Sustainable cosmetics in 2017: what does the year ahead hold?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Sustainable cosmetics in 2017: what does the year ahead hold?

Related tags Cosmetics Organic monitor

Organic Monitor, a specialist research and consulting company, has revealed its top predictions for the coming year in sustainable cosmetics.

The predictions span various areas for the industry, including natural and organics, certification and labelling, sourcing, claims, metrics, packaging and more.

We expect healthy growth to continue in the natural & organic cosmetics market, however more fragmentation in green certification schemes, and more eco-labels​,” the firm explains.

Here’s a roundup of the key predictions.

Natural & organic cosmetics

Healthy growth is continuing in the global market when it comes to this trend, according to Organic Monitor, and this is set to continue with a particular emphasis on Asia.

“North America and Europe have the largest markets, however the highest growth is envisaged in Asia. Greenwashing will remain a major industry issue, with many brands opting for certification to legitimise their natural and organic marketing claims.”

Green certification schemes

Natural and organic will remain the main certification schemes for green cosmetics, the firm predicts, however, fragmentation is expected to continue.

“Organic Monitor finds there are currently over 30 such standards for cosmetics and personal care products, with most in Europe​,” it observes.

Ethical labels

The number of ethical labels is predicted to rise this year, with more crossovers from the food industry.

“The ‘free-from’ craze is expected to continue; expect to see more gluten-free and non-GMO claims on product packs, as well as the traditional paraben-free, silicone-free, SLS-free claims.​”

Sustainable sourcing

More investment will go into sustainable sourcing of natural ingredients, according to the firm. “Organic personal care brands such as Neal’s Yard Remedies and Weleda have been the frontrunners with such projects; expect to see more large cosmetic firms and ingredient firms make sustainable sourcing commitments​.”

Green materials

The range of green materials will expand this year, the firm believes. A number of renewable feedstock is now being used to develop green cosmetic ingredients: algae, food waste / byproducts, tobacco, as well as traditional plant-based materials.

Sustainability metrics

Metrics will continue to gain prominence as large cosmetic firms look to measure and reduce their environmental footprints, the firm says. “Carbon footprints are the most widely used, however more companies are likely to consider energy, water, resource usage, waste and social parameters.”

Sustainable packaging

The use of eco-design approach and sustainable materials is likely to rise as cosmetics and personal care brands look to reduce their packaging impacts, suggests the firm in its final prediction.

“More companies are expected to follow Aveda and use recycled materials; others will look to close their packaging loops by finding new applications for their packaging waste.”

Organic Monitor notes that these topics will all be in focus at the company's upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York.

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