Improving the beauty industry’s impact on earth

The roadmap to a more positive future for the beauty industry.

by Jayn Sterland, managing director, Weleda UK

Jayn Sterland will lead a session at in-cosmetics Formulation Summit on Tuesday, November 17. She gave esprit an exclusive sneek peek at her presentation, ‘The Courage to Change: A roadmap to a more positive future for the beauty industry’s impact on the planet and climate change’ ahead of the semiar.

At the in-Cosmetics Formulation Summit 2020, I will be sharing a roadmap to a more positive future for the beauty industry and how it can reduce its impact on the planet and climate change. This will be supported by the latest findings from the sustainability report ‘The Courage to Change’, commissioned by the British Beauty Council.

Our life on earth is sustained through a thin layer of soil, sometimes only centimetres in places, which is supported by the weather, water, rivers, oceans, and the air we breathe. Everything we make and create comes from this finite resource and for years we have regarded the earth as ours to plunder and use as we see fit.  We are currently using up resources at a rate of 1.7 planets a year and without change are heading for a significant temperature rise of up to 4 degrees Celsius by 2100 – at which life as we know it will cease. All this has occurred since the Industrial Revolution and there is no time to lose in fixing it.

How does this affect us and the beauty industry? ‘The Courage to Change’ report by The British Beauty Council identifies many areas where the beauty industry today is falling short and the key priorities it needs to address, including:

  • The urgent need to switch from unsustainable ingredients
  • Reducing disposable plastic and move to fully circular packaging
  • Products that require less water to use and to make
  • Fully biodegradable ingredients that do not pollute watercourses and destroy natural habitats
  • An end to habitat loss through deforestation to grow crops and the extensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and GMO

The report also commissioned a consumer insight report, featuring over 3,000 interviews to identify attitudes. The results clearly articulated a strong desire for more sustainable beauty products. The message is clear: to thrive in the future it pays to invest in sustainability now, not just for the future of our planet but for the future of our businesses. A sort of ‘climate push and consumer pull’.

The report outlines a future of brands of ‘purpose’: businesses whose purpose goes beyond making money but those who dare to make a difference like Weleda. Those who see the benefit of investing in sustainability, supply chain transparency, product certification, auditing, and plan in terms of decades, not years. This is positive news, but this will not be enough. The whole industry must begin to set aside its petty competition and collaborate to solve the big conundrums facing it, like the issue of plastic packaging and subsequent ocean microplastic contamination. We must work together to establish biodiverse-rich farming projects and become collectively more transparent to the consumer. Ultimately, we must give consumers what they desire, which is ethically made, safe, effective skincare that doesn’t cost the earth.

As the CEO of the British Beauty Council, Millie Kendall points out: “We must work together to make this change (happen) and we must work with the urgency that the situation demands. We know now that extraordinary change can happen fast. It will take commitment, courage and collaboration if we are to reach our highest goals.”

For more information and to register to attend in-cosmetics Formulation Summit 2020, visit: https://summit.in-cosmetics.com/

Jayn Sterland, managing director, Weleda UK.

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