Six Steps We've Taken To Become More Sustainable
Posted by Samantha Nice
Sustainability has, and always will be, a focus for us at NEOM and we’re constantly looking at ways we can do better. Whilst we appreciate there’s still a long way to go, our CEO and founder, Oliver shares some of the things we have been doing recently…
1. We’ve Started Our Journey To Becoming A B-Corp
“When Nicola and I launched NEOM back in 2005, we started with a range of candles which used natural waxes and pure essential oils as opposed to paraffin wax, which is a derivative of crude oil and synthetic fragrance which 95% of the candle market was made from back then,” explains Oliver. “Whilst much more expensive, it’s a more sustainable way of making candles so I guess you could say we baked an element of sustainability into the heart of NEOM. We’re aware it’s a journey and we’re not perfect, but it’s something we’re always striving to be better at which is why we’re in the process of becoming a B Corp,” he adds.
“A B Corp company is one which seeks to hold itself to the highest possible standard when it comes to the environment and the communities it serves from its employees right through to the suppliers,” says Oliver. “A B Corp doesn’t just think about profit. Every decision it makes balances the planet, people and profit in equal measure. As part of the process of becoming a B Corp, we’ve changed our mission to better align with improving the wellbeing of our planet and our communities, but my personal ambition is to ensure NEOM is zero waste by 2025. Our current aim is to review our entire product offering to reduce packaging as much as possible and look at options which are refillable, reusable and recyclable.”
2. We’re Looking To Be Climate Positive By 2030
We also want to align with the Climate Movement and the recent COP26 pledges to be Climate Positive by 2030, meaning going a step further than carbon neutral and saving more greenhouse gas emissions than we are generating. “This is not only great for the planet, but we hope it inspires other businesses and brands to double down on environmental initiatives too,” he says. “Carbon offsetting is crucial and there are steps we need to take first to become carbon neutral. This is something we must and will do, but a massive focus also needs to go onto carbon reduction too. This could take the form of reducing virgin materials and using PCR instead or perhaps reducing, or where possible, removing cardboard packaging from our products entirely and offering refillable products too. We have lots of these in place already but there is still a lot more to be done if we want to align with the Paris agreement.” This leads us on to our next point…
3. We Have Just Launched Our NEW Ceramic Washes
“We saw an opportunity to make our hand washes even more sustainable so repackaged them using 100% recycled material,” says Oli. “We also decided to make them refillable so you can reuse the ceramic dispenser and pump by topping them up from the 1 litre refill bottle you can now buy too. We realised that offering a large refill option saves over 30% of the packaging waste compared to our original 300ml sized hand washes which was the main driving force behind this launch. These hand washes and refills took us around 18 months to finalise as, like with any NEOM product, we always put quality ahead of speed. We spent a long time looking at high quality, eco-friendly materials that would last a long time and look great in your home,” he adds.
4. We Have Become Even More Conscious Of Our Packaging
When it comes to packaging, this is something we are very aware of, and it’s been a big focus for us. “In September this year, we launched our Perfect Night’s Sleep Overnight Face Cream which we managed to make Zero Waste,” explains Oliver. “We did this by choosing a 100% PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic lid and a glass jar with a minimum of 75% PCR glass since we believe glass to be better than plastic from an environmental perspective. The box is also fully FSC-certified meaning it’s made from paper pulp from a sustainably managed forestry. In addition to this, we also manufacture the finished product in the UK, so any carbon associated with the transport of the product is kept to an absolute minimum,” adds Oliver who acknowledges we still have a long way to go. “My team and I are working tirelessly to find sustainable packaging solutions so we can be a good example of a sustainable wellbeing brand.”
5. We’re Ditching Excessive Packaging
Not only have we been looking closely at the materials we use to package our products, we’ve also been looking at cutting back on excessive packaging too. “Where possible, we now launch products that are free of cardboard packaging – like our Magnesium Body Butters, Hand Balms and 300ml Hand Washes & Lotions,” explains Oliver. “The temptation being a premium brand is to always have a beautiful box with your product, but we explained to our customers that this isn’t always best from an environmental perspective, and we received a lot of positive feedback. In cases where we needed a box, such as our much-loved Wellbeing Pod, we looked at various ways in which we could make it more economical. We ended up shrinking it by 30% and found a vacuum form insert which is made from paper as opposed to plastic. We are also shrinking ecommerce transit packaging to save pulp and weight. We’ve swapped out the sticky tape we used to seal our boxes with and now use a paper-based product here too. We do sometimes need to use plastic for our cosmetic lids but are now transitioning over to post-consumer recycled and mono colour plastics which are easier to recycle,” he adds. “We did love our silver metallic lids, but they proved difficult to recycle. Our plan is to keep reducing as much as possible which, in combination with carbon offsetting, will help us get to being Climate Positive as soon as possible.”
6. We’re Making Positive Changes In Our Head Office And At Our Other Sites
We’ve also been looking at things a little closer to home in our head office in Harrogate as well as our other sites. “It’s our aim to move entirely to 100% renewable energy by using suppliers who can provide the majority of their energy by wind,” explains Oliver. “We’re also switching all of our stationary supply to ensure the paper we use internally is recycled, FSC-certified, unbleached and chlorine-free. The next step is for us to move all of our printed marketing material by 2022 and minimise the use of paper in favour of digital formats,” he adds. “When it comes to cleaning supplies, we are making sure only eco-friendly and cruelty-free brands are being used and we have removed any hazardous products. Another step we’ve taken is to identify areas in which we can reduce our water use by working with our landlord to monitor it and set reduction targets – the same goes for our waste.”