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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Beauty Brands Building Biodiversity, Better Packaging Solutions

Aveda and L’Occitane Group continue to raise the bar for beauty industry sustainability ambitions with new packaging innovations and a ‘nature-positive’ biodiversity strategy.

Aveda piloting reusable shippers; launches industry-first paper-based, locally recyclable sample sachets

Image credit: Aveda

Aveda — a market leader in vegan, cruelty-free, plant-based, sustainable hair care owned by the Estée Lauder Companies — today announced a partnership with leading packaging provider, Xela Pack, to develop prestige beauty’s first-ever paper-based, locally recyclable sachet.

An early adopter of 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET in its packaging, Aveda has led the charge in luxury sustainable packaging design and innovation. To continue this journey, the brand is launching a superior solution for sampling applications.

In addition to being curbside recyclable by European and UK consumers at the end of life, the sachets improve on the industry standard in a number of ways. A peer-reviewed life-cycle assessment calculated a reduction of 36-68 percent in water consumption and 37-64 percent in emissions, compared to the common multilaminate sachets — which are typically made by combining layers of polyester, polyethylene and aluminum; and which are not curbside recyclable, due to their multi-material construction and small sizes.

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“At Aveda, we understand the relevance of sampling our products in a sustainable way: in line with our mission, and without compromise on product quality or consumer experience,” said Edmond Irizarry, Aveda’s Executive Director of Global Package Development. “I am extremely proud of our 3-year development partnership with Xela Pack to deliver this breakthrough sampling innovation. We look forward to expanding this technology to other markets, brands and categories in the near future.”

Carolynn O’Connor, Director of Sales at Xela Pack said, “The process of partnering with Aveda on this launch has been a synergistic dream come true, as both Aveda and Xela Pack have been leaders of sustainability and innovation for decades. Having the Aveda brand be the first to launch in this new recyclable Xela Pack is a perfect testimonial to our company’s continued mission of sustainability in packaging.”

The new, paper-based sachets will be rolled out in select European markets and the UK by spring 2022.

Image credit: Returnity

Speaking of sustainable packaging alternatives, Aveda also recently partnered with Returnity for a pilot Returnable Shipper Program that’s allowing a test group of consumers to reduce their packaging waste with returnable and reusable shipping boxes.

According to a study by Harris Poll, 68 percent of US consumers say they are more conscious of packaging materials and design today than they were five years ago.

“Consumers understand the impact of waste on the earth and expect brands to help them play an active role in helping reduce that waste,” Aveda’s Irizarry says. “At Aveda, we are always focused on ‘thinking outside the box’ — literally, in this case — and we continuously challenge ourselves in all facets of our business. This packaging initiative is one of them — it is a starting point to assess demand and need.”

Invitations for the Aveda Returnable Shipper Program were sent to select customers that are part of the brand’s Auto Replenishment program, and who subscribe to liter bottles. By using this returnable shipping box up to 20 times or more, it will help to reduce the corrugate packaging weight by at least 89 percent.

How it works

  • When the order arrives, cut the box’s zip-tie seals. Users are urged to recover these ties by sending them back with the container to be recycled.

  • Unzip the box and remove the product. Return the cap protector and recycle the protective paper filler curbside.

  • Collapse the empty shipper and zip the outer layers together, with the pre-paid return shipping label facing out.

  • Drop the shipper at any UPS location or Drop Box.

Aveda’s Returnable Shipper Program was created in partnership with Returnity — producer of reusable, circular solutions aimed tackling the rampant shipping and delivery packaging waste plaguing ecommerce companies and customers. Since its launch in 2019, the company has already designed reusable solutions for clothing companies including Borobabi, Brideside, For Days, La Belle Bump, New Balance, Rent the Runway and thredUP, to name a few.

Returnity shippers are produced with a minimum of 35 percent recycled content, covered with fabric made with 90 percent recycled polyester fibers, and designed to be disassembled and fully recycled when no longer in use — and, for COVID-safety purposes, the packages can be treated with an antimicrobial solvent that kills 99 percent of viruses in two hours.

L'OCCITANE Group announces 'nature-positive' biodiversity strategy

Image credit: L'Occitane

Last month, the L'Occitane Group — a market leader in natural luxury cosmetics and skin care, home to the L’Occitane, Melvita, erborian, Elemis, LimeLife and Duolab brands — launched a new biodiversity strategy. Following in the footsteps of fellow sustainable beauty giant Natura & Co, which in 2020 unveiled its overarching Commitment to Life strategy, L’Occitane Group says its goal to contribute to its vision for a "nature-positive world" will include a program that impacts the whole value chain, both within its own commercial ecosystem and beyond.

The strategy takes a systemic approach, building on the experience the Group has gained from the many initiatives its brands have already implemented. It reinforces an existing long-term commitment by giving the Group a clear framework of behavior, covering the five key areas of biodiversity loss: land-/sea-use change, resource exploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change.

This approach is inspired by the recommendations of the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) — which brings together more than 45 NGOs, business associations and specialist companies to promote a fair future that respects nature and limits greenhouse gas emissions, based on scientific objectives.

The strategy sets out five areas in which the L'Occitane Group plans to mitigate its impacts on nature and foster every opportunity to play a positive role:

  1. Understand our impact: In 2016, a biodiversity diagnosis revealed that the main impact of the L'Occitane en Provence brand's activities on biodiversity relate to the sourcing of natural raw materials and packaging. By 2022, the company will broaden the scope of its assessment.

  2. Avoid: The Group pledges that all its plant-based ingredients will come from sources that restore biodiversity by 2025.

  3. Reduce: By 2025, L'Occitane en Provence — the brand that accounts for nearly 80 percent of the Group's net sales and thus has the biggest impact on biodiversity — is committed to reducing the amount of plastic used for its packaging by 10 percent.

  4. Restore and regenerate: Regenerative agricultural practices are made possible by promoting family farming and fair trade. Examples include the cultivation of shea butter in Burkina Faso and lavender, verbena and almond in the south of France. By 2025, the Group pledges to farm 100 percent of its key raw ingredients in line with sustainable agriculture principles based on agroecological, organic, sustainable, fair-trade certifications.

  5. Transform: Transformation at the systemic level requires collective action. To share best practices and advocate at the industry level, the Group is engaged in coalitions such as One Planet Business for Biodiversity.

"Biodiversity has always been a source of inspiration and innovation for us; and through collaboration and sharing our experiences, we will make it an even more integral part of our activities and decision-making," says Adrien Geiger, Group Sustainability Officer and International Director of L'Occitane en Provence.

L’Occitane Group is combining this nature-positive ambition with its climate and human development goals, and all will be continuously enhanced and developed. The company is also establishing a carbon roadmap to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030, and it has set the objective of being B Corp-certified by 2023.