Love, Beauty and Planet: Are They Greenwashing? We Investigate.
From the name, through to the website imagery and content, Love, Beauty and Planet markets itself as a company that works in harmony with the environment. Their goal is to give a little love to the planet, to make a difference toward a happier and less wasteful planet, and to take ownership of their entire product lifecycle.
Given this positive and promising start, does the company demonstrate their ethical commitments through product ingredients, treatment of animals and sustainable behavior? Let’s find out
Ingredients (Rating: Bad)
There are a number of suspect chemical compounds found in the companies products which you may wish to consider before purchasing:
- Synthetic dyes
Verdict: The company writes about “fabulous formulas” and, in combination with the refreshing, flower-laden imagery, leads one to belief that the ingredients are something that they are not.
Sustainability (Rating: Bad)
The information required in order to prove the many positive statements made on their website is lacking and as such, determining whether this company is sustainable is not easy.
Their website mission statement reads as a mixture of vague claims and apologisms. For instance, a goal of the company is to measure and minimise their carbon footprint. Sadly, we do not know the size of their carbon footprint, nor do we know how and over what timescale, or to what size the carbon footprint will be reduced. The company wants a “carbon footprint so small, it’s like we weren’t even here” adding immediately, that “any business is going to leave some sort of footprint”.
The company states that being sustainable is “not an easy task, and we know we won’t always get it right the first time. There will be mistakes. There will be failures. But, for us, purity of intent is bigger than perfection”. While the average consumer does not demand perfection, it would be useful to know exactly what their goals are, when they will be attained, and how.
As is often the case with large companies, a number of relatively small, bolt-on programs shift to centre-stage as poor substitutes for a holistic, business-level commitment to putting the planet first. Such initiatives, when measured against huge profit margins, are often minor expenditures. With Love, Beauty and Planet, the actual work done toward social and environmental good (for which reliable data is missing) seems to be carried out by other companies along the supply-chain. For instance, it is Givaudan who are aiming toward bolstering the livelihoods of farmers, and it is their “sourcing partners” who help promote fair wage jobs and ethical sourcing.
What’s more, Love, Beauty and Planet is owned by Unilever, a company that uses palm oil extensively throughout their range of products. This means, unfortunately, that regardless of the merits of a single product, your purchase is ultimately supporting the larger conglomerate.
Animal Rights (Rating: Bad)
While Love, Beauty and Planet writes that they do not directly test on animals, the company concedes that testing may occur when required by law. While the company writes that they aim to minimize animal testing, this falls short of sacrificing profits by refraining from selling in markets that do test on animals.Their parent company, Unilever, also falls short when it comes to animal testing. In short, commitments do not extend further than vague language as to what the company is working toward.
The company offers some vegan products, though this is not the result of a carefully planned approach or ethical standpoint.
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Bad” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Love, Beauty and Planet as follows.
|INGREDIENTS||Bad– This company uses ingredients known to lead to allergic reactions and other negative effects.|
|SUSTAINABILITY||Bad– No real objective data or evidence is provided to demonstrate sustainable practices, or show a real willingness to commit to timebound targets.|
|ANIMAL RIGHTS||Bad– The company operates in markets that test on animals and uses animal products across their lines.|
Overall Rating: Bad
Love, Beauty and Planet is a great example of a company that offers everything in the way of image and not very much in the way of substance.
The company writes that they may not get it right first time. While this is surely understandable, detailed reporting on what the company has and is doing would allow the consumer to determine this for themselves.