Kao, a leading consumer goods company in the beauty segment with brands such as Bioré, Jergens and John Frieda, celebrates 50 years of its most recognised British brand, Molton Brown. Founded in London in 1971, and acquired by Kao in 2005, Molton Brown has evolved into a global brand across cities, luxury hotels and airports in over 80 countries, spending the last 50 years delivering quality, innovative and luxurious products to cater to the needs of its international consumers.
A strong focus on customer needs, quality and innovation, integrity and sustainability – these are the core values that Kao and Molton Brown have been sharing since the British brand joined the Kao business more than 15 years ago. Supporting Molton Brown in evolving and growing naturally and staying true to its heritage and ethos, Kao has contributed to the brand that is globally known for its high-quality fragrances today. In line with its founders’ commitment to positive luxury, but also with Kao’s global sustainability strategy, Molton Brown has stepped up in its ESG efforts during the past years, showing that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in hand. For Kao, sustainability is an integral part of the company’s business strategy. Over the past 130 years, Kao has worked to improve people's lives and help them realise more sustainable lifestyles – a Kirei Lifestyle. The Japanese word 'kirei' describes something that is clean, well-ordered and beautiful, all at the same time.
Through the Kirei Lifestyle Plan, Kao’s ongoing group commitments to ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) transcends across all brands including Molton Brown, whose ever-evolving sustainability journey has already reached important milestones:
· Molton Brown is dedicated to reducing single-use plastic and virgin materials, and is producing all its 300ml bottles with 50% recycled PET since January, reducing the use of virgin plastic by the equivalent weight of approximately 4.8 million Molton Brown 300ml bottles per year. This is a significantly more than the EU target to reach 25% recycled plastic bottle content by 2025.
· Molton Brown has recently launched its refillable programme, which includes Hand Wash Refill Pouches and Refillable Luxury Glass Bottles. Across selected UK stores, consumers are also offered a Fragrance Refill Service by using their original Molton Brown perfume bottle.
· The brand is offering a ‘Return. Recycle. Reward.’ Programme in the UK where consumers can fully recycle plastic Molton Brown bottles and receive 10% off their next purchase. Returned bottles will be transformed into plastic resin, which can then be used for moulding new bottles, crafting shoes or building roads.
· To mark its 50th year, Molton Brown has launched a botanical, 100% vegan Hair Care collection combining ingredients sustainably sourced with innovative technology. With a nod to its original packaging design, the new bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and are recyclable, part of the brands approach to reducing the use of virgin materials.
· The Molton Brown Elsenham manufacturing facility will be net carbon neutral by 2021, while offsetting its carbon footprint. The facility has used 100% renewable electricity there since 2016 and recycled nearly 98% of waste in 2020.
· Since 1972, Molton Brown has never tested on animals and it has a commitment to continue to do so, aligned with its Leaping Bunny accreditation since 2012. Molton Brown formulas are 100% vegetarian and 97% of its products are vegan and have no ingredient of animal origin. By 2022, Molton Brown will be a 100% vegan manufacturer.
Yoshihiro Murakami, Global President Cosmetics Business, Kao Corporation commented:
“When Kao acquired Molton Brown in 2005, we were adding a brand to our corporate family that shares our values and principles as well as our vision and way of doing business. With its strong entrepreneurial roots and commitment to its duty of care by bringing sustainable, high-quality products to the consumer, Molton Brown is truly living up to Kao’s vision to improve people’s lives and help them realize more sustainable lifestyles. We have put our focus on developing and growing the brand in line with these values, respecting its heritage and ethos. This way Molton Brown has become one of our 11 iconic global Cosmetics brands and the cornerstone of our Cosmetics Business in Europe – I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
Mark Johnson, Global President, Molton Brown commented:
“For over 15 years, Kao has helped Molton Brown continue to evolve as the unique British brand that it has always been and still is today, striving for continued innovation with a commitment to the highest quality standards, remaining close to the customer and their needs, and ensuring sustainability remains deeply embedded in our business strategy. We’re proud that the British heritage of Molton Brown remains 50 years on, and we’re excited to see the endless possibilities of the next 50 years and beyond.”
Caroline Burstein, Co-Founder, Molton Brown commented:
“When you look at any brand that has sustained 50 years, they have always stayed true to themselves, true to their core values. And I would love to see, and can foresee, Molton Brown being here in another 50 years and beyond. And to be honest, it’s what we wanted. You’re making me very proud of it.”
As part of the film series “Love Letters from Britain”, presented by Walpole, the official sector
body for UK luxury, Molton Brown is portrayed in the short film “Closing the Luxury Loop”, produced by BBC StoryWorks, the commercial content division of BBC Global News: https://youtu.be/Ee2AhTq8gUA