Eco-consumerism is a term that describes how today’s consumers want to be empowered and feel responsible for their actions and choices when making purchases. Recent findings from a Future of Beauty survey found that 72% of consumers believed individuals are responsible for caring for the planet1. Consumers have more access now than ever and are incredibly aware of what is going on in the world; from polar ice caps melting, hurricanes leaving parts of the United States underwater years later and the death of our coral reefs. They have answered a call to action to do their part and now are leaving companies with the same call to action to evoke change.
The call to action for beauty and cosmetic companies is going beyond ethically sourced ingredients. Consumers are starting to request that the brands they support have their products sustainably manufactured as well. What does that mean for companies within beauty and cosmetics?
It means innovation and change. It is taking their traditional supply chain and having a hard look at their environmental impact from carbon emissions, waste management, sustainable resources and alternative packaging solutions. So, what are leading beauty organizations doing to combat this? Let’s find out! I spoke with some wonderful executives at several beauty companies about their missions.
The company is focusing on targeting Scope 1-3 emissions, with Scope 3 being the most challenging for them, as for many companies “the majority of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and cost reduction opportunities lie outside their own operations.”2 Scope 3 is incredibly extensive to measure, especially with its footprint for packaging and manufacturing. Arbonne realizes the value in tracking it due to how it aligns with its values and commitment to transparency.
Sephora has been focusing extra attention towards its product ingredients and avoiding certain chemicals that can cause major concerns for the planet and consumers. The company has created a Clean at Sephora and Public Chemicals policy in order to combat this. Its manufacturing focuses on creating beauty products free of parabens, sulfates, SLS, SLES, phthalates, mineral oils and more. A green seal at Sephora goes beyond staying away from these ingredients but also focuses on greener packaging and sustainable sourcing for its high performing products and for the brands it carries.
The firm has put a strong emphasis on responsible and sustainable sourcing and transparency within its supply chain. This is being done for two key areas via its Neverlist4; ingredients and packaging. When it comes to ingredients, Beautycounter has built an impressive responsible sourcing program. It has shown a clear commitment to stay away from harmful ingredients like mica, vanilla and palm oil and instead focused on providing ingredients that focus on the people its products serve and the wellbeing of our planet.
From a packaging standpoint Beautycounter is reducing its carbon footprint, staying away from certain plastics with phthalates, eliminating overpackaging of products and using glass for its primary packaging. By eliminating unnecessary packaging like lid inserts and overcaps, Beautycounter has managed to save nearly half a million cartons yearly. Changing over to a local glass supplier has led to products travelling 5,200 fewer miles, reducing its glass product lines’ fossil fuel consumption by 35% and greenhouse gas footprint by 38%5.
What does this mean for you? It’s doable. Other brands are putting a focus on better products for their consumers and for the environment and the progress mentioned above, is just the tip of the iceberg.