Green Living: Lush founder revels in funding activism

Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:32pm EST
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By Nick Rosen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - As the wealthy co-founder of eco-friendly cosmetics chain Lush, Mark Constantine also revels in a more controversial role that he says is in line with his environmental creed - financier of anti-aviation activists.

Constantine, who set up Lush with his wife Mo in 1995, does not drive a car, cycles to work from his home near Poole, Dorset, to Lush's British factory, and still leads school tours around the local harbor to show them natural features of interest.

He spends a large proportion of his personal time bird-watching, and has published books cataloguing bird song.

So Constantine says he has no qualms when people accuse him of hypocrisy for running a retail chain of 600 cosmetics shops in 44 countries and being a frequent flyer -- while also funding anti-air travel pressure group Plane Stupid.

Earlier this month Plane Stupid activists staged a sit-on on the runway at Stansted Airport to protest expansion, grounding hundreds of flights and thousands of travelers. As well as funding the group, Constantine gave activists legal funds.

"I supported them before the Stansted occupation), and I support them now. I supported people chaining themselves to trees to stop roads," he said in an interview in his London office.

Pro-aviation groups have branded the entrepreneur a hypocrite as he has stores at various airports around the globe.

"You cannot be the perfect green person if you are encouraging people to consume," he readily acknowledged.   Continued...