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Global Beauty Industry Joins Forces to Drive Sustainability in Products, Packaging

Collaborative efforts are advancing sustainability in the beauty industry.

FIrst, supported by contributions from major brands and retailers, Forum for the Future and The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) have produced a draft assessment tool for evaluating the sustainability of beauty and personal care products, with the goal of simplifying and aligning the wide array of product assessment criteria in use today.

Participating organizations included Sustainable Brands members CVS Health, Procter & Gamble, Target, Eastman Chemical Company, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Unilever, as well as other leading industry players such as Burt’s Bees, Colgate, Method, Sephora, Seventh Generation, Walgreens and Walmart. Input was also provided by a number of other industry stakeholders such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

Forum for the Future designed and facilitated the process, which began in 2014 with the Beauty and Personal Care Product Sustainability Summit, co-hosted by Target and Walmart. The Summit and subsequent work were in response to growing consumer and NGO demand for sustainable products, and the understanding that meeting this need would require key industry players coming together to find solutions.

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TSC has led the technical work and will now take on coordination, development, and implementation of the assessment tool. This will allow TSC to ensure alignment with their existing product sustainability assessment, measurement, and reporting tools that currently cover over $200 billion in retail sales. This continued push toward more aligned assessment tools is an important step toward towards putting more sustainable products on retailers’ shelves.

The assessment tool, currently known as the Beauty and Personal Care (BPC) Product Sustainability Rating System, includes a set of key performance indicators (KPIs), along with a proposed method of scoring products against these indicators. A range of sustainability attributes and activities, from basic practice to aspirational leadership, are reflected within the KPIs. Retailers and other companies may voluntarily use this tool to independently and individually evaluate product sustainability, with scores intended to remain confidential between retailer and supplier. Resulting product assessment may be used to facilitate supplier-retailer conversations, drive improvements in supply chains, and independently evaluate and incentivize better, more sustainable products.

Meanwhile, global beauty group L’Oréal and leading environmental sustainability consulting firm Quantis have launched a new cosmetics industry initiative called SPICE, the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics. The initiative aims to meet consumers’ growing expectations for environmental performance and shape the future of sustainable packaging by guiding policy development and driving innovation.

Companies face considerable methodological issues when it comes to measuring the environmental footprint of their products. The results from product environmental footprints help companies make eco-design choices and to credibly communicate with consumers. SPICE was created to address these issues and provide solutions to these challenges in a collective manner by many of the industry’s major actors.

SPICE membership is open to cosmetics products manufacturers as well as cosmetics packaging suppliers. Currently, there are 11 members: Avon Products, Inc., Clarins Group, Coty Inc., L’Occitane en Provence, L’Oréal, LVMH, Shiseido, Sisley, French “competitiveness cluster” Cosmetic Valley, and FEBEA (the French Federation of Beauty Companies).

These members will work together, guided by the sustainability experts at Quantis, to develop and publish business-oriented methodologies and data to support resilient decision making to improve the environmental performance of the entire packaging value chain. These developments will be the result of collective working sessions where members will share experience and knowledge for the benefit of the initiative and eventually to drive cosmetics packaging sustainability achievements on a grand scale.

More specifically, the work delivered from SPICE will help the cosmetics industry make significant progress in three key areas:

  1. Guiding sustainable packaging policy development based on robust and harmonized methodology, recognized by the sector;
  2. Driving packaging innovation based on objective eco-design criteria to progress towards more sustainable solutions; and
  3. Meeting consumers’ expectations by improving communication and providing more clarity on the environmental performance of products.

"L’Oréal's commitment to be a co-founder of SPICE was driven by the willingness to collectively share on sustainable development progress and to allow cosmetics industry players to work more effectively together,” said L’Oréal’s Global Head of Packaging & Development Philippe Thuvien.

“Beyond the development of a robust methodology of environmental footprint assessment, SPICE will ultimately increase the eco-design of our products and will provide the clarity consumers expect to help them make more sustainable cosmetic purchases," added Philippe Bonningue, Head of Sustainable Packaging at L’Oréal.

To provide more clarity, understanding and transparency, SPICE will explore the following topics: recycled materials, bio-based plastics, finishing and decorating processes, tertiary packaging and distribution, reusable/rechargeable/refillable packaging and take-back programs, recycling disruptors, and end-of-life streams by country. Based on its expertise on product environmental performance and experience leading sector specific initiatives, Quantis will share its know-how and guide the discussions on the above topics to capture, consolidate and prioritize the members’ knowledge to enable them to define and deploy clear actions and developments.


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