Lavandi Talent discuss: Sustainability in the beauty industry, a cost worth paying

Consumers want sustainable products, and responsible, reactive industries are constantly adapting their methods to accommodate them

Here at Lavandi talent, we have noticed that sustainability is more than just a hot topic right now; it is becoming an intrinsic practice in most industries. Consumers want sustainable products, and responsible, reactive industries are constantly adapting their methods to accommodate them.

The beauty industry is really no different in many respects in that it is constantly adjusting its production to accommodate more sustainable and environmentally friendly methods.

Across the board, businesses in the beauty space are taking responsibility for the impact their products have and are looking to do something about it.

However, the practice that must follow the desire can be quite problematic in itself. Sustainability is one of those words that seems to have a single meaning but multiple interpretations. On the surface, it seems easy enough; sustainability means adopting methods that ideally do not deplete natural resources and at least replace what they use. The practical application of this is another matter, though. It is here that the interpretation starts to be a problem.

If you take a moment to consider what is required to bring a cosmetic product to market, the logistics are immediately staggering. To guarantee sustainability in the production and distribution of something as simple as a single item of make-up is practically a herculean task.

Not only that, the boundaries of what is considered ethical, environmentally friendly and sustainable supply are not only difficult to set, but they also occasionally step on each other’s toes. For example, the methods in some third world areas to control pests and encourage high yields of the crops used in cosmetics may not meet the ideals of sustainable production.

However, the production levels necessary to gather fair trade pricing contracts make it a challenge for third world farmers to meet sustainability standards.

The ideal balance of sustainable methods and high levels of production are occasionally at odds. Then, even if you achieve one level of success, you still need to account for the manufacture and distribution of the product and guarantee the supply chain is maintaining your standards from production to countertop.

The practical upshot is that sustainability is possible - but it is costly. Not only is it usually more expensive to produce sustainable cosmetics, but it also often requires an additional investment to educate the supply chain and embed the needed controls and procedures.

Where is the sustainability line?

There is no doubt that the cost of sustainability can be measured in more than currency. There is, as we all know, more at stake here than just the price on the high street. The cost of non-sustainable products is environmental damage, depletion of natural resources and ultimately, a contribution to the growing spectre of global warming. To ignore that in the cause of low-cost beauty products or short-term profits would be fiddling while Rome burns. Fortunately, the beauty industry is responsible, caring, and more than willing to take on the challenge.

While it may not be practical or possible to draw a line in the sand behind which all the beauty industry can stand, it is possible to make a series of concerted initiatives and contributions to the greater goal of sustainability.

Brands such as Garnier, Dior, Channel and other major names are all making a stand and actively producing sustainable products or encouraging it in the supply chain.

While it may be a wonderful but ultimately impractical dream to achieve a fully sustainable beauty industry overnight, more and more manufacturers are committing to initiatives such as:

  • Lowering water waste in the production process
  • Increased use of recyclable packaging
  • Investing in the use of more Post Consumer Plastics
  • Reducing the amount of packaging used on products
  • Re-fillable options for products
  • Education and awareness of environmental issues in the supply chain
  • Switching to renewable energy
  • The cessation of the use of damaging microbeads.

This is just scratching the surface of the work and commitment being put into the race towards the ultimate goal of a totally sustainable beauty arena.

As with all industries, there is a lamentable history of harmful manufacturing processes and environmentally damaging processes. However, that was the past. The beauty industry is now one of the most progressive and forward-thinking spaces when it comes to environmental responsibility.

Sustainability is close to being a standard in the beauty industry, and when it is, it will have been achieved through the will and commitment of those who work in it.

If you’re looking for committed, forward-thinking people with a drive to make things better, get in touch with us at Lavandi Talent. As always, we are here to help you get the people you need.

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