Ben HaywardJuly 29th
2019

Cosmetics company Lush has become the first company to introduce ‘carbon-positive’ packaging for its products.  

And how are they achieving this? Well, the company has begun buying biodegradable cork pots for its products! The pots aren’t just sustainable and regenerative, they also require that more trees be planted in order for the bark to be harvested for the pots, reports Environmental Leader.

But it doesn’t even end there - in order to cut the carbon emissions generated from transporting the pots, Lush is working with logistics company New Dawn Traders, to have them transported via sailing ships, receiving its first shipment of 6,000 pots earlier this month.

As well as being biodegradable, cork – made from the inner layer of bark from the cork oak tree – is anti-bacterial, fire-retardant, and water-resistant. It’s harvested by stripping the bark off the trees in a rotating system that doesn’t harm them. After harvesting, the cork grows back over nine years until it’s ready to be harvested again.

Lush has said it will buy half a million cork pots for its products over the next year, and to make sure it’s purchasing from forests in a sustainable manner, the company says it is buying at a premium in order to cover the cost of restoration and regeneration.

Although shipping cargo via sailboat is certainly a good fit for companies looking to improve their sustainability, it’s not the simplest in terms of logistics.

The trip from Portugal - where the cork products are made - to the UK would is much slower than by road or large cargo ship and so the company has to build in the extra time a shipment takes. 

Most commercial ports don’t accept sailing ships, others simply don’t don’t have the infrastructure to support them and space on the boats is limited, making delivery more expensive.

New Dawn Traders - the company Lush are working with - are hoping to solve some of these problems by launching the Sail Cargo Alliance, a growing community interested in the ethical shipping of ethical cargo.

Other haulage companies are in the process of redesigning what a sailing ship could be. 

France-based Neoline is working on ships that are 136 meters long and can transport 500 cars, with Renault hoping to be one of the first companies to use the ships on trans-Atlantic journeys in the hope of achieving zero-emissions shipping on an industrial level.

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