HANDMADE SOAPS AND COSMETICS store Lush has become the first high street chain to gain the Fair Tax Mark, it has been announced.
It becomes the first multi-national high street retailer to be awarded the mark, which indicates that a company is “making a genuine effort to be open and transparent about its tax affairs and pays the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place”.
Lush has over 900 stores in 49 countries around the world and in working towards the accreditation, published a full country-by-country financial report.
Its co-founder and managing director Mark Constantine OBE said: “In business it is so traditional to maximise your own situation and pay minimum tax that it becomes routine.
In the end, we’re in business. We invent cosmetics and perfumes and sell those.
“If you start introducing tax schemes into that, you’ve lost transparency and you can no longer see what it is you’re supposed to be doing,” he added. “You have a complication coming into all of the workings. If everyone were to be more clear and straightforward and not bother with the schemes, I believe there would be a great improvement in the standard of business and there would be much more time to do things that are more worthwhile.”
The move follows power company SSE’s commitment in October last year, when it became the first FTSE 100 business to sign up.
The roll-out of the mark has not been without controversy, however, with the mark’s criteria for gauging fair tax practice criticised by some quarters of the tax profession, while an endorsement from the ICAEW last year also drew reproach.