‘No time to waste’: British Beauty Council to form Sustainable Beauty Coalition in 2021

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Sustainable Beauty Coalition will be made up of 'as many different facets' of industry as possible and tasked with spearheading industry-wide action and change (Getty Images)
The Sustainable Beauty Coalition will be made up of 'as many different facets' of industry as possible and tasked with spearheading industry-wide action and change (Getty Images)

Related tags: British Beauty Council, Uk, UK beauty, sustainable beauty, sustainable cosmetics, Environment, Climate change, climate crisis, Collaboration

The British Beauty Council is finalising plans to form a Sustainable Beauty Coalition early next year that will be charged with accelerating collaborative change across the UK’s beauty sector.

Initially outlined in its Courage to Change​ sustainability report​, the goal of the coalition would be to co-create an overarching framework for action that the British beauty industry could collectively follow to advance its sustainability goals. The coalition would also be responsible for commissioning reports; undertaking consumer communication campaigns; coordinating fundraising commitments; and developing an Ambassadors programme to empower industry to actively participate in sustainable change.

“In short, we need a Sustainable Beauty Coalition, spearheaded by the British Beauty Council, to address the climate and ecological crisis,”​ the British Beauty Council said in the report.

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe, Anna Teal, advisory board member and founding patron of the British Beauty Council, said details of the coalition were currently being finalised.

“The intention is that over the remaining part of this calendar year, there will be something presented to the British Beauty Council board for their sign off, so we can start in earnest and form the coalition at the start of next year,”​ Teal said.

Sustainable Beauty Coalition to represent ‘different facets’ of industry

The British Beauty Council was eager to get everything approved in the coming weeks, she said, because there was “no time to waste”​ when it came to sustainability given today’s climate emergency.

Teal said the coalition would represent “as many different facets of the beauty sector as possible” ​– from manufacturing and logistics, to brands, tech, services and even consumers. 

Anna Teal, advisory board member and founding patron of the British Beauty Council
Anna Teal, advisory board member and founding patron of the British Beauty Council

This is what we think is making this unique and different to efforts that have previously been undertaken; it’s the breadth and rallying cry for the full remit of the sector.”

“…There are lots of individuals, in particularly large organisations, with fantastic sustainability efforts, but wouldn’t it be incredible if some of those organisations spoke to each other and collaborated more to make sure the benefit of their own sustainable initiatives or technologies or innovations could be stretched more broadly? Particularly amongst SMEs who really struggle to get the innovation, find it affordable, or even have the knowledge or know-how.”

Asked how coalition members would be selected or how industry professionals could participate, Teal said this aspect was yet to be decided, though it would be balanced and organised in a way that ensured representation from all of industry.

‘Collaboration is key’ for accelerated sustainable beauty change

Discussing how the idea to form a beauty coalition came about, Teal said it happened during the months of research conducted for the British Beauty Council’s sustainability report.

“As we were undertaking the research for the report, having interviewed many knowledgeable individuals from within and outside the sector, one of the consistent themes that kept coming up is this idea that collaboration is key in order to drive the effort forward at a more accelerated pace.”

A quick look at other industries, she said, including fashion and food, also proved that coalitions and collaborations worked well in organising sustainable change.

“That’s not to say that collaboration doesn’t exist at all [in beauty], because the report does call out some fantastic efforts already being undertaken. But what the Beauty Council is definitely signalling is: more should be done and can be done.”

Understanding the ‘true economic impact’ of sustainable beauty

Teal said the coalition would also spearhead an important next-phase in sustainable beauty growth – conducting an economic study to evaluate the “true economic impact”​ of sustainable business.

“In truth, outside of the soundbites we were able to reference [in the sustainability report] through weeks of research with experts, it would definitely start to point to the fact there is not enough understanding as to the business case for this; which is why we’re very keen to move into that as a follow-on report – to help businesses understand that,”​ she said.

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