26 Aug 2021
Guided by its mission to be a force for good, The Body Shop at Northpoint City unveils a green makeover at Northpoint City with sustainability at the core of its store design.
If there’s one thing that The Body Shop has taught us through the years, it’s that beauty and self-empowerment need not come at the expense of our community and environment. Since its founding in 1976, the British beauty brand has stayed ahead of the curve, championing meaningful social and environmental causes such as community fair trade, anti-animal testing, and sustainable packaging.
With a global footprint of over 3,000 stores in more than 70 countries today, the brand remains rooted in its mission to be a force for good, creating natural and ethically sourced beauty products while encouraging its customers to embark on a zero-waste journey by refilling and reusing the same packaging. Driven by purpose, the brand also works closely with communities in developing countries to benefit the people they source from.
As The Body Shop continues making significant strides in its sustainability goals, it is taking its vision one step further by weaving responsibly sourced and recycled materials into its store designs. On 1 September, the brand will be unveiling an all-new eco-friendly store concept in Northpoint City. With this concept, shoppers can expect to see in-store fixtures like drawers and countertops made with 100% fully recycled plastic, FSC wood, and other materials.
From sustainable store designs to pioneering social initiatives, The Body Shop is a change-maker and champion for sustainability, while priding itself as a beacon of empowerment for its customers and the community. We caught up with Ms Karen Kwek, General Manager of The Body Shop Singapore, to delve deeper into the brand’s causes, beliefs, and vision to make the world a kinder, fairer, and more beautiful place for everyone.
What are some of The Body Shop’s sustainability values?
At The Body Shop, we’re committed to tackling the plastic crisis differently. Avoiding plastic altogether is not the only answer. If used responsibly, plastic can be sustainable, so we need to show love for the plastic that we do use.
An abundant resource of recyclable plastic already exists. That’s why we launched a Community Fair Trade recycled plastic programme in 2019, where we source plastic from marginalised waste pickers in Bengaluru, India. This not only helps to tackle the world’s plastic pollution, but also empowers the waste pickers in Bengaluru with access to more sanitary working conditions, a fair price, and the respect and recognition they deserve.
We’ve started using Community Fair Trade recycled plastic in our 250ml shampoo and conditioner bottles, and are introducing it across all of our packaging. For instance, our new vegan haircare range and body butter packaging are made from 100% recycled PET plastics and are 100% recyclable.
The Body Shop’s new vegan haircare range comes in bottles made with 100% recycled plastic, including Community Fair Trade recycled plastic from Bengaluru, India.
In addition, we strive to encourage the habit of recycling among our customers. Hence, we introduced the “Return Recycle Repeat” scheme, where customers can simply drop off their The Body Shop plastic empties at any of our stores island-wide for recycling. Our recycling partner, Sembcorp®, will then collect the empty packaging to recycle or repurpose them into new items like park benches and playgrounds. With this initiative, we hope to make recycling easier for our customers so that everyone can play a part in helping the environment.
Besides sustainability, what are some meaningful causes that The Body Shop has championed?
Community Fair Trade (CFT) is a programme that The Body Shop has been championing since we launched it in 1987. Back then, CFT was known as Trade Not Aid, and over 30 years later, this ethos is still going strong. As our bespoke fair trade programme, CFT helps our suppliers gain market access and invest in social and environmental projects that benefit their communities, while helping us fill our products with the good stuff.
From handcrafted shea butter in Ghana to recycled paper gift bags in India, we source ingredients and accessories from across the planet. This also provides vital financial independence for our partners, as many of them are women living in rural areas with limited economic opportunities. We’re proud of what we have achieved through the CFT programme, as it has helped drive our goal of business as a force for good.
What are some other sustainability practices that The Body Shop has in place?
In addition to the initiatives mentioned earlier, we also started our “Kick The Bag” initiative, where we encourage customers to bring their own bag while shopping at The Body Shop. With every paper bag saved, The Body Shop will donate 10 cents to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore to support various sustainable projects, including engaging businesses to reduce plastic consumption in Singapore and the region.
What was the rejuvenation of your Northpoint City outlet inspired by?
Our new store concept at Northpoint City is part of our larger brand rejuvenation project, which is one of The Body Shop's key objectives as part of the Natura &Co Group.
In the two years since The Body Shop became part of Natura &Co, the business’ transformation plan has focused on several activities, including brand, retail, digital, customer experience, activism, and sustainability. Brand rejuvenation is a key pillar of this transformation, and focuses on ensuring that the brand brings our purpose to life across all touchpoints.
Guided by our core sustainability values and purpose, we want to forge relationships with our customers and community to help them feel positive and proud about themselves, their bodies, and their futures. Through natural ingredients that work, we want to create products that help women and girls become the best versions of themselves. With our drive for social change, we also hope to build a brand that empowers women and girls with every product and business decision.
What are some unique sustainably sourced materials that have been used as in-store finishes?
For our countertops, we have used EKOply, which is a 100% fully recycled post-industrial waste plastic. Our drawers are made from recycled crates, which are manufactured using recycled materials. We have also used Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood, which is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or postconsumer waste.
The Body Shop’s in-store finishes use sustainably and ethically sourced materials like EKOply plastics and FSC certified wood.
What are some commonly used materials used in store design that can be harmful to the environment, and how will the new store address these problems?
Animal-derived products like non-FSC timber, mixed materials that are chemically bonded together, single-use materials such as plastic, and excessive lighting, are some materials and processes that are harmful to the environment.
To address these problems, our design uses only mechanically produced fixtures, minimal plastic if there are no other safe alternatives, FSC timber, no animal-derived products, and open bays to reduce unnecessary lighting.
The materials we’ve chosen for this store are carefully selected to align with our sustainability values. With this new store concept, we hope to bring out the true spirit of a working space that incorporates sustainable practices into its design.
Are there any other interesting concepts that shoppers can look forward to in-store?
Shoppers should definitely check out our refill station where they can opt for a more sustainable way of refilling, reusing, and repeating our products. With a range of The Body Shop products like shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and hand wash at the station, shoppers can pick up one of our aluminium bottles at the store, fill it up with their favourite product, and refill it once they’ve used it up.
Alternatively, shoppers can also explore our gift-wrapping station where they can personalise their own gift wrappers for their loved ones.
With sustainability woven into our store design, we hope that the store creates an inviting atmosphere for our customers, where they can kickstart their journey to recycle, use refills, and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle in the future.
What other pilot initiatives from The Body Shop can we look out for as the brand furthers its sustainability efforts?
This year, we’re rolling out refill stations across 500 stores globally, and a further 300 stores in 2022.
As part of our long-term sustainability strategy, we have set ambitious targets for ourselves to achieve by 2030. These targets focus on designing product packaging more sustainably:
Currently, we’re also expanding our Community Fair Trade recycled plastics programme (Plastics For Change). This is where we source existing waste plastic to use for our plastic bottles. We’re aiming for a minimum of 75% post-consumer recycled plastic across all product lines by 2022. We’re also looking into packaging-free products, amongst other sustainable packaging options, in the future.
As one of the world’s sustainability pioneers, The Body Shop stays true to its commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices, weaving them into every aspect of the brand – whether it’s product design and packaging, customer experience, or store design. While have proven to create memorable in-store experiences for customers, The Body Shop is trailblazing the concept of sustainability as a vital aspect of its business – where profit and purpose go hand in hand to drive meaningful change in the world.