Spring is in full bloom, and today we celebrate natural glories with Earth Day. Do you plan any promotions around Earth Day? What are your green practices at your salon?
Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, the brainchild of then Wisconsin senator, Gaylord Nelson. This was a time in the United States when huge cars, big industry and rampant pollution were commonplace. Yet Nelson and his team of 85 people were able to inspire 20 million people to participate in that first Earth Day, and show their support and shared concern for the concept of sustainable practices. The event has grown ever since, into a globally supported cause recognized in over 150 countries.
Today, 40-plus years later, the message of conservation and sustainability is unescapable in daily life. It can also be a confusing topic, as more and more companies jump on the “green” bandwagon as a marketing strategy. What makes a product or company green, anyway? The definitions of words like green, natural, and organic can be sorely misused in marketing efforts, especially when it comes to personal care products. Food sold as organic has to be 95% so to be eligible for the USDA Certified Organic label, but the same is not true of shampoo or skincare.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic label is intended to be applied to food, or to agricultural products. The agency does not control or legislate the use of the term in a product that does not contain agricultural ingredients, so makers of personal care products can use the term without fear of penalty from either the USDA or the FDA. When you do see the term used on a personal care product, it is referring to an ingredient, not the formulated product. So you may have an item such as a shampoo that contains organic lavender oil displaying the “organic” mark on the label, but that oil comprises a very tiny portion of the finished product, which is full of non-organic ingredients.
This is one small example in a large and complicated subject, but this topic is one that owners and operators of beauty businesses should be well versed in. Consumers today are very aware and want to “do the right thing.” You and your staff need to be able to correctly answer any questions that are raised. Very few businesses would qualify as being completely green, but make sure to highlight your salon practices that qualify, and be sure that all of your staff members are aware. Examples could include:
• Using glasses and ceramic cups in the salon, rather than disposable products
• Purchasing and using green cleaning products where feasible
• Buying and serving fair-trade certified teas and coffees
• Purchasing carbon credits or participating in efforts to green your community
• Utilizing cloud-based and paperless software such as Booker
• Rewarding staff members who carpool or take public transportation to work
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