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Lush went to one of the world’s biggest tech conferences. Here’s what happened:

You might think bath bombs have no place in the tech world. But you’d be wrong. Just like Lush ethically sources ingredients, and treats employees right, it believes in ethical tech that gives back to the community. This means fighting for supply chain transparency, digital innovation, and telling the tech stories that need to be told. That’s why Lush CDO, Jack Constantine, is encouraging others to join him and hundreds of others in the fight for #TechForGood at The Next Web 2018. 

If you’re wondering how a cosmetics retailer got so involved with the technosphere, you’re not alone. But when you look at words like open source and conflict free - the key principles behind Lush’s digital ethics policy - it begins to make sense. With tech an ever-increasing presence in our everyday lives, it’s only natural that a company dedicated to giving more than it takes investigated where the till systems, laptops, smartphones, search engines and any number of pieces of software and hardware, came from. And what it discovered didn’t sit well.

Unable to sit and wait for someone else to create a solution, Jack Constantine rallied together a team to investigate, research, plan and create, tech that Lush could trust - functional tech that is good for users and creators; tech that can handle the requirements of an international business, but can also be adapted and shared by the wider community; tech that can help people to do their jobs, live their lives, and overcome barriers. And it’s on this journey that Lush collided with the #TechForGood movement - a global community dedicated to creating, well, tech for good.

So that’s why Jack is at TNW to learn, share, collaborate and find solutions to the tech problems of today. Here’s what he had to say:

“Lush has strong ethical principles and we run our business using them. But the digital landscape is constantly evolving, and that really pushed me to think about what principles we need to have in our digital business to make sure we feel confident ethically in the same way.”

So to do that, Lush established three ruling digital principles: open source, ethical hardware and ethical data. Jack explains:

“We’re very keen on community based products and community work, and that’s translates into the digital landscape as well. Just like we join forces with activists against fox hunting in the UK, we also need to be in communities that are looking at free software, looking at how we make things and give things back together. Open source is a huge component and the openness we have around software and free software, and the mentality that goes alongside that, is critical Lush. ”

“In the same way, we care a lot about our supply chain when it comes to the ingredients in products, and we need to care about the components in our hardware too. These phones we use don’t drop from space, they come from Earth and they are valuable resources. We need to be more aware of that.

“Then there’s data. Thankfully there’s a nice new policy called GDPR that’s really going to help protect people, but it’s always been the way we work at Lush - we care about our customers and our staff and their data - what is happening to it, what we’re doing with it. It’s a relationship of trust and you can’t abuse trust.”

So what’s next? While that sounds a lot, Jack’s ambition continues to grow. Increasingly part of the #TechForGood movement, Jack hopes to encourage more people to join in making ethical tech that has a truly positive impact a reality:

“Digital is widespread and huge, and to make a difference you have to get your hands dirty, get in there, understand what’s going on, and stop telling yourself someone else will sort it out. They won’t.

“If you know you’re doing something that isn’t important or isn’t necessary, or doesn’t have a positive impact on the planet, then don’t do it, don’t buy it, don’t sell it.  That’s your moral compass right? Don’t come to work and you leave your moral compass at home. Bring it to work, think about the approach you’re having and make sure you navigate everything you’re doing with that sense of ethics, otherwise we’re not going to have a great planet to live on.”

Want to learn more about Lush’s place in the tech world? Head to the TechForGood Hub to discover everything from Digital Ethics Campaigns to on the ground reports from E Waste sites and open internet campaigners.

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1 Comment

about 8 months ago

Great to hear LUSH really cares about more than just beauty products. Keep up the good work! I'm female and aged 65. I am so glad so many young people are caring about our world. It gives me a good feeling about the future.