Douglas GmbH: DOUGLAS commits to a more sustainable beauty industry – clean beauty, diversity and climate protection as top priorities
DGAP-News: Douglas GmbH
/ Key word(s): Sustainability
ESG Report 2021
Düsseldorf, 8 June 2022. DOUGLAS aims to become a driving force for greater sustainability in the beauty industry. In its assortment and especially in its premium beauty products, Europe's leading provider is increasingly focusing on clean beauty and natural cosmetics. As such, the range of sustainable cosmetic and beauty products is to be significantly increased in close cooperation with manufacturers and suppliers. DOUGLAS is also striving to become climate-neutral in its own business operations by the end of 2025. In terms of diversity and gender equality, the Düsseldorf-based company is already a leader: more than half of the Group's management positions are already held by women.
"As Europe's leading provider of premium beauty, we are aware of our great ecological and social responsibility," said Tina Müller, DOUGLAS Group CEO. "At the same time, the expectations of our customers have grown significantly: Sustainability considerations are among the key purchasing criteria, alongside quality and price. Therefore, our ambition is to be a leading player in the beauty industry in terms of sustainability. Sustainable thinking and action must be among the top priorities, both in our own activities and in our cooperation with suppliers and business partners."
The comprehensive sustainability report [https://corporate.douglas.de/esg-report/?lang=en] now published by DOUGLAS focuses on four areas of action:
People, Products, Planet and Governance, within which the following key topics have been prioritized:
- Customer satisfaction and shopping experience
- Diversity, equality and inclusion
- Employee engagement
- Sustainable assortment, especially for own brands
- Reduction of CO2 emissions
- Resource efficiency
- ESG commitment of the management
In line with these topics, DOUGLAS has formulated mandatory, qualitative and quantitative goals as well as intentions for the coming years. "We will measure ourselves against our plans and promises and communicate progress continuously and transparently," said Tina Müller. "Together with our employees, customers and business partners, we want to anchor sustainability as an integral element in every area of our business. This starts with raising awareness, continues through changes in attitude and behavior, and evolves into specific measures and projects, ultimately resulting in tangible and powerful results."
Among other things, DOUGLAS has set itself the goal of reducing CO2e emissions in its own business operations ("Scope 1 and 2") by at least half by the end of 2025 compared to the base year of 2019. In order to become climate neutral, DOUGLAS will close the gap in 2025 and compensate unavoidable emissions using certified standards. In addition, Europe's market leader in the beauty sector intends to boost its efficient use of materials. In order to conserve valuable resources, DOUGLAS is looking at various ways to increase the share of recycled materials while reducing the amount of waste generated within the company. Simultaneously, the company intends to establish a waste system that is broken down by material and type of disposal, thus allowing consumers to see where glass, paper and other recyclable materials end up.
A comparatively positive development can already be observed in the e-commerce return rates: the volume of returns has already fallen by around a third between 2019 and 2021 to 4.4% of the shipments delivered. All returns in Germany that cannot be resold but are suitable for donation are given to charitable organizations such as "Die Tafel Düsseldorf e. V." and "Bürgerstiftung".
In the area of Products, DOUGLAS already identifies clean beauty products throughout its assortment with a dedicated label. In the case of its own brands, DOUGLAS has set itself the clear goal of becoming a pioneer in sustainability, as the company has a direct influence on the development and manufacturing of the products in this area. Numerous advances have already been made at DOUGLAS Brands:
- almost 100% of the new DOUGLAS Brands products launched since 2020 are free of microplastics
- more than 40% of the products launched in the 2021/22 fiscal year fall into the clean beauty category
- 93% of the products launched since 2020/21 financial year are vegan
- 63% of the new DOUGLAS Brands products launched in the financial year 2021/22 will be FSC-compliant
- more than 50% of all new DOUGLAS Brands products will be using recycled material by 2030
- 85% of DOUGLAS Brands are already produced in the EU
"We are proud of these key figures. At the same time, we are determined to keep up the fast pace when it comes to improving the environmental performance of our own brands," said Susanne Cornelius, DOUGLAS Brands CEO. "This applies to every aspect of the product: manufacturing, ingredients, packaging materials, disposal. We can only truly speak of sustainability if we take a holistic view and approach. This includes DOUGLAS Brands partnering with Plastic Bank." The organization builds ethical recycling ecosystems in vulnerable coastal communities. The collectors receive bonuses for the plastic they collect, which help them meet their families' basic needs, such as food or school fees." As part of the cooperation, a contribution will be made to Plastic Bank for each item sold from the DOUGLAS "Home Spa" and "Essential" private labels.
DOUGLAS is not only focusing on greater sustainability of its own brands but also on its cooperation with business partners. "We already expect and demand a corresponding attitude from our suppliers and we incorporate this into all discussions," explained Tina Müller. "In addition, we expressly welcome the recent efforts of various manufacturers to determine the ecological footprint at the product level and to make it transparent for customers. This will be a giant step forward in the beauty industry’s efforts to promote sustainable consumption more effectively."
In the People sector, DOUGLAS is already a leader on several parameters. Diversity, tolerance and mutual respect are practiced core values of the Group’s corporate culture; its Purpose is based on a togetherness in which all people "feel seen, heard and valued." The internal motto is: "We open all eyes to the beauty of uniqueness, bring it to life and make life itself more beautiful." Tina Müller adds: "We do not discriminate between skin color, origin, sexual orientation or personal pronouns. DOUGLAS sees itself as a democratic and inclusive brand that stands for an open and diverse society. As an employer, DOUGLAS practices equal treatment, tolerance and equal opportunities at all levels of the workforce."
For example, DOUGLAS was the first company to receive full BeyondGenderAgenda (BGA) certification. More than half of the management positions are already occupied by women. Employee satisfaction is of paramount importance to DOUGLAS, which is why the company is preparing an employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) for the entire organization in 2022. At the same time, great importance is attached to training: a dual study program is offered at the company headquarters, giving high school graduates the opportunity to combine a 3.5-year bachelor's degree with a practical component in various areas. To ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, comprehensive analysis systems have been implemented, such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for transactions.
As part of Governance, the management has committed to the ambitious sustainability strategy, which will be reinforced from fiscal year 2022/23 onwards by linking components of management compensation to progress in sustainability. With regard to compliance, anti-corruption, transparency and data protection, DOUGLAS has also introduced mechanisms, systems and processes to ensure fairness and legal compliance. The DOUGLAS Code of Conduct, for example, sets out commitments to responsible business practices for all employees and business partners.
DOUGLAS is Europe’s leading platform for premium beauty. Offering almost 200,000 beauty, health and lifestyle products in online shops, the partner program and around 2,000 stores, DOUGLAS inspires customers to live their own kind of beauty by offering a previously unparalleled assortment. The further development of our successful omnichannel positioning is at the heart of our #FORWARDBEAUTY.DigitalFirst strategy, under which we are consistently expanding both our strong e-commerce and store experience. In fiscal year 2020/21, DOUGLAS generated sales of 3.1 billion euros in the areas of perfumery, decorative cosmetics, skin and hair care as well as nutritional supplements, health and accessories.
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