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Here at Beaute Industrie, sustainability is one of our core values. Not only is it interwoven throughout everything we do, including our events and merchandise, but we consider it part of our mission to encourage salon, spa and clinic owners to undertake sustainable practices wherever possible. We also consider it part of our mission to spread the word about the incredible businesses that are already partaking in sustainable practices, leading the way for our industry and, more importantly, ensuring the health and beauty of our planet for our future generations.

We spoke to a number of beauty and aesthetic business owners who are passionate about earth-friendly choices in the workplace, and not only did we learn that it’s the small things that go a long way, but too that implementing a few changes at a time may be even simpler than you think.

Rachel Roberts from Better Beauty is a big advocate for sustainable beauty, and she tells us it isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business. “Sustainability in my business is important for a few reasons,” says Rachel. “Not only am I limiting waste within the salon, but sustainability is part of my brand image, which gives me a competitive advantage. It attracts new customers who may be on the fence of which salon to visit.” Rachel tells us how even the tiniest of changes in our salons can add up when you consider the bigger picture. “I believe that everything we do within our daily lives and salon lives should have minimal impact on our environment, and it’s all about putting those small things that you might not think make a difference at the forefront. For example, switching cotton tips to eco-friendly cotton tips. It’s such a small thing that we can do, but over 10 years in the beauty industry I know I’ve used a lot. Multiply that with every salon, something so small now has huge impact. Starting small and changing one thing at a time is a great start. Take a look at what’s ending up in the bins at the end of each day. Is there a way to reduce that issue? Are there lights or wax pots on all day that don’t need to be?”

We understand that being more sustainable can come at a cost, but as Rachel explains, this is a cost you can pass onto your clients and most of the time, they are more than happy to facilitate. “Gloves, bin bags, cotton tips, and laundry rather than disposables can be more expensive, so it’s important to consider the cost into each treatment. I know from my experience clients are more than happy to pay a little extra for something they get to feel like they’re having a positive impact on, without needing to do anything. Consider having clients bring their own g-string for waxing. Saving both a g-string and bag is a great small habit to change that can have a huge difference over a period of time. Start the conversation with the brands you stock, ask what they are doing within their businesses: do they align with your values, and how may you be able to implement some of these values?”

Rachel’s last tip is to get your team involved, not just at work but in the home as well. “Being a sustainable salon benefits not only our environment but as a business owner and leader. It feels good knowing you’re setting a great example for staff who may start the conversation at home, and bring a packed lunch with minimal waste, which their partner may start doing. The conversation may then flow to clients, and this flow-on effect of small changes by everyone can result in huge impact.”

Another way to make a big impact is to get your clients involved. Pay it forward by encouraging your clients to practise sustainability at home, starting with the products they receive from you. Danielle Dean from The Beauty Garden shares some of her salon’s tips with us: “We encourage our clients to upcycle/recycle their product containers. They’re already 100% recyclable if they just want to get rid of them, but if they want to keep them, we teach them to use old mask containers for tea light candles, to propagate a plant, or fill old bottles with leftover serum from a collagen vitamin mask packet to be used later instead of throwing it away. We show clients how to use leftover candlewax as wax melts and then use the candle jars for storage containers such as makeup brushes or other items. We even have one-time-use recyclable headbands which we gift to our clients to reuse at home after their facials.”

Another business known for its excellence in eco practices is intherapy. Owner Nicola Le Lievre tells us being sustainable is one of the business’ core values. “We have always been very conscious of the products we use in salon and any little ways we can make a difference,” explains Nicola. “We believe that we can all be a part of the solution and small changes can make a big difference. Since I bought the salon five years ago, we have slowly incorporated some of those changes to our salon but two years ago we took it to the next level.” “It all started one afternoon when I was driving home from work and noticed a purple bin in front of a hairdresser nearby. I stopped to see what it was and the name Sustainable Salons Australia caught my attention. I immediately contacted them and enquired about what they do. Things escalated quickly from there and a few weeks later we were joined up with SSA as the first beauty salon in Queensland. We are extremely proud to be the first sustainable salon in our state and hope to inspire other salons to come on board so that together, we can make an even bigger difference.” Nicola shares that her entire team is thrilled to be a part of the program. “I am happy to say that all of our staff and guests are on board with this amazing cause. We are very mindful of our recycling on a daily basis, disposing everything we can into the paper, plastic and metal bins provided by SSA, as well as a chemicals bin for any leftover and expired products. We always share our core values with new and existing guests and get them involved as well.”

Nicola agrees that most clients are more than happy to pay an additional cost to facilitate green initiatives. “We have introduced the SSA $2 green fee per visit and all of our guests have been extremely supportive of this. We approached our salon software Shortcuts who have automatically added the green fee to all transactions. It’s a bonus to know that the $2 green free is helping OZ Harvest to feed the homeless. We show guests our recycling bins in the reception area and rooms, and prompt them to dispose of any of their rubbish correctly. We offer guests a $1 discount on products if they bring back their empty packaging. It has been amazing to see so much support and positive feedback from our guests and local community.”

As last year’s ABIA award winner for best eco salon, James Vivian is also known for his efforts in sustainable practice, spreading eco-friendly habits throughout and beyond his clinic.

“As a clinic owner, I was becoming increasingly uneasy about the amount of non-recyclable waste that we were discarding weekly,” James tells us. “The busier we became, the more waste we were creating and our success did not need to come at the detriment of our environment. At James Vivian, sustainability extends beyond reducing our environmental footprint, and includes engaging with staff, local and wider communities to help spread the word and provide support where it is needed the most.”

James also enlists the help of growing organisation Sustainable Salons, which originally began in the hairdressing industry. “We reached out to Sustainable Salons to enquire about them collecting from our side of the industry and after a review of the type of materials that we were throwing out daily, they agreed to begin collecting from us. Our general waste decreased by 80% overnight!

In addition to recycling everything we possibly can, we opt for biodegradable options when available, including our recent move to compostable mail-order packaging, and have recently been able to create a zero-waste service using purely biodegradable and recyclable consumables.”

James also tells us his clinic was the first Victorian collection point for Every Little Bit Helps, an organisation that helps collect, package and distribute unused toiletry care packs to women’s and family shelters.

“Conduct a clinic detox,” says James, “view everything you use through a sustainability lens and consider its impact on its environment today as well as its impact in 20 years time.

peaking of sustainable partners, there is another organisation helping our industry become its best, most eco-friendly self – The Sustainable Spa Association. SSA is a non-profit organisation consisting of some of the world’s leading spas all committed to making change, maintaining best environmental practice, and being pioneers in the continued efforts towards environmental consciousness and sustainability. SSA believes the spa industry should be a leading industry for environmental causes, since spas represent the essence of wellbeing which begins and ends with the natural world.

For a small annual fee, SSA provides data driven resources and the most up to date environmental initiatives from within and outside the spa industry, so members can implement these in their own businesses – like your very own sustainability manager! By becoming a member, you will gain access to an exclusive network of sustainable businesses, suppliers and consumers, all of whom share the same values and principles of overall health, wellbeing, and sustainability. Partners are always available to offer advice, and some even offer exclusive discounts on their products and services.

Lucy Briale, Co-Founder and Director at SSA, says “We have all had the most challenging year and I think can all agree that business has changed so much. I believe these (sustainability) principles are so important now because they help to give us a framework to build back a secure future for our industry from all the most important aspects: the people who work with us and who visit us, the environment, and the profitability aspect. It is also important because there has been a growing consumer demand to be reassured that their health and wellbeing isn’t coming at the expense of the environment. They have a lot more environmental information at their fingertips which brings about conscious lifestyle choices which consider how they spend their money and leisure time.”

Lucy says gone are the days when business owners only focus on their profits. “We know how important it is to look after each other, to build happy communities at work and we all appreciate the health of our planet more and more. Sustainable businesses measure success on more than just profits. ‘People, Planet and Profit’, The 3 p’s – known as the triple bottom line. This way of measuring your business brings about a healthy and happy culture which has wide spread positive effects All three aspects interact: a healthy planet = healthy people = healthy business.”

On top of their educational tools and resources, SSA members can engage in assessments of their businesses practices to see how their sustainability methods compare, while holding business owners accountable. “We have developed a bespoke members portal where there is access to a self assessment to understand your current business practices and the impact they could be having on the environment.”

Being a UK-based organisation, Beaute Industrie has proudly engaged in partnership with SSA in order to spread awareness and the importance of sustainability, extending throughout our Australian professional industry in order to make a difference, give back to our land and better show up as a business within our own team and company values.

Here at Beaute Industrie, we too take sustainability very seriously. As a globally reaching organisation, we feel it is our responsibility to be socially and environmentally accountable for the impact our work leaves on the people we connect with, and the environment we live in. In order to give back to the land that serves us so generously, we deliver all of our Beaute goods in 100% compostable Hero Packaging parcels that you can pop in your compost, garden or worm farm at home. We have also swapped out standard plastic gift bags for cotton Beaute tote bags, and even created our very own Beaute Industrie eco-friendly coffee cups for all of our 2020 BeauteBrunch attendees to enjoy their tea or coffee from. Not only are they (in our humble opinion) stunning, but are made from natural rice husk fibre and are BPA-free.

It isn’t just about dealing with the waste we already have.

For us, sustainability is also about improving the ecosystem we live in. Through our BEAUTECADEMY and Beaute Therapist online programs, we celebrate the loyalty of our subscribers by purchasing and planting a tree on their behalf, right here in Australia through our partner company One Tree Planted. At your three, six, twelve, eighteen and twenty-four-month milestones, you’ll receive an email to thank you for your subscription, along with a tree-planting donation made in your business name.

One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisational charity who is on a mission to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees – ideal for those who don’t have the time to go out and plant one themselves. To date, they’ve planted over 4,000,000 trees! By doing so, we can have a direct impact on the air we breathe, water we have access to, increase the biodiversity of nature, improve our health benefits and help the climate adapt.

It’s time for us as people to start making proactive changes, throughout our businesses and the lives of those we touch. We need to start making changes – in the way we work, eat, move, live and act, so that we can improve not only the world around us, but to create a better future for those we leave behind.