THE 2020-2021 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
No one would deny that 2020 was a year filled to the brim with change. Essential workers joined the frontline (and we applauded them from a six-foot distance), get-togethers went digital, the fight for racial justice became stronger, and ‘maskne’ was added to everyone’s vocabulary.
Yes, 2020 was a challenging year. But all adversities have their silver linings, their highlights, the times where we can look back and say at least we accomplished that. Team Versed is grateful to have had many of those moments. We celebrated our first full year of business, launched 10 new products, and donated $55k to organizations we believe in, including the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the BeautyUnited Mentee Grant Program. Racing against the planet’s rapidly warming temperature, we also made strides in an area near and dear to us: Sustainability.
As we approach our third year of business, here’s a recap of the sustainability and environmental action progress we made last year and our goals for 2021.
In 2020, we announced our Climate Action Plan (Reduce. Rebalance. Repeat.) and reached net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since launch. Through more energy-efficient transportation methods and increased domestic production, we reduced our per unit emissions by 25%. We offset (or rebalanced) the emissions we couldn’t reduce by purchasing 2,600 tonnes of UN-certified carbon credits, supporting 6 MW Solar Power Project by Arhyama Solar Power and the San Antonio El Sitio Wind Power Project.
While we have already reached net-zero emissions, this year we’re making it official with Climate Neutral Certified, a third-party non-profit which validates our emissions, reductions, and offsets across all three scopes of emissions. But remember: Don’t call us carbon neutral. Our priority is first to reduce all forms of GHG emissions (not just carbon), then offset what remains.
In 2021, we will reduce our per unit GHG emissions by 10%. Again, a big chunk of this reduction comes from the transportation bucket. We’ll continue to seek energy-efficient methods and prioritize domestic production. By the end of the year, 50% of our items will be domestically produced.
Since the start, we’ve focused on reducing our waste footprint by skipping excess packaging, manufacturing with recyclable plastic wherever possible, and educating our community on how to recycle their products. In 2020, we took it a step further. We made more of our outer packaging sustainable and recyclable--eliminating those non-recyclable plastic pouches, at your urging. We worked with our retail partners to reduce our use of polybags (used to protect the products during transport) four times over, moving to a 12 products per single polybag system for all shipments. And perhaps most importantly, we started taking plastic out of the waste stream and manufacturing with Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastic. Our goal was to hit 50% PCR by weight across our 10 launches. We came in shy of that at 40% PCR by weight.
This year, we’ll continue to reduce our packaging waste by achieving 50% PCR by weight across our entire assortment (new and existing items). Our polybags will transition to renewable and biodegradable Polylactic Acid (PLA) made of potato starch. Our shipper boxes are currently made with 30% recycled materials; we’re increasing that to 50-60% recycled content. We’ll also introduce a recycling collection program for all beauty products (not just Versed), where you send us your empties and we recycle them for you.
Ecosystem Preservation2020 Highlights + 2021 Goals
Everything we do has an impact. We want to make sure our footprint doesn’t affect the other creatures we share the planet with. In 2020, we transitioned all of our paper packaging to use FSC-certified paper, which ensures the trees are responsibly sourced. We also became a partner of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, which helps to preserve these precious environments and the wildlife that lives within them. All of our formulas are (and will continue to be) biodegradable, silicone-free, and reef-safe. We’ll continue these practices in 2021 and beyond to ensure the longevity of all living things and their ecosystems.
Accountability and Transparency
Without accountability, there is no action. After recognizing polyethylene and PEGs do not align with our ethos as they have the potential to harm aquatic life, we began removing them from our products and those new formulas have and will launch this year. Transparency is a core part of our brand ethos, and we’ll continue to share our progress, our shortcomings, and our goals for all our endeavors—including environmental action—starting with this, our first-ever Sustainability Report.
We’re making updates to our site to provide full visibility into the environmental impact of our products, from production to end-of-life. We added Sustainable Product Attributes to each item’s product page, outlining its recyclability, % PCR, country of origin, and more.
We also calculated and added each product’s Waste Footprint, which shows you how much waste each individual product is expected to leave behind in consideration of its % PCR and recyclability. Finally, we’re sharing our Sustainable Packaging Guidelines. These are the best practices our team already operates to in order to limit waste and reduce climate change. Now, we’re sharing them outwardly, with you.
Questions or feedback? We want to hear from you. Because when it comes to climate action and environmental accountability, we’re in this together.