Hardly a week goes by without a clutch of brands releasing a new sustainability or environmental strategy, product or development.

The problem with individual brand or company statements is that they run the risk of being so-called echo communication. Consumers have little idea of what each brand is actually contributing to sustainability and overall protection of the environment.

To achieve maximum cut-through and transparency, five of the biggest players in the global beauty industry – L’Oréal, LVMH (the owner of Sephora and Parfums Christian Dior), Brazilian giant Natura & Co (the owner of Avon International and Aesop), Unilever and Henkel (the maker of Schwarzkopf) have teamed up to form a consortium to co-develop an industry-wide environmental assessment and scoring system for cosmetics.

It’s not an exclusive tie-up and all other cosmetic companies worldwide will be able to join the initiative and help to design a “brand agnostic” system of assessing and scoring environmental impact through science-based methodologies

The founding multinationals will pool their expertise to focus on four major principles: a common method of measuring environmental impacts throughout the product cycle, a common data base of environmental impacts for standard ingredients and raw materials, a common tool to calculate environmental impact per product and a harmonising scoring system that provides easy comparisons for consumers.

Of critical importance to the success of the project is the fact that statements and findings will be examined by independent assessors – not just by the beauty companies themselves. External scientists, academics and NGOs will be consulted at every level to ensure the integrity of all processes.

Nicolas Hieronimus, the CEO of L’Oréal, says that consumers worldwide now expect full transparency from brands and companies.

The five majors want to on-board as many beauty and cosmetic companies as possible to develop a gold standard global system that consumers can rely on.

The invitation is open to all cosmetics companies worldwide, including Australian brands, trade associations and other interested parties. For further information, email: [email protected].

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