At Afrocenchix sustainability is core to all we do. We registered the company after winning a prize for Ethical & Sustainable Business Innovation from the University of Birmingham, so ESG (environmental, social and governance) considerations are a key part of our foundation.
Today sustainability has become a buzzword, as a customer it’s good to ask what brands mean when they say they’re ethical and sustainable. For us it’s a journey and transparency is key. We welcome feedback on our efforts so far and our path ahead.
Afrocenchix exists so everyone can access safe, effective, responsibly made products and scientifically sound guidance they can trust. In delivering on our mission, we have commitments around our environmental footprint, our social impact and our company governance.
We believe it’s our responsibility to minimise our impact on the environment, and strive for a net positive effect. In keeping with this we use glass bottles and recycled/recyclable plastics where possible. We also ensure our postal packaging is compostable, down to the packing peanuts. We’re researching avocado-based plastics and looking into hygienic ways to manage refills.
We’ve recently released larger pack sizes of Swish & Swirl for hotels, salons & zero waste stores.
What goes into the bottle is important too. Every day harsh surfactants and silicones go down our drains and are flushed away into bodies of water where they damage aquatic life. We don’t use microplastics, endocrine disruptors or SLS. We only use the highest possible quality naturally derived raw materials and we choose fairtrade and organic materials wherever possible. We develop all our formulations with the COSMOS-standard in mind so that our customers can trust Afrocenchix products.
For the last year, we’ve focused on anti-human trafficking/modern day slavery policies in our supply chain. We began work with independent consultants ( Triple Bottom Line and Maple Cone Environmental and Social Impact Narratives) to support us in our investigations and we sent surveys through to our smaller suppliers as part of a wider supply chain audit. It’s one of our OKRs to have proper control over our ethical end to end supply chain, this means that all partners need to have the same high humanitarian standards that we do.
Fairtrade is important to us as we want to support growers, small farmers and the communities that they help to sustain. We don’t mind reducing our profits to pay others properly, in fact we think it’s essential. Putting the needs of our customers, producers and employees first is a core value we've build Afrocenchix on and it's an area we aim to grow in.
We support initiatives such as Fairtrade certification and other schemes demanding decent working conditions and fair pay for workers.
We choose organic, Fairtrade shea butter because it promotes efficient means of production to reduce waste and unnecessary labour, it ensures basic working conditions and it means every supplier is fairly paid. Another thing we love about Fairtrade is that schools, hospitals and training facilities are built with the Fairtrade premium, as voted for by the farmers and workers, so that the whole community benefits.
Closer to home, we pay our team a living wage and we have a clear mental health policy, as well as a wellness policy in our employee handbook. We’re reviewing our team benefit packages to offer even more.
We support some beauty banks and charities with free products and samples, but we could do more.
Transparency and openness in communication is essential. This applies to everything, from clear communication with stakeholders on board composition & shareholder rights to our communications with our customers and community. Establishing a board of directors has been the first step towards stronger governance. All directors are jointly responsible for our strategy, tax, executive remuneration, shareholders’ voting possibilities and internal control. In the long run, we’d like to become a B Corp. Sharing our position when it comes to ESG is a step towards our ethical future.
We believe profitability and sustainability aren't mutually exclusive. We’re immensely grateful to our customers, investors and other stakeholders who help us prove this important truth.