A Look at Sustainability in the Beauty Industry

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Let’s face it – the beauty industry is a huge culprit when it comes to environmental damage. 

We’re all beauty and skincare enthusiasts here, but it’s important to acknowledge that the cosmetics industry needs to become more sustainable if it wants to reduce its impact and also help our planet stay livable for longer. A 2020 report done by the British Beauty Council notes the essential role of the beauty industry in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Fortunately, recent trends show that beauty brands are leaning towards sustainable beauty due to consumer demand and more rigorous industry standards. In this blog, we take a look at the industry’s environmental impact over the years and what they’re doing now to reduce the negative impact.

Why is the Beauty Industry Unsustainable?

Sustainability is defined as the “processes and actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources, in order to keep an ecological balance that doesn’t allow the quality of life of modern societies to decrease,” according to You Matter.

In short, sustainability is choosing what is best for both the people and the planet. Often, this is hard to achieve when large industries hold productions at scale and are more prone to conducting malpractice from sourcing down to the last stage of the supply chain.

Some of the major problems within the beauty industry are:

Wasteful Packaging That Promotes Plastic Pollution

The most obvious one is perhaps plastic waste. The beauty industry generates a lot of plastic packaging waste – up to 120 billion units, to be exact – and the removal of about 18 million acres of forests. Wet wipes and face masks alone were responsible for over 93% of sewer blockages in the United Kingdom prior to the pandemic, according to Water UK. You can imagine that the problem only got worse after COVID-19, where disposables quickly became a must for public health and safety.


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sustainability  beauty  ESG

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