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Green is the New Black

April 17, 2012

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit to address benchmarking eco initiatives.

Cosmetic and personal care companies are investing in sustainability as the ylook to shore up their green credentials. The beauty industry has historically received negative media publicity for unethical business practices, however green appears to have become the new black.

As will be shown at next month's Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York CIty, one of the major issues companies face is measuring the environmental footprint of their products. Many cosmetic companies like Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal are using lifecycle analysis (LCA) tools; however, they are discovering multi-ingredient personal care products often have complex footprints that are difficult to accurately measure. The lack of traceability in supply chains is leading new certification trading schemes to emerge.

Some cosmetic companies are going beyond green formulations and ingredients when considering sustainability. Avon has implemented an ‘efficiency drive’ to utilize its’ resources more effectively. By reducing packaging, paper usage and investing in green buildings, it has lowered its environmental impact and improved its margins.

With a growing number of cosmetic and personal care companies receiving accolade for their green initiatives, questions about benchmarking are emerging. Do initiatives tackling climate change take precedent over biodiversity and ethical sourcing? Do formulations containing natural ingredients take priority over the principles of green chemistry? Lastly, with industry lists only considering large publicly-listed companies, how do privately-owned natural / organic cosmetic companies compare? Such issues will be debated at the North American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.

The North American edition will take place at InterContinental New
York Barclay hotel on May 17-19 2012.

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