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 is conducting a pilot on the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) that will guide future policy proposals. In parallel, Cosmetics Europe has studied the PEF of shampoo. We followed the Commission’s guidance, methodology and timing. The first draft was subject to an industry-wide consultation mid-year, and external stakeholders were consulted on the 2nd draft at the end of the year. We aim to finalise the project in 2016.
This project’s final output will comprise a communication component that is intended as 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.
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.