Since our inception, well before there were any bans on such practices for cosmetics around the world, we have been staunchly opposed to animal testing of any kind. Our products are all made from responsibly sourced ingredients. None of these are derived from animals; even such industry favourites as beeswax, honey and lanolin are absent from our labels—which means that all our formulations are vegan. All ingredients are thoroughly reviewed by our Research & Development team before use. They are researched extensively not only for safety and efficacy but for their registration and regulatory status across global markets, noting any past animal testing that would prevent their inclusion. This is a standard process for all ingredients, whether new or existing. Our internal Ethical Sourcing Programme also ensures that all our suppliers use environmentally responsible processes, provide safe working conditions, and treat their workers with dignity and respect. We are committed to investing in long-term partnerships with those that reflect these values. Constant assessment and improvement of our suppliers' practices are key to maintaining ethical and sustainable production of the highest standard.
Our approach to sustainability aims to reduce our environmental impact and increase our social commitments, starting with the issues of greatest importance to our communities, customers and colleagues. In short, the intention is to give back more than we take.
All our formulations—including those for the home—are approved under the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny programme, the internationally recognised gold standard for cruelty-free products, whose criteria go above and beyond legal requirements. We adhere to a fixed cut-off date policy and proactively monitor our suppliers to ensure that our products continue to adhere to the Leaping Bunny criteria. Our supplier monitoring system is also independently audited. For more information about Cruelty Free International, Leaping Bunny and Leaping Bunny criteria, please visit their website.
As a Certified B Corporation®, we meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. The globally recognised credential publicly endorses businesses as making an impact beyond profit by building a more inclusive and sustainable economy. In becoming a Certified B Corporation®, we have joined a community of like-minded businesses. The challenges of sustainability are far too big for any one company or industry to face alone, and collaboration is necessary to tackle them effectively.
Aesop appears on PETA's vegan and cruelty-free lists, the internationally recognised association for vegan and cruelty-free products, whose criteria go above and beyond legal requirements. We proactively monitor our suppliers to ensure that our products continue to adhere to PETA's criteria, in addition to independent audits.
Our approach to packaging has remained largely unchanged over the years. This is not just a design choice—it is an ethos. Vessels must be functional, modest, and have minimal environmental impact. It may sound at odds with this approach, but some of our bottles are made from plastic, rather than glass. This was not a decision made lightly but is a solution to our practical packaging problems—it is also a little-known fact that plastic bottles actually have a lower carbon footprint than their glass counterparts. Most of the plastic we use is recycled PET, which consists of at least 97% recycled material. Our recycled PET is made up of household plastic waste. These bottles have a much lower footprint than a vessel made entirely of virgin materials, and they meet our product performance needs perfectly. By the end of 2021, 89% of our plastic bottles were made from recycled PET, and the aim is to increase that in 2022. Our internal Sustainable Packaging Roadmap calls for using at least 50% recycled content across our entire plastic packaging range by 2025.
Even when bottling our first ever formulations, waste was a consideration. The idea of encasing a container in an outer carton—when this is not a legal requirement—seemed at best an excess of effort, and at worst a contribution to environmental degradation. Continuing this journey towards circularity, customers at Aesop QV and Aesop South Yarra, Melbourne, are invited to partake in an in-store packaging refill trial. As part of this pilot, new reusable glass bottles are available, filled with formulations from a custom-made dispensary machine. Once depleted, they can be returned to be traded for a refilled replacement, and the used vessel is washed in-store, ready for another customer. This approach can help lessen an individual’s carbon footprint over time. It also celebrates sustainable materials, without compromising the product within. Over the coming years this circular initiative will expand into more stores, as part of a continual investment in sustainability—bringing Aesop closer to becoming a fully regenerative business.
Aesop stores are physical manifestations of our overall attitudes and ambitions. To ensure this, we continue to embed circular and regenerative principles into our approach to their design. While each store is individual, materials and furnishings from refurbished, closed or relocated stores are reused wherever possible, extending their lifespan and avoiding unnecessary waste. More generally, the environmental impact of our stores from construction to decommission is being constantly measured. We are currently developing specific design sustainability targets, to be met by 2030.
In the face of the current climate crisis, we must act now to decarbonise our value chain and protect nature. This is why we have set ourselves the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Recently we reached carbon neutrality across our global business, obtaining South Pole’s Climate Neutral Company label. Since 2018, our Australian operations have been certified carbon-neutral under the Australian Government’s Climate Active scheme. Our initial work in this area has also been expanded to include emissions from raw materials and from our products’ disposal.
We source 100% renewable energy to power our offices and stores around the world. We prioritise sourcing directly from electricity suppliers and, where this is not possible, we procure renewable energy certificates which incentivise suppliers to produce energy from renewable sources. Working alongside the Transform to Net Zero Initiative, we are devising a climate change action plan to see decarbonisation applied across our entire business, supply chain and production processes.