THE WHATAlthough most companies are not committed to sustainability, they do pay lip service to it. However, CPG success is dependent on being planet-friendly. There are still those who resist.
THE DETAILSRevlon is in the former camp, but its sustainability promises are limited to a responsible-sourcing policy that dates back to 2017. We have reported on zero eco initiatives by the company this year. Could it be coincidence that the company is still recovering from the ravages from the pandemic? Although there has been some restructuring, could we expect to hear more on the sustainability front for 2022? Revlon must be fair when he says that it is easy to lose sight on the larger picture when you are in firefighting mode.
Lauder was quiet mid-year on the environment front, but Q4 saw big headlines as it achieved net zero emissions. It also joined the Pulpex consortium to help develop paper bottle packaging.
While it was struggling to recover from the pandemic-induced slump, Shiseido was also quiet on sustainability issues. The Japanese beauty brand Shiseido started to catch up in June by establishing a Sustainable Technology Acceleration Department that would oversee the development of ecofriendly packaging.
Even if you’re late to the party, or just pause, actions speak louder that words, especially when those words become meaningless. We saw a few companies being exposed for greenwashing this yea: Innisfree was caught out for its plastic paper bottle. AmorePacific, the parent company of Innisfree, unveiled a new sustainability agenda shortly after. It promised to reduce the use plastics in product packaging.
Ulta Beauty, a US company, was fined US$75,000 in September for dumping hazardous waste. This was just a month after it announced its revised strategic targets, which further strengthened its commitment to being earth-friendly.
It is crucial that beauty walks the talk. The future-proofing of products is essential. That means doing the right things right from the point of purchase all the way to the end. While educational campaigns are great, passing the buck to consumers will not work. Beauty must practice what it preaches.
THE WHY AND WHAT NEXTSustainability has gone from a niche item to become a business necessity. It’s understandable that many are struggling to keep up. Coty is a good example of this. Those who make the planet their priority will reap the rewards. In just three quarters of a year, the US beauty industry giant, Coty, has turned plunging revenues (-16% in Q2 2021 to revenue gains) into luxury, sustainability, and skin care.