Cosmetic company Lush says it is the first company to have developed “carbon-positive” packaging. The biodegradable cork pots the company will begin buying for its products are not only sustainable and regenerative, but also require that trees be planted in order for the bark to be harvested for the pots. Furthermore, to reduce carbon emissions from transporting the pots, Lush is working with New Dawn Traders, experimenting with having them delivered via sailboat; earlier this month, the company received its first shipment of 6,000 pots in this manner, reports The Telegraph.
In addition to being biodegradable, cork – made from the inner layer of bark from the cork oak tree – is anti-bacterial, fire-retardant, and water-resistant. Cork is harvested by stripping the bark off the trees in a rotating system that does not harm the trees. Cork grows back over the course of nine years when it is ready to be harvested again, a process which encourages natural wildlife to flourish, according to Lush.
This cork pot is part of an upcoming, exclusive “swag range” of shampoo products, the company says.
Lush says it will buy half a million cork pots for its products over the next year; in order to ensure that it is purchasing from forests in a sustainable manner, the company says it is buying at a premium in order to cover the cost of restoration and regeneration.
Logistics of Sailing Ships
Though shipping cargo via sailboat can be a good fit with Lush’s ethics and commitment to sustainability, making the logistics work is not a simple process. The trip from Portugal, where the cork products are made, to Lush’s headquarters in southeastern England would be much faster via truck, so the company has to build in the extra time a shipment takes via sailing ship. Some ports have stopped accepting sailing ships, and suppliers are not always near one of the ports that does accept them.
Additionally, traditional ships are more expensive than delivery via trucks, there are not many transport companies offering sailing ships as an option, and space on traditional sailing ships is limited, according to Fast Company.
New Dawn Traders is one company hoping to solve some of these problems by advancing the idea of “cargo under sail.” The company launched the Sail Cargo Alliance, a growing community interested in the ethical shipping of ethical cargo.
Other companies are working on redesigning what a sailing ship could be, Fast Company says. France-based Neoline is working on ships that are 136 meters long and that can transport 500 cars. Renault plans to be one of the first companies to use the ships on trans-Atlantic journeys, hoping to achieve zero-emissions shipping on an industrial level, the automaker says.
Today, the vast majority of products that are delivered globally travel on cargo ships, generating about 3% of global emissions.