Sustainable Glamour: Navigating the Beauty Industry’s Role in Climate Change
The beauty industry has come under scrutiny for its environmental impact in recent years, which is unsurprising, given that it produces an estimated 120 billion pieces of packaging each year.
As consumer awareness about climate change grows, beauty brands are facing increasing pressure to adopt eco-friendly practices.
But it’s this awareness that’s nudging the industry towards a greener future, with more brands switching to sustainable practices over time.
Here’s how the rest of the beauty industry can follow suit.
The Beauty Industry’s Carbon Footprint
The beauty industry’s impact on the environment is significant, ranging from resource extraction to packaging waste. Roughly 30% of a beauty product’s carbon footprint comes from extracting raw materials.
Deforestation for sourcing ingredients is also a key area of concern, as well as the carbon emissions generated from production processes.
As well as environmental factors, there are a number of ethical concerns that consumers are raising with the beauty industry, with many brands still testing on animals and lacking safe working conditions for workers.
Thankfully, the industry is showing signs of a greener future, thanks to an onslaught of consumer pressure. A recent CleanHub survey of clean beauty consumers found that 70% now delve into a company’s eco-credentials before purchasing a beauty product — suggesting that brands really need to step up if they want to increase profits.
Mitigating the Impact: What Beauty Brands Can Do
To combat climate change, beauty brands are exploring sustainable practices to limit their environmental footprint. These initiatives include:
- Sustainable sourcing — Brands are increasingly focusing on responsibly sourced ingredients, opting for suppliers committed to ethical and eco-friendly practices. This reduces deforestation and encourages biodiversity conservation.
- Eco-friendly packaging — Roughly 81% of shoppers assert that brands should actively reduce plastic packaging. Thankfully, the beauty industry is transitioning towards more recyclable and biodegradable packaging materials, minimizing the impact of plastic waste. Some brands have also embraced refillable packaging options to reduce single-use plastic.
- Energy-efficient manufacturing — Beauty brands are investing in energy-efficient production processes, utilizing renewable energy sources to power their facilities. This not only reduces carbon emissions but also sets an example for other industries.
Leading by Example: Beauty Brands Making Strides
Several beauty brands are leading the charge in adopting sustainable practices, including:
To make its oil-based products on a large scale, Sunday Riley deals with massive amounts of seeds. Oil represents a small fraction of each seed’s makeup, leaving 90% of the material susceptible to waste. But instead of leaving this to go to waste Sunday Riley turns it into animal food supplements and natural fertilizer.
The company has also been making sustainable swaps in its packaging since 2020.
The Body Shop
Long known for its commitment to ethical practices, The Body Shop has actively campaigned against deforestation and introduced a range of sustainable packaging initiatives. They promote the use of Community Fair Trade ingredients, supporting local communities and biodiversity.
Aveda, a pioneer in natural and eco-friendly beauty, has been using 100% wind power in its manufacturing facilities since 2007. The brand focuses on utilizing plant-based ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging.
The beauty industry’s journey towards sustainability is gaining momentum, with brands taking significant steps to limit their impact on the planet.
And given that 63% of consumers deem clean beauty as ‘extremely or very important’ when selecting cosmetics, according to CleanHub’s recent survey, brands are under more pressure than ever to make the switch to more sustainable practices.
By embracing responsible sourcing, eco-friendly packaging, and energy-efficient practices, beauty brands can play a vital role in the fight against climate change whilst also keeping customers happy.