The beauty majors initially announced plans to form the consortium back in September 2021, with Henkel, L’Oréal, LVMH, Natura &Co and Unilever spearheading the formation. Executives from each company at the time told CosmeticsDesign-Europe developing an industry-wide environmental impact system was critical for the sustainable future of cosmetics.
Now made up of 36* large and small companies and associations spanning four continents, the founding brands said the consortium was “truly global and inclusive”, though hopes were that even more companies and associations would join in time.
“The Consortium is open to all cosmetics and personal care companies, regardless of their size or resources (...) All companies will benefit from the pre-existing work and are invited to contribute with their own experience.”
*EcoBeauty Consortium members as of February 2022: Amorepacific, Babor, Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive, Cosmébio, COSMED, Cosmetic Valley, Cosmetics Europe, cosnova, Coty, The Estée Lauder Companies, Eugène Perma, FEBEA, The Fragrance Creators Association, Henkel, IKW Beauty Care, The International Fragrance Association, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., JUST International AG, Kao, L’Oréal Groupe, LVMH, Nafigate, NAOS, Natrue, Natura &Co, NOHBA, Oriflame, P&G, Paragon Nordic, Puig, PZ Cussons, Shiseido, Sisley, STANPA, Unilever.
Prototype scoring system by end of 2022
The founding members said all 36 consortium members had now started to work together in thematic working groups to launch a prototype environmental impact footprinting and scoring system. These groups and all consortium members were working with, and would continue to work with, sustainability consultancy Quantis and consult external experts, including scientists, academics, and NGOs, throughout the process to ensure the system was “as inclusive as possible”.
The initial assessment and scoring system prototype would be published by the end of 2022, with all work verified by independent parties, and used on a “strictly voluntary basis” by consortium participants and other interested parties. The brand-agnostic scoring system would firstly focus on a selection of beauty product categories but would have “global scope” from the offset, the group said.
Consortium members were aiming to achieve four key goals: to develop a common method for measuring environmental impacts throughout the lifecycle of beauty products; create a common database; offer a common assessment tool; and establish a harmonised scoring system.
Responding to ‘growing consumer demand’ in beauty
The overall aim of the scoring system was to help provide beauty consumers with “clear, transparent, and comparable environmental impact information, based on a common science-based methodology”, according to the founding members.
Joachim Kremer, senior manager of global sustainability at Henkel Beauty Care, said it was important consumers could compare “like-for-life products across different brands” and make “informed purchasing decisions”. Alexandra Palt, executive VP and chief corporate responsibility officer at L’Oréal, agreed, noting there was “growing consumer demand” for greater transparency around the environmental impact of cosmetic products.
The founding members said the system would, importantly, provide “greater transparency” on all aspects of a cosmetic product – formula, packaging and usage. The launch was also timely, they said, given 42% of global consumers were interested in buying brands that concentrated on circular and sustainable practices, according to a recent report from the Capgemini Research Institute.
Recent consumer research from GlobalData also showed rising interest in carbon footprint claims and a more generally heightened concern around climate change. One of WGSN’s beauty ‘personas’ to watch in 2023 was also ‘refillutionaries’ – ethical consumers looking for alternative beauty products and business models that could drive positive change, including refills, recyclables and solid formats.
CosmeticsDesign-Europe highlighted the ‘Refill Revolution’ as a key beauty trend to watch in 2022 as consumers across the EMEA region signalled they were ready to shift to refill models in beauty.