Exclusive interview with Aveda’s Global Brand President Barbara De Laere on Aveda becoming vegan, and the mission to be the world’s most ethical and sustainable beauty brand.
Barbara De Laere, Global Brand President Aveda, is on a mission and it’s one that’s good for you, your body and the planet – that is if you use Aveda products. Twelve months on since the brand became 100% vegan, Barbara says that going vegan is not the only way they measure success, but rather the company takes into account everything it does fulfils their mission to be the world’s most ethical and sustainable beauty brand. Here she explains how technology helps play a vital role in doing this without compromising the product.
“Not only are Aveda products responsibly sourced, cruelty free and 100% vegan, but the bottles are 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and recyclable,” says Barbara De Laere, Global Brand President Aveda at the Estée Lauder Companies. “All of these decisions have to be made with a lot of detail and with Aveda’s mission in mind.”
Integrity is also extremely important to the Aveda brand, as Barbara says, you can’t just call your product vegan without ensuring every step of the production process lives up to that reputation. Barbara says: “You want to dot your ‘I’s’ and cross your ’t’s’…when we say we’re vegan, we have to be vegan, not only in our factory, but even the way the ingredient has been sourced along the way … the way the ingredient has been refined and extracted, needs to be done in a vegan way. We went up the value chain from the supplier to to their supplier to their supplier, to make sure that none of the processes they were using were using animal products.”
Aveda has also been a game changer with their block chain technology, ensuring their products are sustainably and ethically sourced, starting with the farmers. “In the beauty industry, we have done the largest blockchain pilots for tracing one of our ingredients, vanilla, back to the farmer,” says Barbara.
“Logging every single step this ingredient goes through to make sure that the quality is perfect, to make sure that the people who touch or provide ingredients along the way are treated well and paid fairly and all of that information gets logged on an independent ledger…and then locked and loaded and it cannot be changed. So if anyone in the future has a problem with one of our ingredients, specifically our vanilla, we can go back and check what happened to it.”
But while this painstaking process of ensuring every ingredient is ethically sourced and sustainable using blockchain may have started with vanilla, it is now being expanded. “What we’re doing now is looking at other ingredients,” explains Barbara.
At a consumer-level, Aveda is also pushing boundaries using AR technology to help customers choose before they buy, specifically with their hair colour products. As Barbara says, Aveda is the first to develop this type of experience for hair products, which requires much more advanced technology, and has been a big achievement for the Aveda brand. “Hair is such a specific feature that the technology picking up where your hair starts, where your hair ends, when you move your head and it follows you; is a different level of complexity. So the hair colour triumph for us is quite an accomplishment, it is something that is never done.”
When it comes to technology, Barbara says the Aveda brand is always evolving at a fast pace. “We are already hungry for what is the next generation, and the next generation,” she adds.
Aveda’s approach to technology is part of their mission to achieve the best results for their customers without compromising on ethics. “At Aveda, we’re a brand of ‘ands’, not of ‘ors’ which means you don’t have to compromise, you can get high performance AND vegan AND plant-powered AND sustainable AND a mission of care. You don’t have to choose.”
“We are committed to providing solutions to people that are good for the three homes that you have. And the three homes that you have in your life, in this blessing that we have in being able to live here, is the body that you live in, the people that you love, your family, your friends and the planet that you live on. Using the philosophy of Aveda, the products of Aveda, visiting the network of Aveda, that’s our mission, provide those solutions for your three homes.
To learn more about Aveda’s sustainability initiatives, visit: