Written by on . Pegasus.

Has ‘Sustainability’ Become Just Another Beauty Buzz-Word?

This month, Pegasus attended two beauty industry trade shows, both very different in approach and audience: Natural & Organic Products Europe and In Cosmetics Global. Sustainability was high on the agenda at both, writes Holly Ford, Senior Account Director in Health Beauty. 

Consumer understanding and awareness of sustainability is increasing, informing more and more purchasing decisions. So it’s important that we ask just how it impacts the beauty industry and consider what the major environmental and social issues our clients in this sector face.

Sustainable Innovation Manager at L’Oreal Dr Michel Philippe had the toughest job on the ‘In Cosmetics’ panel in answering for the world’s largest cosmetics company. His primary point was well made: that there are many pieces to the sustainability puzzle, and the industry must collect more data and better understand where it is now if it is to improve and reduce its environmental and social impact in future. 

The chair of the talk, Founder and President of Ecovia Intelligence Amarjit Sahota, asked a very important question in response. Data is of course a key element, but insight is expensive and are the giants of the beauty industry prepared to work together to share some of that cost? We might also ask how high sustainability comes in a long list of consumer demands that include high performance, innovative formats and competitive pricing?

Jayn Sterland is Managing Director of Weleda UK, a brand that has long established itself as a champion of ethical beauty. She spoke at both round tables, and was first to raise her concerns that ‘sustainability’ becomes a marketing trend and a tick box for brands hoping to appeal to a more conscientious consumer. She spoke passionately about how sustainability should be evident in every action a business makes and highlighted that at Weleda, this means an equal distribution of value along the supply chain. She used the brand’s recent ‘Arnica Project’ in Romania as a case in point; since 2007, the company has worked with rural communities in the Carpathian Mountains to help them to become more sustainable.

Naturelab was one of the trends we included in our recent Future of Healthy Beauty report and its theme of provenance and traceability, we believe, will only grow in importance. In a world in which the educated consumer is increasingly focused on concepts such as ‘farm to face’ or ‘seed to skin’, and where the manufacturer is responsible for every part of the production process, sustainability must surely rise to the very top of the global beauty agenda.

is an Associate Director in our Healthy Beauty team. She has 12 years of brand communications experience in health, nutrition, FMCG and beauty.