As a direct seller whose 'store' is the brochure and printed materials, with virtually no bricks and mortar stores, Avon is a significant user of paper. The issue of deforestation is especially material to the company given its reliance on paper. In response, Avon has committed to helping end deforestation through Hello Green Tomorrow, a bold commitment with two key areas of action: internal policies specific to sustainable sourcing of paper and external activation to mobilize a green army to plant a future.
The policies include the 2010 Avon Paper Promise, followed by the Avon Palm Oil Promise which was launched in early 2011. These policies ensure that internal sourcing and operational practices are aligned with the focus on ending deforestation.
The company also launched the Avon Green Building Promise, formalizing its long commitment to green buildings and requiring that all new or retrofitted facilities meet certified green building standards.
External activation is driven by Avon's unique power to mobilize for meaningful causes, and takes the form of the Hello Green Tomorrow fundraising and education program that was launched in March 2010. The program enlisted the expert partnership of The Nature Conservancy and the fundraising and tree planting efforts supported the United Nations Environment Programme's Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign. Both the fundraising and education focused on the restoration of the South American Atlantic Rainforest, a critically endangered ecosystem.
Launched with an initial company donation of $1 million, the inaugural Hello Green Tomorrow program debuted in nearly 60 countries, ranging from Australia to Mexico to Russia. Donations generated by Avon Sales Representatives - $1 at a time - raised an additional $1.1 million, more than doubling the company's initial commitment.
Educational materials and messages, distributed by Avon Sales Representatives and global Hello Green Tomorrow websites, drove the mission of "Five Simple Things" for personal environmental action: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink and Replant.
The $2.1 million total contributed by Avon Hello Green Tomorrow in 2010 will allow The Nature Conservancy to replant and restore some 5,000 acres of the Atlantic Rainforest. Tropical forests serve as the lungs of the earth, support important biodiversity and provide clean water for millions. No tropical forest on Earth is closer to complete destruction than the Atlantic Rainforest, which stretches across parts of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. The area once covered approximately 330 million acres, and today only seven percent of this precious rainforest remains intact.
Hello Green Tomorrow fundraising and education is ongoing, with more than 50 countries continuing the commitment in 2011 despite global economic challenges. Avon worldwide developed environmentally conscious fundraising products sold by Avon Sales Representatives, with all proceeds contributed to two partners: The Nature Conservancy, once again for the Atlantic Rain Forest, and World Wildlife Fund, to support reforestation efforts in the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, another critically endangered region. These Indonesian islands are home to some of the richest and most diverse tropical forests on the planet and house thousands of unique species, including the world's last remaining Sumatran tigers, orangutans, pygmy elephants and Sumatran rhinos.
The Avon product collection created for 2011 includes a variety of reusable shopping bags, shirts and other unique, affordable items available around the world. In the U.S., a sleek recyclable aluminum Avon Hello Green Tomorrow Water Bottle can be purchased through Avon Sales Representatives or online at hellogreentomorrow.com
Hello Green Tomorrow is also providing Avon with an opportunity to educate and engage its Associates through the Green Ambassadors program. Starting in 2009, over 100 volunteer Green Ambassadors in Avon offices, manufacturing sites and distribution centers across 65 countries develop and implement grassroots environmental initiatives and education campaigns. Supporting their efforts are global communications on green news and activities, as well as blogs and tips on the Hello Green Tomorrow website.
Green Ambassadors have championed efforts such as planting of trees and gardens at Avon sites and in public places, and the installation of improved recycling systems and programmable thermostats to reduce the company's local environmental impact. Each year, the Green Ambassadors lead local efforts of the annual Avon Green Week, a full week of daily "green" events in Avon offices worldwide, including Associates, their families and communities, that coincides with the UN World Environment Day on June 5. Photos from some of the 2010 activities are found on the Hello Green Tomorrow online Press Room.