On World Earth Day in April 2019, we introduced our 2019 Sustainability Promise, in which we promised to work on becoming a more sustainable company. With various goals and points of improvement mentioned, the promise served as a guiding light throughout the year in our ongoing journey towards a cleaner and greener Gisou. On World Earth Day this year, we’re taking a look back at 2019 and a look forward to the rest of 2020.
RECAP & LOOK AHEAD
FOCUS ON CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING OUR BEE-CENTERED APPROACH IN THE MIRSALEHI BEE GARDEN
At Gisou, the welfare of the Mirsalehi Honey Bees has always come first - with a bee-centered approach to beekeeping and a strict product development policy to only ever take surpluses of honey, if and when appropriate. However, we sought to continue to improve upon our cruelty-free approach to beekeeping in 2019 and moving forward in 2020 as well. For instance, since April last year, we planted new fruit trees in the Mirsalehi Bee Garden to expand the biodiversity and health of our bees. In 2020, the welfare of the Mirsalehi Honey Bees will continue to remain our top priority as the product development cycle will continue to adjust plans as necessary to avoid taking stores of honey the bees need for themselves.
RAISE AWARENESS FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF HONEY BEES
In addition to taking care of our Mirsalehi Honey Bees, our mission is to raise awareness for the importance of honey bees to our ecosystem. In July, we dedicated our pop-up at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées to education about the bees - teaching customers the importance of minding the existence of bees no matter where they live - urban, suburban, or rural. We gave all customers in-store and online bags of mixed flower seeds so they could plant more bee-friendly flowers in their garden or on their terrace or rooftop. In turn, customers had a chance to help us counteract the negative effects of climate change & habitat destruction endangering bees throughout the world by providing their local bees with a source of pollen and nectar. In 2020, starting on World Earth Day, we will include a bag of mixed flower seeds with all online orders until the end of beekeeping season (August 31, 2020) to drive our customers to plant wildflower seeds to increase biodiversity in their local area and thereby help support the livelihood of honey bees.
As urban beekeeping produces healthier bees than beekeeping efforts in rural areas, last year also marked the start of the Gisou Bees Project, a new Gisou initiative in support of local urban beekeepers and urban beekeeping efforts. So far, the initiative has been brought to Paris (where Gael Catron continues to look after our bees) and NYC (where President of the NYC Beekeepers Association, Andrew Cote remains to be the beekeeper in charge), and we’re already finalizing plans to extend the initiative to other cities in 2020.
INCREASE PRODUCTION TRANSPARENCY
Aside from improving the welfare of honey bees, improving the sustainability of product packaging continues to be another high priority, with several adjustments already carried out at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. For instance, in the name of sustainability and production transparency, we switched out all paper packaging, whether that be for shipment or the products themselves, for FSC-certified paper guaranteed to come from sustainable sources only. Upon customers’ request, the Honey Infused Hair Wash & Conditioner, which was previously packaged in plastic doypacks, has since been fitted with more sustainable, FSC-certified outer packaging.
IMPROVE THE SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR PACKAGING
Furthermore, in January of this year, we replaced the Honey Infused Conditioner tube with one made out of sugarcane. Our next product launch will boast packaging made of cellulose fiber instead of plastic. In the upcoming year, we will continue to make sustainability a top priority when it comes to designing and sourcing of product packaging - it’s not a question of whether packaging will be sustainable, but how we optimize design and functionality in light of sustainable packaging materials.
GREEN OUR PRODUCT FORMULATIONS
In terms of product formulations, we launched the new Propolis Infused Polishing Primer in July of last year, which consists only of ingredients that satisfy our new, stricter ingredient protocol. Moving into 2020, we’ve been improving the formulations of some existing products, without compromising on the function they are known for. This year and following, we plan to build on and adhere to our stricter ingredient protocol to create products Gisou customers can feel good about, without sacrificing their efficacy. One of the first changes we’ve carried out is that we’ve replaced Gisou’s signature Honey Infused fragrance, found in all of our Honey Infused products, for a nearly identical 100% natural variant. In the upcoming year, we are working on finding a 100% natural replacement for the Propolis Infused fragrance as well.
ENGAGE OUR AUDIENCE TO MAKE SUSTAINABLE IMPROVEMENTS WITH US
To try to engage and include our audience on our sustainability journey, we gave our customers from NYC the opportunity to ‘reduce, reuse & refill’ their empty Gisou product bottles at our NYC pop-up store, Gisou’s Take Out & Refill last September. Nearly half of all customers that visited took the opportunity to refill the Gisou product they already owned. Additionally, we made sure that all design elements to make the pop-up come to life were made of sustainable materials, from biodegradable cups and straws to 100% recycled paper shopping bags. Our previously mentioned seed initiative is just another way we try to promote sustainable efforts on the part of our audience as well.
Although we take pride in the sustainability developments we have made in 2019 and so far in 2020, we’re not planning to stop anytime soon. We know we’re not perfect and we’re the first to admit that we have a way to go, but we promise we’re continuing to make it a priority for the future to come and to update you along the way.