COP26: Scottish soap to offer 'gentle' wake-up call at United Nations climate talks in Glasgow

Posted by Jimmy Gould on


Delegates coming to the United Nations talks are to be presented with special eco-friendly bars of soap, made locally and capturing the essence of Scotland.

Its creators, Soapworks, hope the Coastal Shores cleansing bars – which are inspired by Scotland’s dramatic coastlines, fresh sea air and crashing waves – will act as a “gentle” reminder of the need to protect the planet as negotiators go about their daily ablutions.

“Coastal Shores is a practical symbol of a sustainable future for the global personal care industry,” said Claire Caddis, sales and business development director at Soapwork.

“Whenever people use it we want them to think of Scotland and the goals of COP26.

“It's a gentle, everyday reminder about the importance of climate action, and the little steps everyone can take in securing a sustainable future.”

Soapworks was founded by Body Shop entrepreneur Dame Anita Roddick in 1988 to bring employment and opportunity to the local community of Easterhouse, one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas.

It is now part of the Daabon group, which promotes organic, sustainable agriculture.

The special Coastal Shores bar has been formulated to raise awareness about the ecological benefits of plastic-free bar-format toiletries and emphasise the importance of responsibly sourced ingredients and environmentally aware packaging in the beauty industry.

Ethical social enterprise and sustainability were founding principles of Soapworks and remain integral to the business today.

In 2002, the firm launched an initiative in partnership with Glasgow the Caring City to provide bar soaps to vulnerable communities in the city, across the UK and overseas.

This has since grown significantly, and last year Soapworks gave away more than half a million bars to support vulnerable people and help fight the Covid pandemic.

In addition to supplying local food banks and homeless shelters, donations were sent to disadvantaged communities and refugees in Northern France, Serbia, Bosnia, Greece and Lebanon – to people affected by war, disease, natural disasters and acute deprivation.

In November, around 800 attendees at the United Nations talks will be given Coastal Shores bars, which are made from organic, vegan and sustainable-certified ingredients.

Ms Caddis said: “We believe it’s essential that everyone does their part in taking action against climate change, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to celebrate COP26 and show our own commitment to a sustainable future with the launch of Coastal Shores.

“Coastal Shores is a symbol of a more sustainable future for the personal care industry.

“Switching to bar format soaps and toiletries can help to cut down on unnecessary plastic waste and uses less water in production.

“Using carefully sourced, sustainable ingredients like deforestation-free palm oil will help us to protect the natural environment for the benefit of people and wildlife.

“As a Glasgow-based company it’s exciting to know that our city is playing an integral role in hosting such an important summit, and we look forward to seeing the positive changes it inspires.”

Soapworks employs more than 100 people, some of whom have been with the company for more than 30 years and many are from the local Easterhouse area.

The firm has capacity to produce more than 50 million bars per year, including bar soap, cleansing bars and solid-format haircare such as conditioners.

UK households use around 13 billion plastic bottles each year, including containers for toiletries and personal care products.

It’s thought 5.5 billion of these escape household recycling and end up littered, landfilled or incinerated, which has severe impacts on natural habitats and human well-being.

Soapworks maintains that switching from liquid soaps and shampoo to solid versions provides a sustainable solution to plastic pollution and unnecessary waste as well as creating a smaller carbon footprint.

This palm oil used in the bar is certified as sustainable by the RSPO and Rainforest Alliance.

Manufactured in Glasgow and coming in FSC-approved, biodegradable and recyclable packaging, the soap serves as a practical symbol of the brand’s commitment to the environment and the local community.

Soapworks is using the product to promote the goals of COP26 by sharing it with local stakeholders and influencers and showcasing it to beauty brands and retailers across the UK.