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Why The Beauty Industry Needs A Green Makeover

Why The Beauty Industry Needs A Green Makeover

Demand for natural products is rising as consumer awareness grows, writes Aly Rahimtoola, MD of Harmony Commodities.

There is a lot of ugliness in the beauty industry and cosmetics companies everywhere, big and small, need to address the ethical, cultural, financial and environmental consequences their products have in the world, and take responsibility for it.

Going green is the only path to sustainability, and it should not be seen as a bane, but as a path filled with opportunities and advantages. The development of new products and processes with environmental concern in mind can spur more innovation.

Sourcing ingredients from certified providers can spur greener product development while supporting smaller communities. Using recycled and biodegradable material in packaging can help cut waste.

All this means that our efforts to become green are making a significant, positive impact on how the industry is moving forward, and that is great news. Going green is a convincing argument.

But a big part of this argument started with consumers who helped – to a great extent – shape the green beauty landscape we see today.

Over the last decade, consumers have gained a better knowledge and understanding of the ingredients used and the processes involved in the manufacturing of beauty products. They voiced their opinions and they made their concerns heard.

Subsequently, today, with the growing awareness of the potential side effects of many artificial substances used in personal care items, such as parabens, petrochemicals and toxins, many consumers are turning towards green products. They are looking for products that do not harm their skin, nor the environment or society.

The demand for natural and organic skincare products is high, increasingly gaining momentum in the beauty and personal care market, penetrating not only the premium but also the mass market.

The beauty industry is changing – there’s no doubt about it. What used to be considered a niche market a decade ago has all the signs to become mainstream in the decade ahead.

There’s a keen and increased interest in organic and all-natural positioned products and brands that have already carved a name for themselves among consumers. Big beauty industry conglomerates are certainly paying attention to this space: Shiseido’s acquired Bare Essentials, LVMH’s took over Nude Skincare and Ole Henriksen, and Clarins bought French organic brand Kibio.

But the change goes beyond securing product lines for decades ahead. The change is happening now. In order to meet consumers’ greener expectations, manufacturers are integrating an environmental dimension into their strategy. For example, by creating sustainable partnerships with local producers or by growing their own ingredients, companies like Sanaflore, Natura, Yves Rocher and Herbline Essentials can guarantee consumers the origin and the quality of their raw materials.

But this strategy needs to be all encompassing and should aim to reduce the use of energy and resources, reduce waste, eliminate animal cruelty, produce safer products and improve competition in the marketplace.

This means getting rid of chemicals and toxins and using materials and natural resources in an economic fashion; designing for energy efficiency and incorporating renewable materials; and planning for the end of product life by using recyclable or biodegradable materials.

Even more importantly, the wider change taking place in the beauty and personal care market in its effort to become green is transparency. The green approach needs to be based on a genuine respect for the environment and biodiversity, and by a real commitment to sustainability.

We see the sustainability challenge as one of protecting biodiversity and preserving an eco-system that is now under attack by global climate change, water pollution, loss of species and habitat destruction, air pollution, toxins in the environment, and incessant waste.

It’s easy to give lip service to sustainability and quite another to take actual action to beautifying our market. But bit by bit, the beauty industry is getting a green makeover.

Harmony Commodities is the parent company of Herbline Essentials.

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