Rituals’ The Ritual of Sakura Body Cream is from their bestselling Ritual of Sakura collection. Selling at $25 for 220mL, $20.5 for the refill capsule (also at 220mL), or $34.9 for a Body cream and refill pack, this cream aims to nourish and firm skin. Despite being vegan-friendly, free of harming ingredients like parabens, and claiming to use safe and clean ingredients, I noticed that more than one-third of the chemicals used have quite a high risk of allergies and irritation. Whereas for its packaging, they are doing better because of the cream refill options and the sustainably sourced paper cartons, which I urge them to stop using as they are not necessary. I think the production is better than the product itself; they have more transparency in their sustainability measuring tools and code of conduct with suppliers, and have goals in achieving more sustainable productions. Their charity programmes are also pretty good. Yet, I would still think they should be more transparent in their whole manufacturing process as well as provide more details with regards to their goals and progress.
This body cream is vegan-friendly and free of harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate and microplastics. Although they claim to be using clean and safe ingredients, it doesn’t seem to be the case. To look at the safety of ingredients, I used the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rating system, which ranks the safety of chemicals used in different products on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being the safest) and certifies products that are totally free of harmful chemicals. Although this product was not rated, the rating for each ingredient can be found. Among the 44 ingredients used, 19 of them, like citral and limonene, are rated between 3-5. These concerning ratings are mostly because of the higher risk of allergies and irritations, which is particularly disappointing because this product is marketed as clean and safe. Another thing is that this product contains fragrance. As the full details for fragrance chemicals are often not required by law, this lack of transparency makes it hard to assess the safety information of the exact ingredients, increasing risks.
There is no information regarding the materials used for the jar, nor its recyclability. Rituals’ aim for packaging is to reach zero-waste packaging by 2025 by making all their products either refillable, recyclable, or made from recycled materials. Currently, there are refill capsules of this body cream that fit into the original jar. Rituals claims it saves 70% in CO2 emissions, 65% in energy, and uses 45% less water. In 2019, they saved 250,000kg of materials through using refills, which sounds quite encouraging. As for paper cartons, they use papers that are FSC/PEFC certified. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certify forests with sustainable management, indicating sustainably sourced papers. They also promise to use boxes that precisely contain the product, reducing filling materials and energy in transport. However, Rituals should actually stop using paper cartons for this product as they are unnecessary . Some of Ritual’s products already stopped using paper cartons, and I don’t see why this cannot be extended to this product and the refill capsules.
There is no information regarding where exactly this product is made. We only know that 90% of Rituals’ products are produced in Europe, their main market, to reduce environmental impact from transport. However, as Rituals’ products are also sold globally in 15 countries, they inevitably ship products worldwide, causing huge carbon emissions.
Manufacturing and energy
Rituals engages with their suppliers to ensure responsible sourcing. To achieve that, they sign a code of conduct with suppliers, which includes no child labour, no discrimination, guaranteed salaries, safe working conditions, and shared commitment to a clean and safe environment. They also use the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance tool, EcoVadis, which is a platform that helps assess corporate social responsibility and sustainable procurement. Their products are also cruelty-free, meaning that they will not conduct animal tests under any circumstances. Regarding energy, their Dutch shops and offices all run on green energy, and they are planning to extend this use to more countries. It seemed to me that they are showing consciousness and making some actions towards making their supply chain more sustainable, and it is true that some progress, such as waste, water, and energy reduction, is seen from their website. Yet, Rituals still lacks transparency in terms of their manufacturing processes, and lack clear aims on how they can extend the use of green energy in their global branches.
Rituals is an independent cosmetics brand from the Netherlands that aims to improve wellbeing while protecting the environment. Their three main sustainability pillars are clean, conscious, and caring, which is nice because they recognize how sustainability involves both environmental and social impacts.
On their website, many numbers are indicating their achievements, such as reducing 8.5 litres of water in 2019. I also appreciated that they have more transparency in some of the assessments and tools they use, such as EcoVadis and Life-cycle assessments, because it is better than some other companies that I reviewed. They also have short term aims such as zero-waste packaging by 2025. However, I do have some concerns regarding these seemingly good things. Although some numbers are provided for their achievements, these numbers actually have no real indications of their progress when we had no idea what the numbers mean in proportion to their overall production. Also, despite all these goals, they did not provide much information for us to track their progress.
To be in line with their aim of improving wellbeing and living a soulful life, Rituals supported the Tiny Miracles Foundation, which aims to break the poverty cycle of Mumbai's impoverished Pardeshi and Aarey communities by taking a holistic approach towards creating fully self-supporting communities within a 10-year timeframe. Rituals also developed a programme, Super Chill, which provides an app to teachers and children that teaches them yoga and meditation, hoping to shift the primary education system towards a system where each child has room to grow without constantly feeling the pressure to fit into standardised norms. I find the idea of Super Chill quite good as primary children’s stress is a less discussed topic among corporations. Supporting a programme that helps communities support themselves is also a better alternative to a corporation itself directly supporting their daily life.