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Our Better Beauty Benchmark

12 June, 2021 5 min read

This is our benchmark for better beauty. Download it, share it, and encourage others to use it. These are the main things we think all brands in the cosmetics space should be doing.
  1. Clean ingredients
  2. Better packaging
  3. Our planet
  4. Superior product performance
  5. Traceability & supply chain transparency
  6. Supplier standards
  7. Vegan & cruelty free
  8. Giving back

Clean ingredients

Did you know that there are 1,400 banned cosmetic ingredients in the EU, 600 in Canada, and only 30 in the US? This is why all Kester Black products are made in Europe, the global epicentre for ethical cosmetic manufacturing. Cleaning up our ingredients is the first step in tidying up cosmetics for good.

All Kester Black products are vegan and cruelty free certified by The Vegan Society and Choose Cruelty Free International, respectively. Our ingredients comply with current European Cosmetic Safety legislation and our formulations are regularly reviewed as new information becomes available.

All of our ingredient suppliers undergo third-party audits to maintain our high standards and ensure ethical practices throughout the supply chain (ie no child labour or exploitation of any kind towards our workers).

We’re transparent when it comes to declaring our ingredients by listing them on our product packaging and on our website, including fragrances —an uncommon practice in the beauty industry. We avoid raw materials that are considered to be harmful for their intended applications. And we avoid all debatable ingredients, until their safety is verified through reputable sources backed by concrete evidence.

The ingredients we exclude from our products have been deemed unsafe, unethical, or straight-up toxic; having been linked to health or environmental issues.

Better packaging

Kester Black believes businesses are ultimately responsible for the ethical production and disposal of the products and packaging they create. With toxicity and leachability top of mind, this consideration extends beyond our formulations to the life cycle of our packaging.

So we’re focused on making packaging that’s home-compostable, refillable or recyclable in your kerbside recycling program, and won’t contaminate the environment in its degradation. Due to the complex nature of recycling programs in each region, we don’t have a perfect solution for everyone just yet. However, our motto is progress over perfection; not letting complex systems get in the way of our work towards a more circular model for all new product categories.

To support this goal, we’ve set ourselves a framework where all new products must be recycled, recyclable, home-compostable or refillable.

Our planet

According to many scholars and notable news sources, ‘the Earth is currently experiencing an extinction crisis largely due to the exploitation of the planet by people’. With population levels rising and resources diminishing, humans need to foster a more symbiotic relationship with our planet.

This is why we’re a certified B Corp, operating according to the highest ethical, social and environmental business standards globally. It is also why our company runs on 100% renewable energy and is carbon negative, accredited by The Carbon Reduction Institute (NoCo2).

We’ve taken a good, mum-look at our business emissions reducing and removing them wherever possible. For any stubborn emissions that couldn’t be quashed or politely asked to leave - there are carbon offsets. As a business, we constantly review our emissions and offset more carbon than we emit to become an entirely carbon negative business. Carbon negative means we offset more tonnes of greenhouse gases than we are responsible for emitting. Confusingly, this behaviour is also marketed as ‘carbon positive’, or ‘climate positive’ by a whole heap of brands.

Superior product performance

When it comes to our formulations, we take a product-first approach and never settle for anything less than high-performance results. Working with our manufacturers, we’ve managed to achieve this without compromising on our vegan and cruelty-free values. And with 4,500+ reviews and an average rating of 4.8/5 stars, our customers agree. All of our products undergo rigorous testing for stability, microbial issues and trace contaminants, whilst also adhering to our ingredient exclusion list.

Traceability & supply chain transparency

We are dedicated to understanding how manufacturing and producing the ingredients we use regularly affects our communities and our environment. We take ownership of our decisions, and won’t turn a blind eye to the choices made within our supply chain. We’ve divided our suppliers into stages, identified by their role within the supply chain, with a goal to achieve full traceability by 2023.

  • STAGE 1 - PRIMARY CONTRACTORS
  • STAGE 2 - SECONDARY CONTRACTORS
  • STAGE 3 - RAW MATERIAL SUPPLIERS

We currently have full traceability from all of our Stage 1 and 3 suppliers for product manufacturing. We can see where and when every single ingredient and packaging component was manufactured and by who. We have also conducted in-person inspections of all of our Stage 1 suppliers.

All of our manufacturers are Sedex members who undergo third-party SMETA auditing, with 3 out of 4 of our current product manufacturers receiving EcoVadis sustainability medals for excellence in environmental manufacturing practises.

Supplier Standards

At Kester Black, we make cosmetics differently. We source high quality ingredients and manufacture to EU regulations in accordance with our ethical, social and environmental principles. Therefore, we expect all of our business partners to conduct their business with the same values and respect for our company. We have developed our Code of Conduct to clarify the minimum standards expected of business partners who are, directly and indirectly, part of the supply chain of our products. It requires our supplier partners to uphold these standards of compliance in their operations, and outlines best practises to make sure our communities and our environment are protected.

Vegan & cruelty free

Kester Black believes in a better world for all living beings, that’s why our entire range is vegan and cruelty free. Unlike 96% of other beauty products, nothing we make exploits animals in any way. We’re verified free of all animal products, testing and GMOs, and free from animal testing at every stage of product development. Kester Black is proud to be certified (and externally audited) by the Vegan Society and Cruelty Free International.

Giving back

By supporting charities and organisations and giving back to the community in which we live and work is an important part of our journey. We’ve been fortunate to work with a number of local and global charities to support causes that are important to us. As a certified B Corp, we’re committed to regularly donating a minimum equivalent of 2% of revenue (in cash or in-kind donations) to charitable partners each year. Over the last 4-years, these contributions have exceeded our 2% of revenue commitment, reaching up to 15% in some years. This has supported some of the following partners: Greening Australia, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Women’s Community Shelters, Every little Bit Helps, Foodbank Bushfire Recovery, CARE.

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