EXCLUSIVE: Aveda Goes Vegan, Names Sustainability Advocate

Aveda is forging ahead with plans for a more “sustainable” business.

The company has revealed that its products are now 100 percent vegan — globally. Aveda has been cruelty-free since its inception in 1978, but has been reconsidering other aspects of its business in recent years to align with the industrywide push towards sustainability.

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In September, Aveda launched a free program that offsets 100 percent of carbon emissions from products purchased via its web site and shipped to the U.S. Its headquarters in Blaine, Minn., sit on 58 acres of land certified by the National Wildlife Federation. The main office building is powered by a 3.6-acre, 900-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array, and the campus features honeybee colonies, a vegetable garden overseen by employees, running trails and charging stations for electric vehicles.

Aveda is also naming its first sustainability advocate: Arizona Muse.

Speaking via phone, Barbara De Laere, global brand president, called Muse a “devoted climate activist” whose name is “almost now synonymous with environmental responsibility.”

“She has become this real force for change,” De Laere said. “Also, it’s very organic. She has been using Aveda since her childhood.”

The process of going fully vegan proved somewhat challenging for Aveda, which had previously used beeswax in its lip formulas. It replaced the ingredient with a blend of plant-based butters and waxes.

This year, when the coronavirus pandemic caused hair salons to close, Aveda’s salon partners relied on its online sales program, which it calls A-commerce. Salon sales through A-commerce rose by an average of 147 percent compared to last year, De Laere said. Stylists saw an 885-percent increase in new guests compared to 2019.

A priority for 2021, De Laere said, is enhancing Aveda’s web site, where AR and AI technology have been drumming up engagement. Over the past couple of months, Aveda has seen a 220-percent increase in the use of its hair color try-on tools, with one out of 10 people directly clicking on to the salon finder page after using the tool.

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