According to Giving Australia, the largest review of giving and philanthropy in the country, large and small businesses give approximately $18 billion a year to charities, causes and vital services. The beauty industry is extremely focused on their customers and communities because philanthropy has become a non-negotiable to consumers, especially the younger generations.
In recent years, there has been an increasing patronage of local charities and non-profit organisations that benefit women. Many companies are also involved in overseas projects that help women and their communities to look after families through entrepreneurship and secure employment. Elisabeth King finds out who is doing what.

Local Initiatives on The Rise

L’Occitane has six global commitments to giving back, including biodiversity for our planet, recycling for our future and healthcare for eyes, says Julie Chan, Brand Manager, L’Occitane Australia. “We also empower women in our business and the company was recently voted the 19th best place to work in Australia according to the annual Best Places to Work study. In addition, we work closely with Dress for Success (DFS) Australia to transform the lives of Australian women, by instilling confidence, restoring dignity and providing the employability skills necessary to secure and sustain employment
L’Occitane also participates in key activities such as Empower Hour held during International Women’s Day each year where all our employees offer an hour of their pay to DFS Australia to help women make the transition from welfare to work, notes Chan. “In the wider region, we work closely with UNICEF Australia and the Kokoda Track Foundation in Papua New Guinea. Our donations have helped 50 community health workers from seven provinces in the country to undertake a postgraduate eye health training course to fight avoidable blindness”.
As part of the Johnson and Johnson Community Impact Program in Australia and New Zealand, we partner with a number of community-based organisations focused on reducing the health gap with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders, says Kirsten Lodge, Senior Manager Communications and Public Affairs. “Red Dust Role Models has been a valued partner of Johnson & Johnson since 2015, helping to implement their Healthy Living program in the Walungurru (Kintore) Community in the Western Desert in remote central Australia”.
Healthy Living is a school-based health development program delivered through three stages of week-long visits in remote communities with the aim to reduce chronic disease, she explains. “The program utilises sport, art, music and dance to drive its messages, and runs classroom activities that are fun, interactive and inclusive. This incredible partnership also allows Johnson & Johnson staff to spend time at Kintore, fostering strong and respectful relationships between our communities, and providing an enormously rewarding – and often life-changing – experience for our employees”.
At Benefit Cosmetics, empowering women is our passion and has been rooted in our DNA for more than 40 years, say Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson, Global Beauty Ambassadors and the daughter and niece of the company’s founders. “In 2015, we launched the global philanthropy program, Bold is Beautiful. We specifically structured the program to work with charity partners in our local markets.
“This approach not only shows our local teams where their money has gone, it also gives them an amazing opportunity to donate their time. Every year in May, for example, 100 per cent of global profits from brow wax services are donated to local charities supporting women and girls. In Australia, we donate to Look Good Feel Better, Fitted for Work and Sister2Sister through the brow wax services exclusive to Myer. We give 100 per cent so women and girls can be 100 per cent”.
Kao Corporation, the Japanese owner of the John Frieda, Biore, Jergens and Molton Brown brands, has a three-pronged global giving back strategy across its corporate culture, conservation and community initiatives, says Nikole Duong, PR Manager. “In Australia, we are incredibly passionate about our partnership with Wallara Australia, a Melbourne-based leader in contract packaging employing workers with disabilities that was founded more than 50 years ago. The partnership began 14 years ago with Wallara being selected as a co-packaging partner for Biore pore strips. We expanded to John Frieda and to our first Japanese brand, Meg Rhythm, and our Goldwell and KMS salon brands”.
Wallara provides over 500 Melburnians with day services, high care support, residential and supported accommodation, in addition to training and workplace opportunities, she says. “Kao Australia is the only subsidiary globally to engage a local community on this level. Wallara are committed to enhancing the quality of life for those with a disability and to assist them in participating fully and equally in the community. Many of our employees have been moved to tears when they experience how Wallara helps people to realise their full potential, no matter what their limitations may be”.
Over the last three financial years, LUSH has donated a total of $1.034 million to 134 different charities across Australia through the LUSH Charity Pot Program, says Ariahne Thompson, Campaigns Manager at LUSH Cosmetics ANZ. “Funds are raised through the sales of Charity Pot Hand and Body Lotion and all revenues (minus GST) are donated directly to charity. In December, all funds raised through the Charity Pot Program were donated to environmental charities focused on climate change in Australia and the campaign to stop the Adani coal mine in Queensland. In New Zealand, December revenues from the initiative were donated to fighting issues such as seabed mining and protecting endangered species such as Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins”.
Fragrance distributor Escentials Brands has always believed it has a moral obligation and a civic responsibility to give back to the community, says Managing Director Harv Kler. “Our customers are the most important assets we have and we are all part of the same community. We have been gold sponsors of Wheelchair Sports NSW Inc for the past five years and have donated the funds to buy three wheelchairs every year. We also support yearly local initiatives such as Sydney Special Children Parties for Christmas, Circus Quirkus and Lions Club Australia. On a national level, Escentials Brands provides support to charities such as CareFlight, the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Exodus Foundation, a charity for the homeless.”
Dermalogica is the major sponsor of Sydney Women’s Fund and we have committed $150,000 over the past three years, says Jane York, Dermalogica College Account Manager. “They introduced us to The Violet Room, a beauty and health incubator and social enterprise they had co-designed with Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections, which provides out-reach programs and services in Sydney’s western suburbs. We were excited at the opportunity to make a difference within the local community and implement our global FITE (Female Independence Through Entrepreneurship) initiative. The objective of FITE is not to donate like a charity, but rather offer loans that empower women in need to learn skills and create their own source of income.
In partnership with Sydney Women’s Fund, we offered scholarships and training for a group of disadvantaged women who wanted local employment that would work around their children, adds York. “Today, The Violet Room therapists provide high-quality services using Dermalogica-donated products at low prices that would otherwise be inaccessible for many women. Many Violet Room customers are domestic violence survivors or have recently arrived in Australia from war zones. To quote one of our graduate therapists – We’re helping these women on the inside as well as outside”.
Teaching the next generation about the importance of biodiversity via a hands-on bee hotel project is a program that’s close to our hearts, says David Johnston, Managing Director Weleda Australia. “Since 2016 Weleda has supplied 500 free Weleda Bee B&G Hotels and teaching curriculums to primary schools in Australia in an effort to raise awareness for the importance of our native pollinators and biodiversity. An estimated 110,000 students have now been part of the program and we are looking to double this figure in 2019”.

Empowering Women At Home and Overseas

Rimmel currently has two major initiatives and partnerships that aim to give back and support the people who support us and help protect their right to self-expression, says Monique Smith, Marketing Director, Coty Consumer Beauty ANZ. “We recently conducted a global study, interviewing 11,000 women from our core audience of 16 to 25 year olds, and found that one-in-four have experienced cyber-bullying about their looks. We also discovered that 115 million images had been deleted on social media because of the detrimental effect on the mental and emotional health of a huge number of young girls”.
From November, Rimmel sparked a global conversation on beauty cyber-bullying to raise awareness of this widespread issue, says Smith. “Crucially, Rimmel will also be partnering with international cyber-bullying charity organisation, Cybersmile, from January to create an AI-driven tool that will recommend resources and helplines for anyone affected by cyber-bullying.
“In line with Rimmel’s brand purpose to protect the right to express one’s authentic self, the brand has signed for three more years in supporting the Australian LGBTI Awards held during Mardi Gras week. Through our support of the awards we acknowledge the outstanding commitments of those who go the extra mile to ensure equality, opportunity and fair treatment for all within the LGBTI Community”.
Founded by Zoe Foster Blake, Australian author, columnist and cosmetics entrepreneur, Go-To is a proudly female-led company, says Leonie Faddy, Marketing and Communications Director. “We support One Girl – a charity empowering girls through education. More than 130 million girls around the world aren’t in school right now simply because they were born a girl. Our vision is to educate one million girls across Africa, so we offer our customers the opportunity to donate at checkout and we match each donation dollar-for-dollar. In the past 12 months, we are proud to say that we have helped to educate over 3000 girls”.
Leading US natural haircare brand, SheaMoisture‘s Community Commerce Initiative sees 10 per cent of selected product sales go to women-led businesses and to support communities that supply and make some of the ingredients key to the products, says Erica Galea, Chemcorp International Marketing Director. “This support helps to expand these businesses by building community infrastructures, including safer working environments, health care, piped water and warehousing, and offering employment opportunities, support for schools and investment in equipment and facilities. SheaMoisture have also expanded Community Commerce efforts in the US through women’s empowerment programs focused on entrepreneurship and education”.
In 2018, the focus of Murad Australia (owned by Unilever) was supporting charities that were close and personal to the team, says Elle Armstrong, Brand Executive. “This included fundraising for Operation Smile, an organisation that provides free surgeries for children and adults in developing countries who are born with dental and facial conditions. We are involved in product donation to Pink Hope, a non-profit Australian organisation for educating about and preventing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. We also provided gifts to the Salvation Army for Christmas packs given to Australian troops serving in the Middle East”.
Trilogy is the number one rosehip oil brand in Australia and has partnered with our rosehip oil supplier in Lesotho, the tiny country in Southern Africa where rosehip bushes grow wild, says Jane McCarrison, Trilogy Global Brand Marketing Manager. “They introduced us to the Mants’ase Children’s Home in 2017, where the staff work to help vulnerable children through their own families or by providing residential care. We help to raise much-needed funds to help with the running costs of the home, including electricity and staff wages. We have also invested in a Chilean-based rosehip oil producer who has worked with us since 2010 and the funds have helped the family-run business to expand and provide more employment opportunities for the local community”.
Clarins supports two primary areas of social action – medical research and children – says Charlotte Turner, Head of Training at Clarins. “The wife of our founder suffered from an aggressive form of arthritis which is particularly prevalent among women. As a result of her suffering, Clarins provides support to medical research undertaken by the Arthritis Foundation and we also support Look Good Feel Better.”
Since 1997, the Clarins “Dynamic Woman” Award recognises actions promoting child advocacy, adds Turner. “This spirit of community and cooperation is strongly supported in all subsidiaries, by all the company’s brands and employees. Our best-known charity affiliation is with FEED, in which we unite our love of women with our support for children’s education in some of the world’s most under-privileged communities. As customers purchase the designated FEED pouches from Clarins they are contributing 10 school meals to children to support their healthy learning when they are most in need”.
Since its foundation in 2007, The Sisley Foundation has supported 200 projects and donated over 10 million euros (AUD$15.8 million) in the fields of education, culture, health, environment and solidarity in France and internationally, says Irene Robinson, Australian General Manager of Sisley Paris. “The initiatives range from the creation of shelters for homeless women to programs that support and improve education in elementary schools. In the Asia/Pacific region, for example, the Sisley Foundation has helped isolated villages on the Indonesian island of Sumba to combat malaria, water shortages, poverty and malnutrition for the past 10 years. Highlights include the financing of a biodiesel power station, an emergency food program for 120 children and a school cafeteria for 300 children”.

Breast Cancer Still Top of Corporate Mind

As a cruelty-free Australian brand that prides itself in the ethical production and values of beauty, it’s always been Nude by Nature’s ethos to give back, says Mirella Magri, Marketing Manager ANZ. “We are proud of our partnership with Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) and have been a supporter since 2016. Our staff volunteer at workshops, provide help with photography, are involved with instructional DVDs and help to plan the Dream Ball.
The skin can become sensitive during cancer treatment and using natural products can help to ease irritation, says Magri. “This is where Nude by Nature products can really assist because they are formulated with 100 per cent natural ingredients. We provide product donations to each patient who attends a LGFB workshop and also help to raise awareness through CRM and digital campaigns, fund-raising and digital creative support”.
At La Prairie Australia we have been focusing on supporting Look Good Feel Better because it is a relatively small and local charity, says Ai San Beaumont, Regional Marketing and Public Relations Manager. “I have been on the fundraising committee and last August our Managing Director, Rosi Fernandez, accepted a role on the board of the foundation. We also support LGFB with product donations, initiate fund-raising at our BA conferences and regularly promote the charity through internal communications and our extended network”.
From March to May last year we partnered with LGFB Australia and New Zealand, donating one lipstick to the program for every Karen Murrell lipstick sold in store or online, says Karen Murrell, Lipstick Designer. “At the end of the three month partnership, a total of 11,708 lipsticks were donated to LGFB. We also partnered with Make-A-Wish New Zealand last August, which allowed cystic fibrosis sufferer, Rachael Sylvia Cox, to create her own lipstick. Over $18,000 worth of Rachael’s lipstick were sold in the first 12 weeks and all the proceeds are being donated as a 50:50 split between Make-A-Wish New Zealand and Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand”.
The longstanding partnership between ghd and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) has raised over $4 million, says Geraldine Van Der Merwe, Head of Marketing for ghd Australia. “For the past 14 years, ghd has shown support for women and families who have been touched by breast cancer with the release of our iconic pink collections. We understand that for many women, their hair is their crowning glory and losing it through cancer treatment can be difficult. We not only donate to the NBCF through our pink products, we also provide styling tips and tricks to those getting used to having short hair or are new to wearing wigs”.

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