Beauty / Favourites

Sunday Riley’s founder talks green technology and ways we can all be more sustainable

Sunday Riley founded her eponymous brand with an almost non-existent budget and a passion for change. Now, 12 years on, the brand has gone from strength to strength, transforming the skincare regimes of people around the world - and leading the pack on the path to sustainability.

The brand recently finished up a two-year journey to become B Corps certified, a sustainability certification that has only been awarded to a handful of other brands. In fact, in the personal care category for Australia, there are only six brands currently on the list*.

We connected with Sunday to find out more about her sustainability journey and the DNA of her beloved brand - available at MECCA. Below, she shares with us her drive and why sustainability is a never-ended journey.



What inspired you to start a skincare brand?

When we launched in 2009 there was a real hole in what I call “green technology,” which is balancing science-based active ingredients with botanicals. Active ingredients are essential for optimum skin health and youthful looking skin, but there are other ingredients I love, like botanicals - and at the time there wasn’t a real mix of that.

I didn’t start this process or this journey out of a desire for a personal fix. I started a skincare company and formulated the products because I believe that I have an ability to listen to what people want and craft formulas (starting from a blank notepad, where I write out every formula we produce) that can actually make a change in the way people look and feel. Being a part of other people’s journey towards self-love and self-care is what inspires me, and what gets me up in the morning.


What is the ethos or DNA of the Sunday Riley?

I believe in the power of change and the ability to change your destiny to achieve what you want. Skincare is a very honest experience and skin has a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves. To have a chance to help people feel like they can be better, more confident versions of themselves and that they can make great choices in life, that’s really an honour.

Sunday Riley is built on the power of ‘YES’ and the power of positivity. We believe in curiosity, doing things differently and we believe in making the impossible possible. Ultimately we are a yes brand! Sunday Riley’s ethos and core is built on active ingredients, science-based formulations, creating the highest quality products, being an advocate for human rights, being a female-owned and founder-owned brand, being cruelty-free, sustainable and being an advocate for giving back. Everything we do from start to finish encompasses these values and is important to the functioning of every aspect of the brand.


What drives you to make your brand more sustainable?

I’ve always been inspired by the power of positive change and being the change we want to see in the world.

Our pledge to our customers is that we only want the absolute best available to people, that’s our mission. This includes ensuring we’re the best we can be in all aspects of business from product performance right through to giving back to the community and sustainability. You can feel good about the products you are putting on your skin, because you trust that they are made to the highest quality and with the highest ethical standards in mind.


We heard you’ve just been B Corp certified, congratulations. What was that process like?

Over the course of the last two years, B Corp has evaluated both the internal and external social and environmental impacts of every aspect of our business. The B Corp certification process is lengthy and arduous, considering everything from environmental impact, brand values, and company culture. We are proud to be recognised by B Corp for our conscious efforts to use as a force for good, influencing positive change wherever we have a corporate presence as well as our commitment to minimising our impact on the environment.


Why was being certified important to you?

B Corp is a leader in corporate responsibility, sustainability, and brand ethics. Partnering with B-Corp to make sure that our practices aligned with our values was a natural fit.


Sustainability is a never-ending journey. What’s next on your sustainability path?

We intend to continue to use our business as a force of good, to influencer positive change wherever we have a corporate presence as well as our commitment to minimising our impact on the environment. One of our big focuses this year is packaging waste reduction. We have redesigned our packaging to be greener - from switching the EVA foam trays in our product packaging to recycled pulp board, switching to eco-friendly inks (like soy), and using FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) materials for boxes, we plan to have fully recyclable packaging by the end of 2021. Among many other things, we will also continue to support social impact initiatives - In 2020 we have made significant contributions to organisations that align with our brand values. This includes planting trees around the world through ‘One Tree Planted’ where we have planted thousands of trees across the globe and we will continue to plant 500 trees a month internationally, 50 of which are planted in Australia.


What can consumers do to be more sustainable?

There are always small changes you can make in your everyday life to be more sustainable – something as simple as recycling, taking a ‘keep cup’ to the café or your own bag to the grocery store. Look into the brands and companies you’re supporting and ensure they’re taking the right steps towards sustainability, the B Corp website is a good place to start for reviewing companies that are using business as a force of good.


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*fact-checked on June 29 2021