The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, is currently underway in Glasgow, Scotland, and has been labeled as “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control” by the UK government. Steven Ko, Founder and Chairman of green beauty brand O’right from Taiwan attended the World Climate Summit, recognized as the most important official COP side event, to provide insight into optimizing business and policy to achieve a circular economy during the panel discussion.
The session, Optimizing Business & Policy to Achieve a Circular Economy, featured Jarkko Havas from the EllenMacArthur Foundation as the moderator, Eija Hietavuo of Tetra Pak, the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company, as the keynote speaker, and speakers including Joseph Tabet of diversified global manufacturer Flex, Dana Barsky of Credit Suisse International, Ladeja Godina Košir of Circular Change and Steven Ko from O’right, a small and medium-sized enterprise and the only speaker from Taiwan.
SMEs are the core of the economic ecosystem, representing 90% of businesses worldwide. Despite being a relatively small company, O’right continues to lead the way in sustainability by achieving carbon neutrality across its entire product portfolio, manufacturing operations and organization in 2020 and putting an internal price on carbon. In 2006, O’right embarked on the journey of green branding and sustainable innovation and stressed the importance of building a green supply chain. Since then, the zero carbon brand has set green standards, completely eliminating petrochemicals from its products and building a green supply chain dedicated to post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging. From raw material acquisition, manufacturing, delivery and sale to use and disposal, O’right considers the environment in all stages of a product life cycle. In 2011, O’right introduced the first carbon neutral product certified by BSI, becoming the first beauty company to reach the finish line on the road to zero carbon.
O’right has 5 years’ worth of carbon storage capacity and is the first beauty company in the world to have a carbon passbook. The sustainable pioneer also incorporates TCFD reporting and implements SROI and CROI methodology to accelerate innovation towards carbon-negative products and services. Ko stresses that every company should measure the carbon footprint of products and operations and provide carbon reduction strategies to achieve zero carbon emissions and combat climate change. “Sustainability is more than merely a corporate responsibility. It offers new opportunities. For innovators and early adopters, it builds competitive advantage. For the late majority, it is a necessity for survival.
Ko shared his ambitions, actions and advocacy in combating climate change and achieving zero carbon. O’right’s road to zero has been a bumpy one, but, as mentioned in the book From Salons to the United Nations, it is not fazed by challenges. Jarkko Havas, Lead of Insights and Analysis of the EllenMacArthur Foundation, thanked Ko for “going above and beyond for net zero.” As the host said jokingly at the end of the panel session, “Now I can have guilt-free hair care!”