Prioritizes soil as much as skin: B corp coalition aiming to collaborate on improving industry

By Ravyn Cullor

- Last updated on GMT

The B Beauty Coalition launched in January and is looking to bring forward sustainability plans in the early second quarter. ©  Getty Images - ULADZIMIR CYARGEENKA
The B Beauty Coalition launched in January and is looking to bring forward sustainability plans in the early second quarter. © Getty Images - ULADZIMIR CYARGEENKA

Related tags B Corp B corporation Sustainability Recycling Supply chain Social responsibility

While B corps are generally working towards improved social and environmental impacts in their industry, the newly formed B Beauty Coalition believes open collaboration could mean real progress.

The coalition​ was officially launched in January and now includes 30 companies, with more reportedly in the works to join, spanning many global markets. 

Shaun Russell, the founder of Skandinavisk which is one of the six founding brands of the coalition, said the concept is to bring together individual B corps to develop and research plans for improving different areas of social and environmental impact in the beauty industry.

The idea behind the coalition came originally from the vision of former CEO of Italian haircare brand Davines Paolo Braguzzi, Russell said. 

“Your fellow B corps almost become fellow travelers on your own journey and help each other,”​ Russell said. “Paulo felt that in the beauty industry, which is often considered quite irresponsible for some of the issues that we all face, both socially and environmentally, perhaps some form of alliances amongst B corps operating in the beauty space would be something of benefit, not just to those B corps, but also to the industry and the buying public as a whole.”

Banding B corps together

While each individual B corps can make their own pushes for improvement, the coalition has selected three areas, ingredient sourcing, packaging and logistics in transportation, which could use collaborative plans.

The coalition works by creating working groups on those areas, chaired or co-chaired by participating B corps with members from as many companies as want to be in any of the groups, and creating plans to improve those areas. Russell said in early quarter two this year, those working groups will present the plans and begin collecting data on their implementation in order to publish the results.

“We essentially want to be a kind of open-source coalition of transparency, whereby not only are we just an internal group of B corps that are sharing knowledge, but we're using that in order to innovate within those three areas, and then publicly declare the outcome of those innovations,”​ Russell said. 

He also said B Beauty is different from some existing initiatives on sustainability because the coalition isn’t aiming to score each other but to innovate on dealing with a sustainable supply chain together.

The B corps are also from many markets, including the US, Europe and Asia, meaning sustainability solutions and regulations can be shared across the globe, Russell said.

Full supply chain considerations

Russell said sustainability conversations can often focus on the end consumer, but improvement of social and economic impact penetrates all levels of the beauty industry supply chain which need to be addressed.

“In our manifesto, we say that we envision a new approach to beauty that prioritizes soil as much as skin, nature and the protection of it as much as natural ingredients, evidence as much as ego, and impact as much as performance,”​ Russell said.

As part of that, the coalition aims to include all types of companies that can tangibly impact the beauty supply chain, including the customer-facing companies and the back end of the industry.

He said the coalition is looking to make supply chain improvements, backed by data and research, not for a short-term optics push but to improve each other's B corps and possibly push other brands and companies to improve as well.

"We're not doing this for any short-term profiling opportunity, we're doing this genuinely because we believe the beauty industry needs change,”​ Russell said. “We all meet certain criteria of social and environmental impact, we all feel we could be better, and we're all in it for the long run.”

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