The air cleaning units will be incorporated into The Body Shop brand advertising at three bus stop sites in New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and High Holborn.

The system works by trapping particulate matter via a filtration system to help protect bus passengers who are at high risk from pollution exposure. Developed by Airlabs, the unit will emit cleaner air which could fill more than 80 buses every day.

“While these air cleaning units have yet to be introduced on a wider scale, we’re making a start to help protect Londoners from air pollution exposure, as well as help raise awareness of this incredible technology available,” The Body Shop UK marketing & corporate responsibility director Elen MacAskill said.

“We are calling on other businesses, transport operators, bus stop site owners and brands to follow this industry leading approach. The technology can help reduce urban pollution exposure for thousands of people every day where nitrogen dioxide levels exceed the legal limit.”

Raising awareness

The project will help to raise awareness about air pollution in London, a major health concern. More than 9,000 Londoners are estimated to die prematurely due to long-term exposure to high levels of pollutants. New Airlabs research shows that Central London has exceeded legal limits of NO2 levels nearly every day so far this year.

“It is estimated that a Londoner’s life expectancy is reduced by as much as 16 months owing to the harmful effects of air pollution,” Airlabs chief executive Sophie Power said. “Currently, 3.8 million people, 44% of the city’s working population, work in parts of London which are above the legal limits for NO2.

“It is vital that more is done to address this issue, and it is our view that by working with the Government and other key stakeholders a viable solution can be developed to provide better quality air for the city’s population. We believe this project will showcase the role our technology can play in reducing the levels of exposure the city’s population is being exposed to.”

Sustainable cosmetics

The Body Shop has long championed environmental issues, as part of the retailer’s ambition to be the world’s “most ethical and truly sustainable business“. It last year launched a new Bio-Bridges programme, which aims to regenerate and reconnect 75 million square metres of damaged forests. The Body Shop also recently developed a statement to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015.

In a recent episode of the edie Sustainable Business Covered podcast, edie took a tour of The Body Shop’s newly-opened innovation lab to discover how the cosmetics retailer is championing ethical sourcing practices while catering to consumer demand.

George Ogleby

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