Good Housekeeping Raise the Green Bar Summit: Gigi Ganatra Duff
Earlier this month, Good Housekeeping hosted their annual Raise the Green Bar Summit, where they aim to help consumers, companies and industries create more sustainable products and practices. Our vice president of corporate affairs and public relations, Gigi Ganatra Duff, participated in a panel to discuss the importance of sustainable products and practices within the beauty and retail industry. See highlights from the panel discussion below.
What are the key environmental issues that your company is addressing?
In 2019, we took a step back and reassessed our goals—we did a full materiality assessment with hundreds of internal and external stakeholders to understand what our footprint is, where can we do better and assess the areas we would have the greatest impact. When we looked at developing corporate social responsibility strategy, we focused on three areas—human rights, corporate philanthropy and environmental sustainability. Within environmental sustainability specifically, we're tackling areas like climate change, environmental impacts of services and products and circularity.
In 2020, we launched BEAUTYCYCLE, which is a program that recycles beauty products. Our goal is to take back 100 tons of beauty packaging to be recycled by 2025. One thing that is great about the program is that customers can bring any beauty products to be recycled.
What's the role of the consumer in achieving environmental goals?
Our customers are vocal about what is important to them. They share their stories with us, and it's amazing because we learn so much by listening to our customers, which is how we launched our Sustainable Style product category. There's a lot of excitement and energy around sustainability and our customers want to find those products more easily. Sustainable Style is a collection of products that are made from materials and ingredients with smaller environmental footprints, made in factories with higher social and environmental standards, or packaged more responsibly. We've seen an increase in searches for these products on the site, which is exciting. So, our customers help drive and inform our decisions.
We recently added beauty to Sustainable Style. We're going to continue to grow this category and have set a goal of having 15% of all products qualify as sustainable products by 2025. We really want to tell the stories of those brands and bring that to the forefront. We're also focused on supporting our merchant teams to learn more about sustainable brands—understanding how to seek out those brands that are moving the needle within the sustainable category and understand what makes things sustainable.
How are you addressing sustainability?
We're thinking about sustainability broader than just environmental—it has to be part of our whole equation. One of the goals we set is making sure that our supply chain and our factory partners are being paid a living wage. We have set partnership guidelines to create transparency while holding our partners accountable. We know that so many employees are women, and our company is made up of mostly women, which is why we looked internally and at our supply chain to work towards pay equity. In 2019, we announced that we were at 100% pay equity. Sustainability is about addressing living wages, supporting our supply chain and the communities we serve.
What innovations are you seeing on the horizon when it comes to sustainability and beauty—what are you most excited about?
From a retail perspective, our responsibility is to really help get the industry on the same page. As a retailer, one of the things that we're trying to do through our partnerships and other organizations that we are supporting is to get on the same page—whether that's about sustainable packaging and other important aspects to consider, we want to bring our collective powers together and add value. So, we really look to our partners, support them and connect the dots to make a direct impact in the industry.
Any word of advice for anyone starting out on their sustainability journey?
It's got to be in your DNA—if you're giving something out to the world, you've got to understand the impact that it has. It's about integrating the idea and philosophy around sustainability for the environment, people and products. It's so important to have that at the very beginning and center to who you are. It's difficult to go back into something that's already organized and laid out and say, how can we change this? It's so much easier to just have it start from the beginning. Our approach was integrated across the whole company. We want to be at the center of excellence with our supply chain, our merchants and our operations and be part of that conversation around sustainability from the beginning.