Lush sign up for Fair Tax Mark
Accreditation of high street retailer caps impressive first year
The Fair Tax Mark – an organisation incubated in the Ethical Consumer offices – celebrates its first birthday today by announcing the accreditation of its first multinational company and high street brand, Lush Cosmetics.
The cruelty-free cosmetics giant which has built its retail empire on iconic products such as the Think Pink bath bomb now operates 105 stores across the UK and over 900 stores in 49 countries around the world.
Mark Constantine OBE, Lush Co-founder and Managing Director said:
“Tax is a notoriously murky and controversial area of business. Today more than ever it's reassuring to know that the Fair Tax Mark is setting a benchmark for responsible tax behaviour. We're both flattered and proud to have made the Mark.”
The first Fair Tax Mark certification of a high street multi-national business now opens up the opportunity for large businesses to be equally open and transparent about their tax affairs. This in turn will enable shoppers to support those businesses that pursue responsible tax behaviour.
Richard Murphy, a tax justice campaigner and one of the founders of the Fair Tax Mark said:
"Lush has chosen to voluntarily report its annual sales and taxes paid in each country it operates in. This is genuinely ground-breaking for a multinational in the retail sector."
Tax on the agenda
With the issue of tax avoidance still dominating the headlines, in its first year of operation the Fair Tax Mark has successfully awarded the Mark to growing numbers of the UK's most progressive companies. These include SSE plc which is the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Mark.
According to Rob Harrison, one of the Fair Tax Mark’s directors, “Lush has worked incredibly hard to publish figures in this year’s accounts that show sales, profits, employees, and tax paid in each of the countries they operate in. Meeting this demand for country-by-country reporting, without being required to by regulators, sets a standard for other companies to follow.”
Over recent months the Fair Tax Mark has also been the subject of a number of newspaper articles following a nationwide advertising campaign by SSE to tell people about its accreditation as a Fair Tax company.
A whole page in the Times on January 29th explained that “The corporate tax system is open to abuse but measures are afoot to plug loopholes.” They were broadly in favour of the transparency that the Fair Tax Mark proposes.
The Financial Times on February 2nd also noted that: “For the UK’s second-largest energy supplier, tax is not just a cost; it has also become a marketing tool. In SSE’s current advertising campaign, it trumpets that it pays the tax it owes ‘down to the last penny’ – a claim backed by the Fair Tax Mark, an accreditation scheme for ‘responsible’ taxpayers.”
The FT report was reasonably balanced, but included some criticisms – one from the CBI and another from the Oxford Centre for Business Taxation. Fair Tax Mark director, Richard Murphy, noted how some of the funders of this centre were well known avoiders of tax.
More on the Fair Tax Mark >