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Here’s how the beauty sector is taking steps to become more sustainable

By Guest Writer | 08 March 2022 | Business, Feature, Movers & Shakers, News, Sustainability & the environment

Sustainability Beauty Planet B

Jayn Sterland, chair of the Sustainable Beauty Coalition & MD of Weleda, shares what the SBC has been doing to support the industry’s eco-efforts…

Last year, it seemed that ‘sustainability’ within beauty became the new buzzword. We saw the UK host the United Nations climate summit – COP26, the launch of the Green Claims Code by the CMA and the creation of the global BCorps initiative, ‘B-Beauty’.

In addition, the eco-labelling initiative (Cosmetics Environmental Scoring Consortium) launched by Unilever, Henkel, L’Oreal, LVMH and Natura &Co cemented 2021 as a milestone year for the beauty industry.

Alongside these initiatives, the British Beauty Council launched the Sustainable Beauty Coalition (or SBC for short) in July 2021, to unite our industry, encouraging collaborative working and share best practice. The SBC advocates sustainability as not only the right business practice to follow, but also the most profitable in the long term, for both our industry and for the planet.

Late in 2020, the British Beauty Council commissioned the A Courage to Change report, which focused on both consumer perception and the issues facing our industry due to the climate emergency. Conducted by sustainability experts Hubbub, the report’s analysis and recommendations are based on a mixture of research, expert interviews, consumer insights and voices inside and outside the industry. The findings are simple; that to tackle this crisis the industry must work together and collaborate.

Individual brands and service providers must do more to improve the impact of their products and to support consumers to make better choices, and we need to educate consumers to choose positively impactful products, to use them wisely and to engage with brands on the issues they care about.

Making moves

In its first six months, the SBC built sturdy foundations, supported by large and small brands, trade and certification bodies, individuals and the media. With observer status at COP26, we launched the consumer-facing Planet Positive Beauty Guide, we hosted online live webinars from Glasgow, and we encouraged the industry to work together by creating a steering group and advisory team of industry experts.

What has become clear is we are all crying out for clarity. What does ‘net zero’ mean? How can I get help? Where do I start?

These are all questions we are asking ourselves, and we hope the SBC will be a shortcut to both navigate the help while connecting and sharing best practices.

Does this really matter? Yes it absolutely does. In its August 2021 report, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) announced we were entering a ‘Code Red’ for the planet, with a now confirmed global warming temperature increase of between 0.8 and 1.2°C pre-industrial revolution (circa 1850) and a predicted rise of 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase. This will wreak havoc with our weather systems, our water supply, our food production and the natural world’s ability to thrive.

To me, what was significant wasn’t the fact that this report was generated by the work of over 2000 scientists globally, but that it was ratified by every government and after publication, climate change become an irrefutable fact.

As an industry, we can no longer claim deniable plausibility. We must act – and we need to act together.

Keep up-to-date on sustainable news in your industry and the work of the Sustainable Beauty Coalition by subscribing to SBC News at