Message from our CEOs
Doing the right thing
Angela Cretu (Avon), David Boynton (The Body Shop), João Paulo Ferreira (Natura &Co Latin America), and Michael O’Keeffe (Aesop)
In January 2020, we celebrated the historic arrival of Avon in the Natura &Co family, by embarking on a tour of some of our offices in New York, London and São Paulo. It was a memorable week during which the energy and the excitement of our employees at this major step taken by the group was palpable.
Little did we know that it would also be one of the last times that we personally met that year. In the following months, our lives, businesses, and our way of working were to change drastically. However, even in the face of a global pandemic caused by COVID-19, we remained steadfast in our commitment to generate positive impact. Putting people first was a decision coherent with our history, which reinforced our values and beliefs.
The lessons learned from our operations in Asia, where COVID-19 was first identified, contributed to faster decision making in Latin America, showcasing the collaborative nature of our businesses. On an autonomous but interdependent basis, we found the means to protect our network, manage the contagion and keep business going.
Our initial priority was focused on the production of essential items, ensuring the supply of vital products in the fight against the virus. We began manufacturing and distributing hand sanitizers and soaps in record time and pledged to safeguard the jobs of our employees. We partnered with private and public institutions, communities and suppliers to ensure that donations reached those most in need. We also supported our communities by responding to the surge in domestic violence witnessed across the world during the pandemic, coming together to create the #IsolatedNotAlone campaign.
We accelerated the digitalization of our businesses, helping to ensure that our consultants, representatives and store colleagues could continue to work, amid lockdowns. With heavy investment in the further expansion of our e-commerce infrastructure, our digital sales saw triple digit growth, despite store closures.
The digitalization process at Natura, which had been ongoing for a number of years, facilitated the creation of digital tools, boosting the use of these resources by consultants. Avon’s representatives also benefited from digital brochures and new apps, reinforcing its transformation and the revitalization of its commercial model. This resulted in a significant increase in approval and loyalty rates amongst our independent entrepreneurs, as well as positive results for our business.
The Body Shop launched its new website, as part of its brand rejuvenation strategy, attracting new customers and driving sales close to to £150 million. The expansion of its digital channels was followed by the advances in its direct selling model, The Body Shop At Home, which saw significant growth in the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as successfully launching in the United States.
Aesop continued to deliver stellar growth despite store closures, leveraged by its agile redirection of the customer experiences delivered across its online channels. Asian markets also delivered strong performance for Aesop, particularly in Japan, one of the most important beauty markets in the world, showing growing recognition of the brand’s unique value proposition.
The integration of the four businesses in Latin America progressed and has demonstrated even greater potential for synergies. COVID-19 accelerated this integration, with advances in the optimization of manufacturing and distribution, for example. However, the synergies go way beyond the region. The Body Shop started producing its Body Butters in the Avon plant in Poland, increasing product quality and speed of delivery. Natura maintains its internationalization plans with support from The Body Shop and Avon operations, while Aesop has enormous potential to spearhead new markets and formats, which may later be replicated in the group’s other businesses.
Amidst the many challenges faced during 2020, we did not lose sight of our capacity to use our joint strength to promote a positive impact on people’s lives. Natura &Co’s sustainability vision, Commitment to Life, will require innovation, knowledge sharing and systemic behavior change. In this regard, we have already made important strides. Natura &Co officially became the largest B Corp in the world at the beginning of 2021 and Natura achieved its second recertification in 2020. Following The Body Shop certification in 2019, Aesop was certified a B Corp in 2020 and Avon has begun its journey to become a B Corp by 2025.
Even in a year of great human loss, our businesses called upon our founding principles in search of resilience, with our people and the planet as our first commitment. Our network of employees and store colleagues, guided by the same values and driven by unparalleled passion, were essential in achievieng these results. To them, we are deeply grateful. Together, we believe we are setting the foundations of a new cycle of prosperity, towards a capitalism better suited for the 21st century.