Science-led skincare business Medik8 was founded on strong ESG principles. It is opening a state-of-the-art innovation centre in 2022 to meet growing demand for its skin and earth-friendly products.
You can’t argue with science, and anti-ageing skincare specialist Medik8 knows it. That’s why its products marry science with natural skincare, an idea founder Elliot Isaacs had after backpacking the world. Launched in 2009, the firm had a record year in 2021 as a ‘rational beauty renaissance’ among consumers coincided with increasing visibility of scientists during the pandemic, really casting a positive light on science.
That light is shining more brightly than ever, with people and businesses alike seeking science-based affirmation for many areas: from pandemic-related advice to ESG frameworks to beauty.
It's a big change from when Medik8 launched, when skincare brands were largely driven by ‘magical ingredient’ trends. Elliot however turned to science early on, and discovered vitamin C, sunscreen and vitamin A (retinol) are key for skincare. He married these three most effective anti-ageing ingredients with the ethical and experiential qualities that consumers expect from their favourite consumer brands and was onto a winner. “The market came to us, especially as key opinion leaders started talking about science-based ingredients.” As Medik8 was already there, it was able to grow quickly. In February 2021, the firm secured an investment from Inflexion to help it to scale further, with a keen focus on the US and Chinese markets, both of which are well served by an Inflexion presence.
Cool to be kind
Though lots of companies are now beginning to embrace ESG, sustainability has been core to Medik8’s ethos since inception. The firm has ambitious goals covering climate action, waste reduction, ethical business and social investment. Commitments include being certified carbon neutral by the end of 2023 with a “zero-factory-waste-to-landfill by 2026” ambition. They are also investigating options for plastic neutrality. With minimal existing Scope 1 & 2 emissions, there are ambitious targets in place to reduce Scope 3 carbon intensity by 21% by 2025. In 2022, Medik8 had its Science Based Target approved and joined over 3,000 companies that are reducing their carbon emission in line with climate science. The firm is also planning to apply for B Corporation certification, putting it in an admirable minority of UK firms seeking to be at the vanguard of ESG developments.
Medik8’s ambitious sustainability targets are only possible because it develops everything in-house and manufactures 90% of its products, meaning it has complete control of a large part of the supply-chain vertical, and can measure and manage its impact effectively.
Recent notable sustainability successes include hitting their 2021 ambition to ensure that all Medik8 ‘backbar’ products used in clinic treatments are packaged in a more sustainable format. Similarly the firm also became certified ‘website neutral’ in 2021 – meaning every delivery made from the website was carbon offset. “It’s an important part of our journey to carbon neutrality and net zero, and we backdated the offsetting to our first online sale, which was 2013. That’s tens of thousands of deliveries, and we’ve now offset the carbon from all of these.”
The firm is opening a brand new 100,000 sq. ft. ‘innovation centre’ in Aylesbury, Hertfordshire in September 2022, which was purpose-built by a net zero in construction company which aligns with Medik8’s values. The state-of-the-art site has incorporated a solar roof, massive water reduction plans and electric car charging.
Elliot says, “Inflexion have always been on board with our passion for sustainability. We get no resistance and every encouragement.”
The whole world has to adapt to embrace sustainability. There’s no reason businesses cannot grow and thrive in this new reality. Sustainability is the new prestige. This is what consumers want, and brands must deliver. The wind is certainly in the sails for sustainability.
Elliot Isaacs, CEO & Founder,