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Strategic Insights: CSR & Sustainability in the Beauty Industry

  • ID: 1557467
  • Report
  • May 2010
  • Region: Global
  • 70 Pages
  • Ecovia Intelligence
Practical Guide to CSR & Sustainability Initiatives

Green has become the new black in the beauty industry. It is not just important for cosmetic & ingredient companies to deliver sterling financial results, they must also be accountable for their social & environmental impacts.

This new strategic insights report looks at the growing importance of CSR & sustainability in the beauty industry. With the industry historically receiving heavy criticism for unethical and non-environmentally friendly business practices, cosmetic manufacturers and ingredient firms are increasingly focusing on CSR & sustainability to become 'good corporate citizens'. Some are falling over themselves to demonstrate their achievements.

With the use of case studies, this report looks at the various initiatives undertaken by beauty companies to reduce their social and environmental footprints. Most investment is going into greener formulations and packaging. Cosmetic companies are using natural, organic and / or fair trade ingredients to develop green formulations. Because of its high ecological footprint, companies are looking at innovative ways to reduce packaging: novel designs, upcycling, biopolymers, etc. Social initiatives, such as fair trade and corporate philanthropy are also being explored.

Details are given of various third party standards, indexes and labels for CSR & sustainability, as well as communication methods. Profiles are given of companies at the cutting edge of CSR & sustainability initiatives. Although natural & organic product companies are typically pioneers, larger conventional firms are stealing the limelight by more aggressive communication of their CSR activities.

This report is designed for beauty companies looking to invest in CSR & sustainability. By providing case studies and highlighting best-practices, it is a practical guide for cosmetic companies and ingredient firms.

CSR & Sustainability: How the Beauty Industry is Cleaning up

The beauty industry is cleaning up its image by investing in a raft of CSR & sustainability initiatives. Cosmetic companies have long received criticism for unethical and non-environmentally friendly business practices. Organic Monitor research finds that the industry is cleaning up, with some beauty companies and ingredient firms falling over themselves to communicate their green and ethical credentials.

In its new Strategic Insights report, Organic Monitor assesses CSR & Sustainability Initiatives in the Beauty Industry. The research finds that most investment is going into reducing the environmental footprint of cosmetic products by using greener formulations and sustainable packaging.

Packaging is receiving high interest because of its high ecological impact; companies are looking at biodegradable plastics, recycled materials and innovative ways to reduce packaging. The report gives case studies of companies undertaking novel techniques such as upcycling and lightweighting, as well as those using new packaging materials such as biopolymers and bamboo.

A major finding is that natural & organic cosmetic companies – many of which have sustainability built into their corporate DNA – are leading the way in terms of CSR & sustainability initiatives. The report highlights the achievements of the Brazilian company Natura, which has been championing environmental causes since its formation in 1969. It was the first major cosmetics company to become carbon neutral, offsetting its carbon emissions by reforestation of native tree species. Beraca, another Brazilian company, is also commended for its social & biodiversity investment projects in the Amazon. The report finds that although natural & organic product companies are typically pioneers, larger conventional firms are stealing the limelight by more aggressive communication of their CSR & sustainability activities.

By the use of case studies, Organic Monitor highlights the various methods of reducing the environmental and social impacts of cosmetics products and ingredients. The importance of ethical sourcing is making fair trade prominent, with a growing number of natural cosmetic and ingredient firms investing in grower projects in developing countries. Certification is a major barrier however, with many companies preferring to take the non-certified route because of bureaucracy and the limitations of fair trade standards. Corporate philanthropy is another area becoming important for some beauty companies wishing to ‘invest back’ into society.

Details are given of the various standards, certifications, labels and indexes for CSR and sustainability in the beauty industry. Natural & organic cosmetic standards have received most attention, however new schemes are emerging that look at the various dimensions of sustainability. Cradle to Cradle certification is becoming popular for companies such as Aveda and Kiehl’s as it gives a life-cycle analysis of cosmetic products.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
Introduction & Scope


Part I: Drivers

Part II: Reducing the Environmental Impact of Cosmetics

Part III: Social Dimensions

Part IV: Standards, Indexes, Certification and Labels

Part V: Communicating CSR

Part VI: Case Studies

Part VII: Criticisms and Concerns


List of Selected Companies
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown