“Sustainability is a journey and the most important thing is to get started.” Cosmetics Europe Deputy Director General

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Trogen said the industry must play its part through collective action and individual company efforts (Image: Getty)
Trogen said the industry must play its part through collective action and individual company efforts (Image: Getty)

Related tags Sustainability Sustainable packaging sustainable beauty Environment green beauty circular beauty circular economy Cosmetics

We spoke to Emma Trogen, Deputy Director General at Cosmetics Europe, about sustainability issues and the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.

CosmeticsDesign-Europe (CDE): What does Cosmetics Europe do and how does it work with sustainability in the industry?

Emma Trogen (ET): Cosmetics Europe is the European trade association for the cosmetics and personal care industry. Our members include cosmetics and personal care manufacturers, and associations representing our industry at national level, right across Europe.

Cosmetics Europe has constantly been evolving in its work on sustainability for the benefit of its members and the larger industry. Starting from the creation of internal guidelines on company ‘good sustainability practices’ and collective work on PEF-methodologies, we have advanced towards the creation and launch, in 2022, of a fully integrated, unprecedented initiative ‘Commit for Our Planet’ to support companies on their sustainability journey through a series of commitments, and a toolbox in the areas of Climate, Nature and Packaging.  

CDE: What are some of the most pressing issues facing the industry in terms of sustainability?

ET: The cosmetics industry must play its part – through collective action and individual company efforts – towards the globally set goals of achieving more sustainable production and consumption. Focus should be on the areas identified as the hot spots for cosmetics, such as biodiversity, water use and consumption, packaging, while ensuring that supply, production and distribution processes become carbon-neutral.  

CDE: What are some innovative solutions to these issues?

ET: As a trade association, the strength of Cosmetics Europe is to support and promote the collective industry effort towards a more sustainable production and consumption of cosmetics products.
In December 2022, Cosmetics Europe launched Commit for Our Planet​, ​an ambitious set of commitments with the aim of encouraging all cosmetics and personal care companies to take part in a joint industry effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improve packaging solutions and act for nature.

Through the EBS Consortium​ the industry is actively seeking to develop an environmental impact assessment and scoring system for cosmetic products, thereby encouraging further eco-design of cosmetics products and a transparent system to encourage consumers to make sustainable choices.

Significant collective efforts have also been made to shape the future of sustainable cosmetics packaging through the SPICE​ initiative.

CDE: You’ll be presenting at the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetic Summit​ in Paris between 30th​ October and 1st​ November. What will you be speaking about?

ET: The audience will be reminded of the importance of collective and individual company actions around the hot spots identified where the cosmetics industry needs to take its responsibility and concrete steps to preserve biodiversity, reduce impact on water and land, use more sustainable packaging and overall reduce its carbon emissions.  

The presentation will also stress that sustainability is a journey for a company and that the most important thing is to get started and clearly identify an action plan that works for an individual company. Some examples and best practices will be shared with the audience as inspiration, with a focus on initiatives around biodiversity.

CDE: What do you hope attendees will gain from attending the conference and your presentation at this year’s summit?

ET: I hope that the attendees will get inspired to start or continue on their sustainability journey – to define a workplan with achievable goals. I also hope that attendees can get an understanding of the upcoming regulatory environment, so that they can assess the impact on their business and adapt accordingly.  

CDE: What are you most looking forward to in the coming year regarding innovations in sustainable practices in cosmetic and personal care product manufacturing?

ET: The cosmetics industry is very innovative and is working towards finding green solutions to producing more sustainable products. This relates both to the ingredients and the packaging used, as well as improving production processes and supply-chain management.

CDE: Anything else you wish to mention?

ET: Cosmetics Europe will continue to support its members and the larger industry on their sustainability journey. This will be done through further collective action and support, for example through various scientific projects, together with companies and consortia, to constantly increase the sustainability of our products.   

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