Updated March 2021
It’s no secret that our world is increasingly feeling the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere reached record levels in 2020, hitting 417 parts per million in May. The last time CO2 levels exceeded 400 parts per million was around four million years ago.
Since first selling our products on a market stall back in 2004, we’ve always believed that our skin benefits most from natural, nourishing ingredients. Our formulations are powered by some of the most effective botanicals in the world, which are also susceptible to the consequences of climate change.
We believe that businesses have a responsibility to be a force for good in everything they do, beyond profits and turnover. With an Infinite Purpose to help create a healthier, greener, more empowered world, we aim to do business differently. No company is perfect, but we believe in progression and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to meet the highest standards possible. We hope to inspire and drive change through example.
This report highlights the initiatives we are championing in order to have as positive an impact as possible on our planet and its people.
For four years running, we’ve been a certified CarbonNeutral® company. What’s more, we’re incredibly proud to be leading the way in the industry by double-offsetting our emissions, meaning we remove twice the amount of greenhouse gases that we emit.
Since becoming a CarbonNeutral® certified company, we've offset the equivalent of over 4,000 football pitches worth of forest growing for an entire year.
We fund sustainable projects in order to counteract the greenhouse gases we emit through our essential business activities.
Many of our hero ingredients are sustainably sourced from Brazil, so we know just how abundant and diverse this region is. We believe it is vitally important to protect this lush habitat, which is why we invest in the Acre Amazonian Rainforest Conservation project in South America, an initiative that aims to protect biodiverse habitats by preventing deforestation across 105,000 hectares of pristine forest.
Currently, 90% of Brazil’s Acre state is forest, but if the current rate of destruction continues, this could decline to 65% by 2030 - that would mean losing a whole lot of trees.
This project helps to reverse this trend, hiring agronomists to teach communities about more sustainable forms of agriculture. Through granting land tenure and providing agricultural training to local communities, more trees are kept standing, which draws out carbon from the atmosphere and helps protect the area’s rich biodiversity. This project not only aids the immediate area, but preserving these forests also benefits the whole planet too.
Through this initiative, we’ve supported conservation work in the Amazonian rainforest which delivers on 15 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (such as Goal 14, Life Below Water). The project reduces deforestation rates, meaning nutrient absorption, flood management and drinking water supply are all positively impacted for vital tributaries that feed into the Amazon river.
We also started supporting The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in 2019, which works with local communities to protect 65,000 hectares of forests in Indonesia from the threat of unsustainable palm oil conversion.
Unsustainable palm oil production causes many ecological problems for our planet, but one you may be more familiar with is the destruction it causes to habitat for endangered species such as orangutans. The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve partners with the Orangutan Foundation International to rescue orangutans orphaned by deforestation, rehabilitating them so they can return back to the wild. This project also addresses 13 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals( such as Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth). By increasing crop productivity from planting native species, growing other profitable crops such as fruit and rubber trees, and using the community-run agroforest initiative, the 14 villages in the project area now have an alternative source of income to unsustainable palm oil.
A key part of sustainability lies in education. The project also focuses on increasing environmental awareness among children and adults in the area, which includes education about reducing hunting activities, forest fires and the protection of important bird populations.
Personal care and beauty products account for one third of all household landfill waste. This figure just didn’t sit right with us and it motivated us to ensure we took a different approach. So, after years of research and development, we launched our next-generation makeup range.
The concept for our award-winning Colour Palette was born from our desire to bring a sustainable solution to the market that would generate far less landfill waste. Unlike its contemporaries, which might be thrown away once the customer has gone through their favourite shade, the Colour Palette can be refilled by simply replacing the product pans once empty. The product pans are made of aluminium, which is infinitely recyclable. In fact, the process of recycling aluminium saves around 95% of the energy needed to make the metal new from raw materials and it can be repeated infinitely without any loss of quality. Every time a customer refills their palette with award-winning eyeshadows, blushers and bronzers, they’re making a sustainable choice.
To date, the Colour Palette has stopped over 10 tonnes of plastic waste from being generated, compared to our previous makeup range.
REFILLS AND EMPTY PRODUCT RETURNS
We now offer a refill option for all of our serums and oils, encouraging customers to retain their pipettes and purchase refill options when it’s time to reorder their favourite skincare treat. Both the aluminium cap and glass bottle are widely recycled. In 2020, we stopped over 300kg of plastic waste from being generated thanks to this initiative.
We offer refill pouches for our Hand Wash and Bath Foam, as well as refillable lipstick cartridges. Additionally, our Mineral Foundation and Setting Powder can be refilled with our innovative compostable pouches.
Our empty products return initiative ensures that products, such as our Body Smooth, Illuma, Lip Glazes, Fixing Gel Mascara and Extension Fibres, whose packaging cannot yet be widely recycled by local councils can be given a new lease of life through our recycling partners. We incentivise customers to support this initiative by offering a free product for every five empty products of that type sent back.
All product empties that we accept through our return initiative are recycled, with no components going to waste.
Even though the majority of our sun care packaging is widely recyclable in household recycling streams, we introduced a new returns scheme for our entire sun care range. This is to encourage customers to take their empty sun care products home with them when they’re out and about or at the beach.
At our state-of-the-art Tropic HQ, Staff wellbeing and a vision for an eco-powered workplace were at the heart of the building’s design, which includes the following features:
- All the energy used on site is from 100% renewable resources.
- All the taps in our bathrooms have aerators, minimising water consumed and saving as much as up to 50% compared to traditional taps.
- All toilets have dual flush functionality, further minimising water waste.
While these features may seem minor, we’ve estimated that dual flushing alone saves over half a million litres of water a year. Small steps lead to big change.
In 2020, we launched our cycle initiative, where employees can borrow and use Tropic bicycles to cycle to and from our HQ completely free of charge, further minimising our carbon footprint.
Our production team uses reusable lab shoes, lab coats, hair covers and hats to minimise plastic waste. Where the use of disposable plastic is unavoidable for compliance and hygiene reasons, we send these items to be recycled through our use of Zero Waste Boxes from TerraCycle.
VEGAN FOOD AT EVENTS
Our primary goal when hosting Ambassadors, customers or industry figures at any event is to offer everyone there as much choice as possible.
We work with trusted companies to ensure that all food provided at events that are organised and run exclusively by Tropic is plant-based, while also catering to attendees’ dietary requirements. This includes Glambassador events, training days, Ambassador shoots, press events and events based at Tropic HQ.
All your Tropic paper wraps are now printed on Carbon Captured paper and are part of the Woodland Trust’s Woodland Carbon scheme.
This means products many of our best sellers are helping to plant trees in the whole of the UK while protecting and restoring ancient woodland with the Woodland Trust.
We’ll be rolling out this logo on your Tropic wraps later in the year.
With thousands of deliveries leaving Tropic HQ on a weekly basis, it’s imperative that our packaging aligns with our eco-conscious ethos. As such, all elements of Tropic parcels are completely compostable or recyclable.
We’ve substituted traditional plastic tape with gummed paper that contains vegetable glue. It’s not only 100% recyclable and compostable, but also more effectively safeguards products as the packaging is more secure and tamper-proof. We’re phasing out bubblewrap wherever possible and instead using paper fill, and 100% compostable air bags made from potato and corn starch.
LANDFILL AND WASTE POLICY
We are completely landfill-free. We are now independently verified by Valpak, a leading provider of environmental compliance for further transparency. In 2020, we recycled 122 tonnes which equated to 65% of all our waste. Anything we can’t recycle is repurposed into an alternative fuel (that replaces fossil fuels) to power homes and businesses. All the energy used to recycle and turn our waste into alternative fuel is, like all aspects of our operations, double carbon offset.
RSPO CERTIFIED PALM OIL DERIVATIVES
We do not purchase or use palm oil in any of our products. However, trace amounts of palm derivatives (by-products from refining palm oil) are used to stabilise the active ingredients in a select number of our products. We are proud to use only sustainable palm derivatives, working with suppliers who share our belief in sustainable cultivation and production, and we only work with suppliers who can prove they’re RSPO certified.
As a certified CarbonNeutral® company, we support the Rimba Raya Biodiversity project to curb, halt and reverse unsustainable palm oil production and preserve areas of biodiversity, and are constantly researching how our formulations can be made more sustainable, without impacting the efficacy of our products.
Microplastics and liquid polymers
We’ve always been free from microbeads. Something that we’re incredibly proud of. We also do not use any polymers with a non-water soluble nature. Anything that is proven to be a hazard to the environment that contributes to the accumulation of microplastics we will never use.
We only use water soluble polymers that have been proven to be biodegradable. As with all our ingredients, we are always up-to-date with the latest in peer reviewed science from respected environment research groups, and implement any changes if needed.
We source from over 30 countries and territories around the world. It’s vital that all our suppliers adhere to key sustainability initiatives so that all our ingredients are responsibly sourced. What's more, we’ve partnered with suppliers whose ingredients give back to the community.
Some examples include the kalahari melon seed. This is an ingredient we use in our Eye Dream that complies with a business framework called the triple bottom line. This means that the production of kalahari melon seed oil has positive ecological, economical and social impacts on our planet, something we’re very proud to support. It’s one of the most sustainable cosmetic oils on the market and has a direct positive impact on communities living in South Africa who are suffering the adverse effects of climate change.
Another example is the kahai nut that we use in our Skin Shade which is sourced from Columbia. By choosing sustainable suppliers to work with, we’re helping to plant kahai trees in over 12,000 acres in areas previously deforested. These trees also greatly improve soil quality from their shedding leaves and help to protect the area from potential flooding.
It can be challenging to source specific ingredients directly from nature, on account of it being too expensive, environmentally unsustainable (e.g. cutting down an entire plant for one isolated extract) or simply impossible due to the extract only being found in extremely small quantities. Nature identical extracts are an effective solution to this problem. They are lab-made replicas of ingredients that exist in nature that possess exactly the same properties. Compared side by side, there is no difference in their chemical structure, hence the name “nature identical”. Using nature identical ingredients allows us to bring our customers the most nutritious, freshly made products at a lower price, all while being eco-conscious.
ENVIRONMENTAL GOALS FOR 2021
We achieved lots in 2020 but we’re not resting on our laurels. Here’s what we’ve got planned for 2021.
- Have at least one COSMOS ORGANIC certified product - helping to maximise our green credentials by guaranteeing our products are produced to the highest feasible sustainability practices. We will also be starting processes to ensure more of our products can receive this certification in 2022.
- Launch a new environment partnership focusing on a greener UK.
- Our magazine and guides come from sustainably sourced forests - for 2021 we’d like to be even more transparent and have them certified by an independent body.
- Be landfill free for a third year.
CLOSING COMMENTS FROM OUR FOUNDER, SUSIE MA
When we first started Tropic, we often talked about the #GreenBeautyRevolution, promoting how greener beauty was best for our health and wellbeing. Now with our Infinite Purpose firmly established, our green credentials extend far beyond just our ingredients, by ensuring we take every possible action to preserve this planet that has given us so much.
Our choices can change the world, and being a part of our Tropic journey means being part of our Infinite Purpose, directly helping to create a healthier, greener, more empowered world.