Like everyone, we want a better planet, for our own health and wellbeing, and that of our families. Striving for a better planet through sustainable development is good for business too. Sustainability involves meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own, based on three pillars: economic development, environmental protection and social responsibility.
We work hard across all three.
1. We generate economic benefit through high value jobs and growth.
2. We reduce our environmental footprint through voluntary and self-regulatory initiatives, like lowering our CO2 emissions by reducing energy consumption, water consumption and waste generation throughout product life cycles.
3. We support the communities in which our products are manufactured across the entire value chain through initiatives in health education, fair trade, health research and provision of education.
Cosmetics Europe promotes sustainable development amongst our members by providing guidance on voluntary measures to improve sustainability practices. We have developed documents for members including ‘Good Sustainability Practice for the Cosmetics Industry’, which provides practical advice on developing an effective sustainability strategy and ‘Ten Steps to Sustainability: all you need to know and do for a successful start’, which assists companies (particularly SMEs) that are commencing their sustainability efforts.
The European Commission conducted a series of pilots on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) of organisations and products to guide future policy proposals. In parallel, Cosmetics Europe studied the PEF of shampoo. Cosmetics Europe followed as much as possible the Commission’s guidance, methodology and timing. The results were published as an article, titled Developing Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for Shampoos: The Basis for Comparable Life Cycle by L. Golsteijn et al. in the Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management Journal in August 2018. The outcomes of the Cosmetics Europe project include a communication component, a video, that is intended to be a first step towards raising public awareness of the environmental footprint of shampoo and outlining ways in which companies and consumers can reduce this footprint. For more information on the project, all the Shampoo PEF study reports are available here.
The occurrence of plastic debris in the marine environment is an issue of increasing public concern. Although the use of solid plastic particles in cosmetic and personal care products is limited compared to other industries, Cosmetics Europe has published a specific recommendation for companies to discontinue their use in a number of products, so that we can play our part in helping to reduce the incidence of small plastic particles in water.
We are proud of the sustainable practices we have instituted and excited about future opportunities. Within many areas of sustainability, like resource efficiency and responsible sourcing, there are innumerable initiatives waiting to happen that will benefit our industry our consumers and the communities in which we live and work.