Raymond Cloosterman on Rituals’ ‘Clean, Conscious and Caring’ roadmap
For over 20 years, Rituals has been committed to caring for the wellbeing of both people and planet. This year, the brand achieved B Corp certification, an accolade given only to the most ethically and environmentally sustainable companies in the world. Rituals Founder and CEO Raymond Cloosterman reflects on the importance of this achievement, he discusses how Rituals is progressing its ambitious CSR roadmap and shares his insights on how the channel can become a greener, more holistic one. By Hannah Tan-Gillies.
“Receiving B Corp certification means a lot to me, both on a personal level and on a brand level,” says Raymond Cloosterman, Founder & CEO of wellbeing brand Rituals. “I’m very proud to say that Rituals is one of the first beauty brands to become B Corp certified and it reflects our ongoing commitment over the past years. This certification proves that while offering luxury beauty products and developing the most innovative initiatives, we can still look after our planet and our employees.
“Besides a certification, B Corp is also a community of like-minded businesses that all want to be a force for good. The B Corp certification is therefore very important to Rituals. It acknowledges the work we’ve done so far under the Clean, Conscious and Caring pillars, but also offers a framework for future improvements on our way to sustainable wellbeing.”
Rituals has made significant progress on its sustainability roadmap as part of its journey. Cloosterman says, “We started our journey by doing a pre-assessment which helped us to better understand and identify the B Corp certification requirements, our baseline performance and potential improvements.
“Next, we got all the involved departments together to define the next steps and appoint topic owners. It often turned out that certain things had already been completed but not yet formalised, or that there were already specific plans in place. The B Corp certification process has enabled us to internally go through all layers of the organisation and to rally around a common sustainability cause and vision and set ourselves far reaching ambitions.”
“I think it is important that travellers are offered sustainable choices across their entire travel experience – from shopping and dining at the airport to on the plane and at the hotel”
Rituals Founder and CEO Raymond Cloosterman
Since starting the B Corp process, Rituals did a lifecycle assessment on the formulas and packaging of all its products via the Clean & Conscious Tool. 70% of all Rituals products now contain more than 90% natural-origin ingredients. The brand has also expanded its refill offer to include its body cream, hand wash, fragrance sticks, car perfumes and skincare products and shifted most of its PET packaging to recycled plastics. In addition, 95% of all Rituals products are produced in Europe with responsible suppliers and all its owned stores run on green electricity. Most recently, Rituals has pledged to plant five million trees in 2022 as part of its ‘Buy One Refill, Plant One Tree’ project. Looking beyond B Corp, the wellbeing company has pledged to transition its entire product range to 90% natural-origin ingredients by 2023 and shift all its packaging to 100% recyclable/refillable or made with recycled materials by 2025. This, according to Cloosterman, is the biggest challenge yet. He says, “Managing the paradox of creating luxury products while being conscious of the planet too, has always been part of our journey. The hardest thing for a business like us, is that the beauty industry is highly competitive and is traditionally single use. At Rituals, we always want our products to be as beautiful as possible, but at the same time, low on materials and recyclable. To achieve this, it takes a lot of hard work and brainpower to think of sustainable solutions without losing our brand identity and luxury quality.
“The development of our refill collection has proven that affordable luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand. With all the different shapes and sizes of our products, this is an ongoing journey and we look forward to joining forces with like-minded companies so we can move the needle together and develop a circular system.”
The B Corp certification marks a new milestone in the Rituals journey, says Raymond Cloosterman
While B Corp is a major milestone for Rituals, sustainability has always been at the heart of the brand and its ‘Art of Soulful Living’ philosophy. Looking back at the values when he started Rituals in 2001, Cloosterman says: “Since the company was founded 20 years ago, we have been on a mission to support the wellbeing of our customers. Helping people slow down and rediscover happiness in the smallest of things, is at the core of our vision and is reflected in all our products. “In our sustainability report, we provide clear insight into all the measures that we have taken and have been taking over the past 20 years. Not only to reduce our environmental footprint, but at the same time, to ensure we leave a fingerprint of wellbeing wherever we go.”
For Cloosterman, wellbeing, self-care and caring for the planet go hand in hand. In his view, we cannot grow our own personal wellbeing without caring for the planet and vice versa. “Sustainability and wellbeing are very closely aligned, as sustainability is not only important for the planet, but also for every person,” he says. “This is why we are just as serious about the environmental wellbeing as we are about the personal wellbeing of our customers. By offering meditation sessions, yoga classes and by making our products accessible in an easy way, we educate our community and connect with them through our app and online magazine.” “Within our ‘Art of Soulful Living’ philosophy, we believe that the ultimate wellbeing is found in the balance of body, mind and soul,” he adds. “We realised early on that if we wanted to become a leading wellbeing brand in the beauty industry, then we should take a more holistic approach towards wellbeing. “So, we don’t just concentrate on what we have to offer to our customers, but also on how we run our business as a whole: from how we treat our employees to our supply chain and the communities around us. I think the B Corp certification really fits in with that.”
“Sustainability and wellbeing are very closely aligned, as sustainability is not only important for the planet, but also for every person”
Internally, Rituals is making corporate-wide changes to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation. At management level, the balance between male and female employees is currently at 60/40, but Cloosterman has set out to redress the imbalance and take it towards a 50/50 ratio. “Rituals’ success is rooted in the celebration of different cultures and showing the beauty of the world,” he says. “Therefore, we are true believers of the power of human diversity. We aim to make a meaningful contribution to society through our different outward societal initiatives. “We focus on recruiting and building diverse workforces and we train our employees and leaders in unconscious biases. We organise and attend events with a diversity of networks and we are visible as an organisation that embraces the diversity of humanity. “Our Diversity & Inclusion philosophy is focused on the harmonisation of and fuelling of international growth by nurturing the personal growth of our people. This is embedded throughout our people’s journey, our brand and our products. We believe that the D&I journey we are on is an important one, and together with our dedicated group of internal D&I ambassadors, we are learning day by day to take the rights steps.
Travel retail’s sustainable evolution has been well-publicised, with brands, retailers and airports all taking steps to minimise the industry’s carbon footprint. “Given travel retail’s reliance on the aviation industry, the channel naturally has an increased responsibility to champion sustainability and environmental credentials, ” Cloosterman says. “The first step is to introduce more sustainable retail concepts and assortments in the channel. If consumers are looking to be more conscious global citizens, then it’s the industry’s job to support them in creating a more positive impact. “I think it is important that travellers are offered sustainable choices across their entire travel experience – from shopping and dining at the airport to on the plane and at the hotel. We are eager to help consumers make more informed and sustainable choices in-store and recently partnered with Heinemann to showcase our Clean & Conscious campaign at 25 airports. “The B Corp certification is an important milestone as travellers are actively seeking brands with proven sustainability credentials,” Cloosterman adds. “So, it’s vital for the long-term viability of travel retail that we continue to push the sustainability agenda forward. ”
“Our vision is to ensure that luxury, sustainability and social responsibility go hand in hand and receiving B Corp certification is proving that this is possible”
Rituals Founder and CEO Raymond Cloosterman
Reuse and recycle: Product refills are becoming a key feature of the beauty business today
In addition to promoting more sustainable brands and circular economy practices, Cloosterman says that the industry has much to gain by leveraging the growing popularity of wellness tourism. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) forecasts the average annual growth rate of wellness tourism at +20.9% from 2020-2025, outpacing the trajectory of every other sector in the wellness economy. “There are great opportunities in wellness tourism for travel retail,” he explains. “For instance, introducing dedicated wellbeing retail concepts – be it standalone stores or areas within main duty free stores – in airports is a good place to start. Another opportunity would be a wider rollout of airport spas, such as the Rituals spa at Schiphol Airport. These spa concepts help travellers relax before they board their flights with treatments and products that help promote wellbeing throughout the traveller journey. “Going a step further, the industry could look at implementing dedicated wellbeing lounges at major airport hubs,” he adds. “Using insights from our Mind Spa (the world’s first) at our flagship House of Rituals store, we think there are great opportunities in this space for travel retail. The Mind Spa offers a broad range of the world’s most effective, science-based techniques for mental stress relief and relaxation by combining the wisdom of ancient meditation with the power of science.”
According to Cloosterman, wellness tourism extends far beyond the airport environment and has the ability to engage with customers at every point in their journey. He says, “Hotels, the final touchpoint in the traveller’s journey, also represent an opportunity to enrich the wellbeing experience. Whether people travel for business or leisure, we help guests slow down, find a moment of peace and a place of comfort with our luxury range of hotel amenities that enrich the entire guest journey. Our products make guests feel at home anywhere in the world, from the lobby to their room, with signature fragrances created by the world’s best perfumers.” A big challenge for brands ‘walking the walk’ on sustainability is balancing profit and purpose. For Cloosterman, the Rituals ‘Clean, Conscious and Caring’ business approach shows what can be done.
Cloosterman says, “Our vision is to ensure that luxury, sustainability and social responsibility go hand in hand and receiving B Corp certification is proof that this is possible. Our Clean, Conscious & Caring programme taps into all the aspects of good and sustainable products and practices, serving our consumers whilst supporting a more sustainable world. Of course, this journey is an ongoing evolution. Rituals has made big steps already, but we realise there is a lot of work still to be done.” Under its philosophy, ‘Clean’ is all about trusted quality products that are carefully formulated with ingredients of natural origin. ‘Conscious’ is about sustainable packaging and operations and ‘Caring’ is about supporting and developing programmes that contribute to soulful societies. One example of this is Rituals’ ‘Super Chill’ app that empowers schoolchildren with mindfulness and wellness techniques. Rituals has also been supporting the Tiny Miracles Foundation since 2011. “We want two million children to be able to ‘super-chill’ by 2028,” Cloosterman explains. “Our work with the Tiny Miracles Foundation aims to help find a scalable solution to end poverty and inspire others to do the same. Rituals and Tiny Miracles developed a special ‘Goodie Bag’ that can be purchased via Rituals. Every bag sold helps to provide women in Mumbai with a decent income. “These three C’s, together with making beautiful products — that is my life. Every day is an adventure, and I am far from finished.”
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