Time to embrace sustainability as a reality rather than an industry buzzword

By Andrew McDougall and Katie Nichol

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sustainability Economic growth Cosmetics

Bertil Heerink, director general, Colipa
Bertil Heerink, director general, Colipa
Sustainability is not a fashion or a buzzword; it is a new reality that the cosmetics industry in Europe must embrace, according to Colipa director general Bertil Heerink.

Heerink spoke with CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com ahead of his opening keynote at this year’s Sustainable CosmeticsSummit, entitled 'Sustainability, A New Paradigm for the Beauty Industry'.

“Colipa and its member companies are committed to building an innovative, sustainable, competitive and respected cosmetics industry in Europe that best serves consumers,”​ he said.

“To this end, awareness is being raised, mentalities are evolving, technical and communication projects are continuously being launched, and the credibility of the industry in the political arena is increasing.”

Gaining prominence

Sustainability is gaining prominence; however this year’s summit will focus in particular on how it is changing the face of the beauty industry, looking at the impact of sustainability on ingredients, formulations, product development and marketing.

“The cosmetics industry is a significant contributor to people's well being and health, a major employer in Europe and the world's largest exporter of cosmetic products. In order to continue to improve people's lives and to contribute to economic growth in Europe, sustainability is the only way,”​ explained Heerink.

Heerink explained the main challenges for those developing and implementing a sustainability programme in the beauty industry are: helping mentalities evolve; promoting life cycle thinking; developing harmonised methodologies; and providing companies with the tools they need.

“They can be overcome by targeted and repeated communication efforts, coordinated work on methodologies, development of practical and accessible tools and guidance materials,”​ he stated.

Being sustainable and innovative is possible

The Colipa director added that the beauty industry can continue to be innovative and incorporate sustainability with it.

Last month, at Luxe Pack Monaco, Marc Rosen hosted a session on innovation, sustainability and creativity, echoing Heerink’s views that these terms can be used simultaneously and are not mutually exclusive.

“Innovation and sustainability are not contradictory; they can be mutually stimulating, working in a synergistic way. Many big and small have launched such programmes,”​ Heerink said.

Organised by Organic Monitor, the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit​ is taking place in Paris on 28-30th November, 2011.

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