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Industry won't stray from sustainability despite recession, say beauty packaging leaders

By Guy Montague-Jones , 16-Feb-2009

Sustainability can be expensive but leaders in the beauty packaging industry claim they cannot afford not to go green.

At the PCD Congress in Paris earlier this month Osnat Lustig, VP packaging development at Coty Beauty Europe, questioned what impact the recession would have on sustainability.

Lustig voiced the common fear that consumers may snub greener products when their wallets and purses are under threat, irrespective of how supportive of sustainability they may be when presented with a questionnaire.

Packaging companies are already under financial pressure in the current climate and could find themselves in trouble having invested in sustainability and paid the price for going green.

"Sustainability can be synonymous with saving"

But Michel Dupuis, senior vice president of purchasing and product development at Chanel, told CosmeticsDesign.com that the choice is not so stark.

DuPuis said: “Sustainability can be synonymous with saving. We can reduce the weight of packaging and therefore reduce the price and benefit the environment.”

Even company policies can be changed to reduce both budgets and environmental impact. Instead of driving big four wheel drive company cars and flying business class, DuPuis said company employees can drive smaller cars and fly economy.

Dupuis also said that consumers are concerned about the environment and increasingly aware of sustainability issues.

He therefore concluded optimistically saying “one way to get out of this crisis is to go with the sustainability concept.”

Meanwhile, Daniel Saksik, VP global luxury, at MeadWestvaco would not been drawn into speculation as to how the recession will affect consumer interest in sustainability.

Green goals will be pursued unabated

Saksik, nonetheless, insisted that the pursuit of green goals would continue unabated. He told CosmeticsDesign.com: “It is not going to slowdown the effort of this industry to bring sustainable products to the market.”

Sustainability is here to stay but in the depressed economic environment companies may concentrate their efforts on cost-friendly green measures.

Saksik said: “I really think that economic success and sustainability can work in parallel.”

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