CSR & Sustainability: How the Beauty Industry Is Cleaning Up

The beauty industry is cleaning up its image by investing in a raft of CSR & sustainability initiatives. Cosmetic companies have long received criticism for unethical and non-environmentally friendly business practices. Organic Monitor (www.organicmonitor.com) research finds that the industry is cleaning up, with some beauty companies and ingredient firms falling over themselves to communicate their green and ethical credentials.

In its new Strategic Insights report, Organic Monitor assesses CSR & Sustainability Initiatives in the Beauty Industry. The research finds that most investment is going into reducing the environmental footprint of cosmetic products by using greener formulations and sustainable packaging.

Packaging is receiving high interest because of its high ecological impact; companies are looking at biodegradable plastics, recycled materials and innovative ways to reduce packaging. The report gives case studies of companies undertaking novel techniques such as upcycling and lightweighting, as well as those using new packaging materials such as biopolymers and bamboo.

A major finding is that natural & organic cosmetic companies – many of which have sustainability built into their corporate DNA – are leading the way in terms of CSR & sustainability initiatives. The report highlights the achievements of the Brazilian company Natura, which has been championing environmental causes since its formation in 1969. It was the first major cosmetics company to become carbon neutral, offsetting its carbon emissions by reforestation of native tree species. Beraca, another Brazilian company, is also commended for its social & biodiversity investment projects in the Amazon. The report finds that although natural & organic product companies are typically pioneers, larger conventional firms are stealing the limelight by more aggressive communication of their CSR & sustainability activities.

By the use of case studies, Organic Monitor highlights the various methods of reducing the environmental and social impacts of cosmetics products and ingredients. The importance of ethical sourcing is making fair trade prominent, with a growing number of natural cosmetic and ingredient firms investing in grower projects in developing countries. Certification is a major barrier however, with many companies preferring to take the non-certified route because of bureaucracy and the limitations of fair trade standards. Corporate philanthropy is another area becoming important for some beauty companies wishing to ‘invest back’ into society.

Details are given of the various standards, certifications, labels and indexes for CSR and sustainability in the beauty industry. Natural & organic cosmetic standards have received most attention, however new schemes are emerging that look at the various dimensions of sustainability. Cradle to Cradle certification is becoming popular for companies such as Aveda and Kiehl’s as it gives a life-cycle analysis of cosmetic products.

CSR and sustainability initiatives in the beauty industry will be extensively featured in the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit (www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com), taking place in Paris, 18-20 October 2010. The summit looks at how beauty companies can lower their environmental and social impacts by investing in green formulations, sustainable packaging, certification programmes, biodiversity & ethical supply chains. The series of summits features leading organisations involved in such initiatives such as Natura, Beraca, Burt’s Bees, Estee Lauder, MH Plastics, Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International, NaTrue, Ecocert, Givaudan and Cognis.

Research Publication
#7091-60 Strategic Insights: CSR & Sustainability in the Beauty Industry
Publication Date: May 2010
More information on http://www.organicmonitor.com/709160.htm and http://www.organicmonitor.com/r1805.htm

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
Organised by Organic Monitor, the aim of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is to encourage sustainability in the beauty industry by bringing together key stake-holders and debate major sustainability issues in a high-level forum. The European edition of the summit will take place in Paris on 18-20th October. More information is available from www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com

About Organic Monitor
Organic Monitor is a specialist research & consulting company that focuses on the global organic & related product industries. Since our formation in 2001, we have been providing a range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries. Our services include market research publications, business & technical consulting, summits, seminars & workshops. Visit us at www.organicmonitor.com

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Tina Gill
Marketing Manager, Organic Monitor
Tel: (44) 20 8567 0788
Fax: (44) 20 8567 7164
Email: [email protected]

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