From Sleeping Beauty to Sustainable Beauty: How the beauty industry is waking up
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is the idea that what one person may find beautiful, another may not. But what if that beauty is sustainable, environmentally friendly and comes with a positive impact on the world? That sounds like beauty you cannot argue with.
Here at HRA, we work with food, drink, health and beauty brands and we’ve noticed that as the conversation around the boom of BCorp continues, it’s not only food and drink brands that are turning their businesses into a force for good. The latest industry to make their mark on the BCorp world is the beauty industry.
The launch of the BCorp Beauty Coalition
At the start of January, B Lab, the non-profit network behind the BCorp certification, announced the launch of the BCorp Beauty Coalition. This is an alliance of 26 different BCorp beauty brands from across 8 countries and 3 continents. Members of the collaboration include The Body Shop, Arbonne, Rituals Cosmetics and many more.
Coining the slogan #BeautyForGood, the aim of the alliance is to improve the sustainability standards of the beauty industry. The 26 businesses currently involved have pledged to collaborate and communicate with each other, sharing ideas and discoveries on social and environmental best practice, as well as how best to raise awareness among consumers.
It’s great to see beauty leaders from around the world take an active role in improving the industry’s environmental and social footprint. But why does such a coalition need to be formed in the first place?
Here are a few of the issues that need to be tackled:
Although not toxic to us, many beauty products contain ingredients which, if they make their way into our environment, have detrimental effects. As most of our beauty products will make their way down the drain in some way or other, the majority of ingredients within them will find their way into our aquatic ecosystems. Chemicals such as parabens and sulphates and many more, have been found to cause long term damage to marine animals. And that’s not to mention how they pollute our air and soil as well.
The beauty industry is no different to any other industry when it comes to plastic waste. Stats suggest that globally it produces 120 billion units of packaging a year (Inside Packaging, 2021), with the majority of this being single-use plastic. Furthermore, sustainable packaging has become a large issue for luxury brands, as consumers have come to expect glossy and refined finishes, which often can only be achieved through the use of non-recyclable plastic or heavy, cosmetic glass. And at this point we don’t need to go into the negative impact single-use plastic and non-recyclable material has on the environment.
The creation and transportation of beauty products across the world is a big emitter of greenhouse gases. This issue is particularly relevant as consumers become more enticed by products with unique ingredients that may only be found in certain countries, such as minerals from the Dead Sea or hemp oils from Canada. Thus, with many businesses exporting their products across the globe the environmental footprint of their supply chain is less than desirable.
Greenwashing is a technique where businesses deceptively market themselves and their products to be eco-friendly and sustainable, when in fact they are neither. Often businesses spend more money on painting this image of themselves than they do trying to adapt their practices and products.
The BCorp Beauty Coalition: Waking up the industry
With these issues in mind the BCorp Beauty Coalition is a welcomed addition to the beauty sphere. This alliance should set an example to the rest of industry, encouraging businesses both big and small to lower their environmental and social impact. Is the beauty industry finally waking up? Only time will tell if this is the start of something bigger.
How we can help you
Since achieving our own BCorp accreditation at HRA we love not only to hold ourselves accountable for how we impact the world, but also help others accomplish the same. Our passion for being part of the #ForceForGood movement and personal experience of the BCorp process perfectly positions us to help other FMCG businesses start their BCorp journey, or assess their sustainability options.
Interested to learn more?
If you want help with starting your BCorp journey, or to continue the chat about the sustainability movement, please email [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!