Beauty industry cleans up

Organic Monitor report assesses CSR & sustainability initiatives in C&T

The beauty industry is cleaning up its image by investing in a raft of CSR & sustainability initiatives, according to Organic Monitor. “Cosmetic companies have long received criticism for unethical and non-environmentally friendly business practices,” says Organic Monitor. Now “some beauty companies and ingredient firms are falling over themselves to communicate their green and ethical credentials”.

A new Strategic Insights report assesses CSR and sustainability initiatives in the beauty industry, finding that most investment is going into reducing the environmental footprint of cosmetic products by using greener formulations and sustainable packaging.

Packaging is getting the most interest because of its high ecological impact and companies are looking at new materials as well as ways of reducing packaging. The report uses case studies to highlight methods of reducing the environmental and social impacts of cosmetics products and ingredients.

“Natural & organic cosmetic companies – many of which have sustainability built into their corporate DNA – are leading the way in terms of CSR and sustainability initiatives,” says the report. For example, Brazil’s Natura was the first major cosmetics company to become carbon neutral, offsetting carbon emissions by reforestation of native trees, while Brazilian ingredient supplier Beraca is also commended for its social and biodiversity investment projects in the Amazon. However, larger conventional firms often steal the limelight with more aggressive communication of their CSR and sustainability activities.

While ethical sourcing and fair trade are growing in prominence, certification is a major barrier, with many companies taking the non-certified route because of bureaucracy and the limitations of fair trade standards. Corporate philanthropy and ‘investing back’ into society is also increasingly important.

Details of the various standards, certifications, labels and indexes for CSR and sustainability in the beauty industry are covered.