Reducing Beauty's Carbon Footprint

9 min listen

Our Impact

Intro [00:00:03] Welcome to a fresh take, where we welcome experts from all backgrounds to have mindful conversations around relevant topics, all timed perfectly to your masking experience, sit back, apply your favorite mask and press play.

Moderator: Emily [00:00:33] Hi, I'm Emily from Storytelling here at Fresh. Today on a fresh take, we're going to welcome William Theisen. William is CEO at Eco Act, who works with businesses like Fresh to help them improve their climate and carbon strategies. Welcome to the podcast, William. We're excited to have you here.

Guest: William [00:00:48] Thank you for having me.

Moderator: Emily [00:00:50] Through my research, you have had so many different jobs. You've been in marketing, you've been in sales, you've been in business development. So can you tell us a little bit about how you got started and that?

Guest: William [00:01:01] That is correct. And actually, in a former life, I actually used to work at Sotheby's. What I enjoyed about Sotheby's was that it was the meaning between business and art. So you had all these art specialists and then you had been a business specialists. So it was kind of the meaning of two worlds that it was always really interested in working in. And then I ended up doing my MBA and at HSC Paris and during the MBA program, you have a little bit of time to reflect on where your priorities lie. And I had an experience working with fashion footwear company called Veja during my MBA program. So I worked for them for about three weeks doing consulting and it was really there that I had my AHA moment because Visa has a very socially responsible and environmentally responsible supply chain. And their goal was that they wanted their consumers not to buy their sneakers because they were environmentally responsible, but because the sneakers were cool and they were high quality. So really, I had this moment where I was I was like, wow, this is really integrated into the entire business in a new way of looking at business that you do not have to sacrifice quality for being more ecologically responsible or sustainable. And so that really opened my eyes and got me a lot more interested in sustainability.

Moderator: Emily [00:02:27] I find it, I'm sure, so interesting for you that each company is at a different point and their sustainability goals and ambitions. So so talk to me a little bit about how when you when you go to a company or a company comes to you for your services, how you, you know, gauge where they're at, how you make a plan moving forward.

Guest: William [00:02:49] It's a really good question, because especially within the United States, the spectrum is very large and companies are very different stages. So there's companies that have been doing sustainability for years and then there's other companies that are just starting now. What I say is the most common approach that we have when we first get into working with a company is what we call discovery. And discovery is really understanding the context because, again, every company, even if they're in the same sector, is going to be very different. But and what we're doing is going to be relying a lot on data. So data coming from operations, from invoices, from procurement, from all throughout the company. So we need to understand what kind of data is currently available in order to convert the information that we're getting into a carbon footprint. And so the the first year is really key. So we do a discovery phase if they're really at the beginning. And then we're going to we support them and doing a carbon footprint, looking at data and then seeing how we can set what we call a base here. So what what is their base here that they're looking to set targets from and identify hotspots within their operational footprint? And one could look at a on the company lens or the product patterns and so on the company lens, we're looking at what we call different scopes. And so we're looking at direct emissions. So what's happening within the office buildings? What's under direct control under the company? Then we look at what we call scope two, which is electricity usage. And electricity usage is indirect because we're actually sourcing electricity off the grid. So we're looking at a lot of invoices and the energy mix in the local context of where the company has an operational footprint and attributing a carbon footprint to the scope to. Then it gets really interesting because then we're going off to scope three, which is everything else that is indirect and within a company's value chain. And so that's looking at transport and distribution waste, looking at business travel. This is a lot where procurement comes in and working with different vendors where the company may have influence, but not necessarily direct control, but taking a step back. What we're looking at when we're doing a carbon footprint is really taking all the greenhouse gases. So, you know, methane, hydrofluorocarbons, all the different kind of warming and putting it down to one indicator. So for everybody listening to that, when you see CO2 e, that means tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. So that's basically bringing everything down to a common denominator and bringing it into reporting. So when you see a company has X amount of tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, that's essentially all the gases being put into that common denominator of carbon dioxide and then reporting what their carbon footprint is.

Moderator: Emily [00:06:07] So you told us a lot about companies carbon footprints and how we can measure that as a company. How can companies producing these products like a Rose Facemask, be more aware of what's going into their purchasing and producing habits?

Guest: William [00:06:22] Yeah, so indeed, we talked about the company one, and now there's also product lifecycle assessments as what we refer to the mass in the carbon world. And so looking at a product or service and looking at the entire lifecycle of that product. So how does it come from nature? What are the raw materials going into the product? How is it being transported? How is it being manufactured, processed, stored? And eventually how is it being used by the consumer? And then it's how does it go back into nature? Is it within a landfill or is it being reused and recycled? So those are ways that we look at assessing emissions with a product. And this is a really interesting way for companies to look at high selling products or one of their key product lines to really understand where the emissions are lying within that product lifecycle, where they can innovate and where they can take action. Because those and that links to when we're going back to the company all the way from SCOP one to three, there are kind of two terms that we use in the in a product lifecycle. There's cradle to cradle and cradle to grave. So cradle to cradle is is really looking at when it comes from nature goes through the whole lifecycle and then is recycle and reuse. So you'll see that frequently in sustainability reports. Well you'll also see is cradle to grave, which is when it's going back to nature or going back into a landfill, because that also has an effect on the environment. But recycling does, too, because you need to transform the environment, the product into a new product. So there could be energy usage in that. So it's not just that it's a recycled and therefore it's better. We want to really understand what the energy usage is at each stage of the product lifecycle.

Moderator: Emily [00:08:08] Thank you, William, for being here on the podcast. And we're excited to have you on a fresh take.

Guest: William [00:08:13] Thanks so much for having me.

Outro [00:08:27] Thanks for listening to a fresh take and indulging in some feel good beauty for the skin and mind.

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