Ethique is Raising the Bar - what does that mean?
Raising the Bar represents our purpose, so I wanted to delve a little deeper into why we’ve come up with and started to use it.
Raising the Bar. It’s our new guiding statement and I hope by now you’ve seen it, perhaps on our first ever TV commercial! The literal meaning immediately connects to what we do – we’re working to elevate the quality, status, and popularity of bar products. But it has a much bigger meaning for us. Raising the Bar represents our purpose, so I wanted to delve a little deeper into why we’ve come up with and started to use it.
It feels like hundreds of years ago now, but back in 2013, I was still learning how social media worked for business. Trying to build an audience, I ran a poll on Facebook. There may be some of you around who remember this… The poll asked which slogan people preferred, with both ‘Give up the Bottle’ and ‘Raising the bar’ present, (‘behind bars since ages ago’ was too, but don’t ask me to remember any of the others).
It was a close race, but #giveupthebottle won. Just. And that’s been the hashtag we’ve used – on packaging, on social media, in our messaging. And it made sense. We were leading the conversation about the problem with plastic in the beauty industry, the first to talk about (and offer) a genuine solution to single-use plastic bottles for a variety of personal care products.
#giveupthebottle has seen our Ethique community prevent more than 20 million plastic bottles from going to landfill or our oceans. So far. We’re on track to displace more than half a billion by 2030. But that’s just part of our purpose. Back in 2013 and today.
I’m proud to say that our Ethique world community has influenced the cosmetics industry. A decade ago, bars weren’t just rare. They were practically non-existent. Now, there’s a multitude of brands offering bars – either as their sole offering or in addition their bottled products – which is an enormous win for the environment. The added competition? Doesn’t bother me in the slightest. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve always had masses of competition. We’re competing with liquid shampoo brands! Moving people from bottles to bars is the goal. Not from bar brand to bar brand – that objective isn’t going to help our planet.
“We’re competing with liquid shampoo brands! Moving people from bottles to bars is the goal. Not from bar brand to bar brand – that objective isn’t going to help our planet.”
Ethique has helped consumers realise that bars are better. For people, for the planet, and they’re not sacrificing efficacy. And that’s encouraged brands to explore the format – they see that bars are a viable category.
So, we’ve championed people giving up the bottle. But we’ve never forgotten that that’s only a small part of our purpose. We’re raising the bar. In 2013 and today. But what do I mean by this?
If I’m frank, there is something that has disappointed me amidst the rise of bars over the last several years. And that’s the opportunity to do better that’s been missed. By and large, companies have created a couple of solid products, popped them in a box (sometimes not even a home-compostable one) and called it a day. Very few brands have embraced other values that are essential to changing our world. Like fairly traded ingredients, actually reducing their carbon footprint (offsetting it alone doesn’t target the cause), or palm oil free ingredients.
The single biggest way businesses could change the world for the better is to clean up their supply chains. Most are opaque and many contain child or forced labour, and human trafficking, let alone poor wages, and severely inadequate (if not dangerous) working conditions. Direct trade initiatives are critical to address this. That’s paying communities and producers a fair (well above market) price for their product, proven to create economic empowerment. To watch brands still fail to grasp that (or feign ignorance) is enormously disheartening. Even just starting to explore this would be a step in the right direction.
But that is just one of the things we want to encourage beauty brands to do – and business in general. From supply chain to carbon emissions, product packaging, to charitable giving, business done right can change the world.
Ethique is raising the bar for the beauty industry. Proving that it’s possible to operate as ethically and fairly as possible, whilst still being profitable and fast-growing. Something I was repeatedly told was impossible in the early days.
Our goal is to educate and excite consumers to demand better of brands. To show and inspire companies that this is the better way to do business. Not only is it better for people and planet, but it’s also better for business too. Brands with a social or environmental purpose are shown to be more profitable and engender more loyalty of both customers and their teams (and Deloitte said this, not me).
Raising the Bar means two things; continuing to champion solid format products (and branch out into new innovations like our concentrates), but the bigger piece is encouraging other brands to start stepping up alongside us, to change the world.