Sustainable Business Plan
A principal based approach to business
As an online retailer, we are transparent in everything we do so our customers can confidently shop with us knowing that our ethical principles guide us and our every decision. As a responsible business, we enact the same values and principles wherever we have a presence, and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. We want to do business responsibly and then pursue opportunities to solve environmental and societal challenges through business innovation and collaboration.
A Sustainable Business Plan/ModelAs our planet faces massive economic, social and environmental challenges the UN has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) to define global priorities and aspirations for 2030 and encourages all businesses to align their strategy and ensure sustainability is at the core of their business strategy.
The Kind Store was created with sustainability at it’s core but we think it’s important we have a way to record, monitor and continue to improve so we have set out our own Sustainable Business Plan with the UN SDG’s as our overarching framework to shape, steer, communicate and report our strategy, goals and activities.
See more about the 17 SDG’s here.
Our way of business may only be a drop in the ocean to contributing to global sustainable development but at least our drop is clean.
Supplier Code of ConductOur supplier code of conduct was created for the purpose of ensuring that the suppliers we work with have put into place safe working conditions, their employees are treated with respect, their production processes are responsible and environmentally friendly and their products are cruelty-free.
We also expect all of our suppliers to fully comply with applicable laws and to adhere to internationally recognised environmental, social and corporate governance standards. We also expect our suppliers to use their best efforts to implement these standards with their own suppliers and subcontractors.
Social WelfarePeople - Human Rights
Sustainable Development Goal: No poverty, zero hunger, quality education, reduced inequalities, gender equality and decent work.
- Labor practice and standards: Our code of conduct includes safeguards against child labour, non-discrimination, health and safety, working conditions, working hours, compensation, right to association, diversity and inclusivity and freely chosen employment.
- Fairtrade enable producers to improve their livelihoods and communities with concern for social, economic and the environmental wellbeing of marginalised small producers. As a business we are guided by the 10 Principles Of Fair Trade which we have used along with the UN’s SDG’s to create our sustainable business plan. We seek to create opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers and stock a selection of products from marginalised groups and/or certified Fair Trade. We have sourced cosmetics, chocolate, coffee and tea which are all certified by FairTrade International.
- We seek to source products from marginalised groups which also give back to their communities, such as the ‘pad for pad’ programme by EcoFemme.
- Toxins in cosmetics - See more about the 10 toxic ingredients we avoid in our cosmetic products and encourage our customers to do so too. This is not an exhaustive list. We do not stock cosmetic products that contain Aluminium Compounds, SLS/SLES, Parabens, Synthetic Colours, Synthetic Fragrances, Nano spf ingredients, Phtalates, Propylene Glycol, Triclosan or Formaldehyde.
- As the norm, all of our products are 100% natural. We do not stock products with synthetic ingredients however we may in isolated instances stock products that contain plant derived ingredients which have been extracted in a laboratory. Any product we stock which is not 100% natural is clearly labelled in the product description. We stock these items at our own discretion if 100% natural alternatives are not yet available and where we have identified there is a need for the product due to it’s vegan, cruelty-free, environmental or packaging credentials, or it being the most sustainable option currently available despite not being 100% natural.
- Organic - Considering the greenwashing in the cosmetics industry relating to natural and organic beauty products, we prioritise products with organic certifications however realise that many of our smaller makers cannot afford the certification process. A large number of our cosmetic products are organic but not formally certified.
- Toxins in cleaning products - Our cleaning ranges is free from toxic ingredients including petrochemicals, phosphates, SLS, parabens, PERC, 2-Butoxyethanol, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrances and dyes.
Environmental PolicyResponsible Consumption & Reduction, Clean Water, Clean Energy, Climate Action, Pollution and Toxins, Habitats & Resources.
- Palm Oil - We only stock products containing certified sustainable palm oil (RSPO certified supply chain) if it is required in the formulation and actively look to source palm oil free products. We also do not stock products containing microbes (lab-grown synthetic palm oil).
- Cotton - We only stock 100% organic cotton, either GOTS certified, Soil Association or other accredited organic cotton for new or virgin cotton. Please note however some of our smaller makers cannot afford the certification of their finished product, yet use GOTS (or other) certified cotton in the manufacture.
- Upcycled/pre-loved/surplus materials - Some of our suppliers work with upcycled materials which are not organic or sustainably sourced and we use our discretion when listing these products as they do not require the production of a new virgin material. These business have to demonstrate they are not sourcing virgin textiles and are rescuing materials that would otherwise go to landfill or a recycling facility.
- Clothing - We require clothing brands to confirm they are certified by the Fair Wear Foundation, Fair Wear, or other, to demonstrate upholding labour ethics of the supply chain and workers rights. This means we do not stock garments that have been manufactured in certain countries including Middle Eastern Producers, West Africa, India, Bangladesh, China, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan
- We do not sell clothing made from synthetic fabrics (<10% of product’s content i.e. socks).
- Other fabrics - We also source products (or may in the future) with materials made from Oeko-Tex certified cotton or Tencel which is FSC or PEFC certified.
- Timber - Our timber policy covers all timber and timber-derived products stocked at The Kind Store (this does not include bamboo by definition). For our vendors who manufacture and produce wooden goods and products there is a strong inclination towards both fairtrade, and often upcycled or recycled wood/paper. We seek to confirm that all of our timber products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and follow guidance from the WWF’s Global Forest and Trade Network. We do not stock timber products produced from illegal timber or sourced from unknown sources and do not use tropical hardwoods. This means that we can ensure our timber reduces and mitigates environmental and social challenges relating to pollution, protection for vulnerable species, preventing habitat loss, and climate change. Our timber must come from forests which meet essential principles: to comply with all national & international legislation relating to the trade in forest products; conserve biological diversity; avoid the use of hazardous pesticides; and are not in areas of armed conflict or civil unrest where there is a direct relationship between the forest products trade and the funding of such conflicts.
- Organic - We prioritise organic products certified by COSMOS ideally or other certified body (Soil Association, Ecocert etc.) however not all of our small makers can afford the certification process despite their product containing over 95% processed agricultural organic ingredients which is the benchmark to obtain COSMOS certification. It is important to note that only agricultural ingredients can be deemed organic therefore wild harvested or water for example cannot be deemed organic as they are not farmed.
- Sustainable farming practices - We do not just rely on certifications. We work closely and talk to our suppliers to understand their sustainable practices. Our policy is that whenever possible, we will source organic and/or fair trade certified, but quality and sustainability will come first as we are committed to offering the best products from the most trusted suppliers covering a multitude of ethical principles.
- Clean energy - Our HQ is powered by 100% renewable energy (electricity) supplied by Bulb and we support many businesses that also operate in the same manner.
- Water-free - We are actively sourcing a larger range of water-free products to prevent the unnecessary transportation and associated carbon emissions of water. Producing water free products also negates the need for preservatives and since 700 million people across 43 countries today are suffering from water scarcity , it is a key area of concern for us at The Kind Store.
- DIY - We are actively increasing our range of DIY beauty and cleaning products for customers to make at home. This is a positive step for the environment since ingredients can be purchased in bulk, resulting in less packaging and waste. All of of DIY beauty and cleaning ranges are pure 100% natural ingredients too.
- Trees - A number of our suppliers plant a tree for each product order.
As an SME, we cannot afford an independent company to undertake an environmental report and verify The Kind Store, however, our trash transparency report contains various commitments and targets to reduce our waste to reach our ultimate goal of becoming a zero waste business.
We are also undertaking our own self-assessment of our carbon emissions via The Climate Hub where we will be able to calculate the carbon emissions we create as a company. Our target is to become a zero emission business [date tbc when we have understood our impact and the options available to do so]. In the meantime, we will offset our emissions.
We keep air transport and freight to a minimum.
- 95% of our customers are based in the UK with only 5% of our customers living in Europe to reduce transport emissions by air travel by our business.
- We do not ship internationally to reduce the carbon emissions created by our business.
- We actively source brands and products based in the UK. This is currently at 85%.
- Some of our UK brands have their entire products produced overseas. We prioritise those that have their product shipped by sea rather than air freight.
- We currently stock only three international brands that are based overseas who send their products direct to us by air freight as we cannot find a suitable sustainable alternative closer to home. (We stock c. 100 brands in total).
- A handful of other brands are international however they have UK distribution hubs resulting in less transport to the UK as large amounts of stock are held in the UK centrally.
- Our parcels are posted to our customers via Royal Mail. We are looking for a carbon-neutral supplier however the costs are currently prohibitive.
Since we are an online retail store, we cannot get away from packaging completely but take all steps to reduce packaging during transport, whilst ensuring our products get to our customers safely, in perfect condition and the packaging includes all of the relevant safety, care and use information as lawfully required.
- We post our parcels in plastic free packaging consisting of up cycled newspaper, re-used stuffing and boxes from suppliers, ‘new’ recycled cardboard boxes and paper envelopes, waste paper from UK paper mills, re-used compostable starch chips from suppliers and paper packaging tape. All of our packaging is therefore compostable at home or easily recycled kerbside, however we encourage our customers to re-use our packaging first.
- We re-use as much as possible packaging material from our suppliers for our customers parcels.
- We demand our suppliers send their wholesale deliveries to us plastic free and many also re-use packaging material from their own supply chain.
- We do not include invoices in our packages to customers to save paper.
- Our ‘thank you’ cards are made from either recycled paper or coffee cups.
- You can see more about our packaging in our detailed trash transparency report here.
- We actively source products that are predominantly packaged in glass/metal instead of plastic, or cardboard/paper or completely package-free.
- We actively look for products that have refill options that lower the packaging waste even further such as refill options or supplied naked.
- We have invested in a Terracycle Zero Waste Packaging Suppliers box for any rogue plastic or other waste we are sent that cannot be usually recycled.
- Circular packaging - We are currently looking into partnering with a circular and reusable packaging company for customers orders however the cost is currently prohibitive.
- Compostable - All of our packaging waste is home compostable including sticky labels. We also stock a number of beauty products packaged in paper tubs and tubes which is completely home compostable.
- Bio-plastics - We avoid using bio-plastics as a general rule however where products require packaging due to hygiene, a limited number of our brands used home compostable plant based plastic under Vincotte certification programme ‘OK Compost Home’.
We encourage our suppliers to improve their practices where we identify gaps and opportunities, such as eliminating plastic packaging, reducing packaging altogether or introducing refill options etc.
The more our customers support us, the more power we have to demand change up the supply chain. By demonstrating to larger brands and corporations that our customers support us doing the right thing, it will hopefully persuade them to look into their practices and value the planet over profit like us.
Animal Welfare PolicyThe Kind Store is a vegan owned and operated business. We promote and support veganism, animal rights, cruelty-free cosmetics and do not stock any products containing animal derived ingredients. We also prioritise 100% vegan brands.
- All of our products are free from animal origins including, but not limited to: leather, fur, wool, merino wool, down, angora, honey, beeswax, silk, shellac, ivory, etc… This applies to both our cosmetic products but also our home products such as cleaning brushes and candles.
- We prioritise vegan brands, however we do have a small number of brands that also create products from animal derived ingredients such as beeswax but we will only ever stock their vegan friendly items and actively encourage them to transition to a fully vegan product range.
- Since all of our products are free from animal-derived ingredients, The Kind Store does not support factory farming.
- We and all of our suppliers do not support, commission, take part or support animal testing. Many campaign against animal testing and donate to animal-welfare charities.
- None of our makers of cosmetics sell their products in China or any other country where animal testing is mandatory finished cosmetic products that are entering the market.
- We actively source products that carry the Humane Cosmetics Standard Leaping Bunny badge however the certification cost is out of reach to a number of our smaller suppliers.
- We also actively source brands and products that have been certified by a third party, such as The Vegan Society or PETA.
- We are currently requesting our suppliers provide us with their fixed-cut off date to their animal testing policy (because most ingredients have, at some stage in history, been tested on animals). This date will be prior to 2013 when the EU animal testing regulations for cosmetics came into force and means that the brand cannot buy ingredients that have been tested on animals since the cut off date they choose in the past.
We actively promote a vegan lifestyle, share vegan news and animal welfare charities etc on our social media platforms too.
Ethics, Transparency and Company EthosOur Suppliers Code of Conduct ensures business have established anti-corruption measures, adhere to fair business practices in winning business, employees, and in managing partner relationships (e.g. ‘upstream’ in the supply chain).
Transparency - At the Kind Store, we are transparent in everything we so. We have our Trash Transparency published on our website and a #transparencytuesday feature on our social media.
We donate 10% of our profits to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Essex, regularly donate products for raffles and have arranged a volunteer day at the sanctuary.
We are looking into becoming a formally certified Living Wage Employer and Fair Tax company since we already are informally. We are also looking to become a 1% for the Planet member.
Our ethos - We encourage customers to buy less but buy better and shop small, independent and handmade. We believe that in order for the most people to shop sustainably, the products also need to perform equally, if not better and also look good, which is why we try and test every product.