - Aesop has received carbon neutral certification under Climate Active for their Australian operations. How does this materialize exactly?

Kate Forbes - As a company founded on steadfast ethics, our intention has always been to tread as lightly as we can, with an unwavering commitment to quality, excellence and sustainability across ideas and formulations.

Climate Active is an independent carbon neutral certification administered by the Australian government to certify businesses and organisations that are measuring, reducing and offsetting their emissions, with a net result of zero emissions. The certification covers Aesop operations in Australia from January 2018 to June 2020 and includes, stores, office, digital dispatch and freight to and from our third-party global distribution centre located in Melbourne.

We continue our efforts to a sustainable future and are working actively towards all Aesop spaces operating on renewable energy by 2023.

As part of the Natura &Co group we are developing our climate action plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and establish a science-based emission reduction target by June 2021. This is well underway with ongoing reduction initiatives in our largest sources of emissions: freight, corporate travel and energy. These initiatives include a continued transition to renewable energy, an improved inventory planning tool to optimize freight and reduction in corporate travel through virtual tools. In 2019, we reduced our emissions from flight activity by 7%.

Premium Beauty News - What are Aesop’s other initiatives to reduce your environmental footprint?

Kate Forbes - Several initiatives have been established that focus on packaging, raw material procurement, waste and e-commerce.

We are committed to establishing practices that design out waste and support the continued use of our packaging. This topic of conversation allowed Aesop to share our current circularity journey, including the introduction of our packaging re-use trial which has just launched in Adelaide late last month. Moreover, we have increased the amount of recycled content used in our packing with over 70% of Aesop PET plastic bottles made from a minimum of 97% recycled PET sourced from post-consumer recycled content.

While our current recycled content in packaging performance surpasses trends and targets being set by the industry, we acknowledge that considerable work remains necessary to improve the circularity of our packaging range and we strive towards our goal for all packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Premium Beauty News - How does the brand combine luxury and sustainability?

Kate Forbes - We do not consider there to be a disconnect between luxury and sustainability; each one of us should be of the mindset that it is our responsibility to care for the environment in which we live, making a conscious effort to influence positive social and environmental change.

Throughout Aesop’s thirty-three years, we have adhered to a fiercely independent approach to skin care; always aiming to deliver products of premium efficacy and sensory pleasure through solid science, uncomplicated packaging and an unwavering sense of humour. We have also maintained a commitment to service of the highest calibre for our customers. We are meticulous in selecting and sourcing ingredients, ensuring each is chosen with the health and safety of our customers and the natural environment foremost in mind.

We are on a journey of ever lightening our tread on the planet that generously sustains us while formulating products of the highest quality and efficacy.

Beyond the environment, our strategy includes initiatives that will help nurture an inclusive, engaged culture, where all employees are empowered to contribute to strategy, develop and thrive.

Premium Beauty News - Concerning the Covid-19 crisis, did you notice any change in consumer habits?

Kate Forbes - It is perhaps no surprise that while we have all been enjoying the comfort of our homes a lot more than usual, we have seen rises in our home and body care category. Quite specifically, in the UK, we have seen sales of the Brass Oil Burner experience a quintupled uplift on aesop.com, while the accompanying oil burner blends have soared with more than a 200% rise.

On a global level, our home category is experiencing more than a two-fold YOY growth, which ties nicely with the expansion of this offering as we have just this month launched our first trio of Aromatique Candles, formulated in collaboration with French perfumer, Barnabé Fillion. We have already seen a positive response from our customers and anticipate as the current restrictions continue, in one form or another, this type of product will continue to be appealing to those looking to heighten their sensory surroundings at home.

Beyond this category, and in line with the current climate, we have also seen a rise in our body care category, with sales almost tripling. While the everyday act of cleansing may once have furnished a relatively routine beginning or end to the day, our perspective on this has changed and we look to find joy and pleasure in the smallest of rituals. There seems to be an emphasis on the mood-enhancing benefits that a favourite aromatic blend can bring to the act of cleansing bringing a sense of luxury to our new normal.