Sustainability: a basic for the cosmetics industry
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The notion of sustainable development involves multiple aspects conveyed very differently by companies. The last annual Sustainable Cosmetics Summit held in Paris in early November 2017 was an opportunity to make an update on what sustainability is for cosmetics today, and to show it is no longer a choice: committing to the environment has become an obligation.
Amarjit Sahota, President of event organizer Ecovia Intelligence (formerly Organic Monitor), introduced the two days of conferences by explaining what the concept of sustainability involves for cosmetics.
First, he reminded everyone of the definition of sustainable development set up by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987: ‘Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
It is usually admitted that sustainable development is the combination of three pillars: the social, environmental, and economic aspects.
To Amarjit Sahota, the first concrete aim for the cosmetics industry is the need to reduce its environmental impacts.
He mentioned several aspects involved in this:
• Ethical ingredient sourcing
• Organic and sustainable production methods
• Green chemistry-based formulations
• Sustainable packaging
• Thrifty water management
• Carbon footprint reduction
• Better waste management
‘It is essential to start by measuring your own environmental impacts,’ Amarjit Sahota emphasized, ‘you cannot reduce what you cannot measure.’
The first step towards more sustainability for a company is to collect the data needed for measuring the impacts, and the main tool for it is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): it takes into account all the ...