When doing less can equal more!
We are in unchartered territory, a time of huge uncertainty and all of us are worried about the health of our friends and family and then there is that small matter of homeworking and home-schooling to deal with!
At times of crisis, our natural reaction can be to throw ourselves at the issues, to panic, to work harder and challenge everyone to move faster to try and continue with some degree of business as usual….the traditional “carry on regardless” attitude some of us were brought up on. But, is there a better approach? One that can use these challenging times as an opportunity to do things differently so when we emerge from the crisis we can help define and shape the ”new normal”.
So, how about we all slow down and use the time now to reflect and help us to make better decisions for the longer term that can embrace the spirit of kindness and togetherness we are all seeing in our local communities?
I had the chance back in February to present at Spring Fair in Birmingham and I used my session to talk about my role at The Body Shop (with a focus on sustainable innovation) , to highlight some of our sustainable initiatives and to talk about where we as a business want to be in 10 years’ time. Businesses have a key role in helping to shape the world we want to live in, one that respects nature and society and one that can challenge the current linear, business as usual approach. So, what can we do?
Looking more specifically at a topic like products and packaging, we do need to adopt a less is more approach, By this I mean focusing on products that have a purpose (as opposed to creating a product and then justifying a need for it) and by designing packaging that has minimal environmental impact whilst maximising the performance of the product. For many years we have effectively de-valued packaging by making it lighter, by making it cheaper and the result has been to encourage a throw away culture. This needs to change and now is the time to embrace the concept of reuse, to develop products and packaging that enable consumers to re-use and refill in the most convenient environment for them; be it at home, in store or online. Where possible we need to encourage consumers to re-use their own packaging and buy products in a quantity that suits them not ones that suit us.
At The Body Shop we have a proud heritage of offering product refills and we were delighted to offer refills again at our trial in one of our stores in London last year. The good news is that we will expand this programme just as soon as we can once our stores re-open, and we are looking to expand our offering through other channels, models and new experiences.
I would love to connect with anyone on this to share experiences and ways we can work together in the “new normal” world.
Remember, we are stronger together.
Sustainable Design and Innovation Manager
The Body Shop
About the Author
Simon plays a leading role in reinvigorating a culture of informed risk taking and adventures within packaging, design, experiences and new systems thinking at The Body Shop.
Simon is an experienced sustainability professional who has developed and managed a number of key projects, products and campaigns during his 16 years working at The Body Shop. Simon is a practitioner member of IEMA, a University of Brighton Green Growth Board member and most recently a Diplomatic Rebel fellow.
You can contact Simon via LinkedIn if you would like to talk to him about the points in his guest blog