Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Cosmetics boss funds protesters

By Nick Cosgrove
Business presenter, BBC Radio Five Live

Lush founder Mark Constantine
Mr Constantine says he does not agree with illegal action

The co-founder of cosmetics retailer Lush has been revealed as a fundraiser for the climate change protesters that closed Stansted Airport on Monday.

Not only does Mark Constantine use his own money to support the Plane Stupid organisation, he also uses some of the company's profits.

All the proceeds from sales of Lush's Charity Pot hand cream are donated to organisations, including Plane Stupid.

Mr Constantine said he may now pay the legal bills of the 56 people arrested.

He said this would come out of his own pocket rather than the firm's.

'Unfortunate'

As the majority owner of what is a private company, Mr Constantine does not have to answer to other shareholders.

Something needs to be done about climate change
Mark Constantine

He insists that his customers are aware of where the money is going, although he admits that some of them are not happy about it.

Mr Constantine added that while he is too frightened to join the protesters in person, he is happy to back Plane Stupid financially.

A total of 52 flights had to be cancelled at Stansted on Monday after the Plane Stupid activists managed to breach the airport's security.

Mr Constantine said it was unfortunate that people were disrupted, and that he would not condone illegal activity.

"However, something needs to be done about climate change," he said.

He added that as Plane Stupid "are trying to look after us, someone has to look after them".

Mr Constantine co-founded Lush in 1995, and last year it had a turnover of 144m from 600 stores in 44 countries.

His personal wealth is estimated to be around 50m.



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