Provenance: Consumers care about brands’ commitments to the environment

Brands that don’t take the environment seriously in the development of their products need to step up their game.

A new study from the transparency technology company Origin, which helps brands prove their green claims, with Cult beauty reports that 48% of consumers seek more information and clarity about brands’ values ​​and commitments to the environment.

The study examines the attitudes of over 23,000 buyers of beauty products over a 12-month period.

The study also found that there was confusion over which ingredients are eco-friendly and which ones just sound like they are. The main topics of interest to buyers are ingredients, packaging recyclability and animal welfare.

The latest finding also supports recent research by the British Beauty Council, who found that 42% feel guilty about the environmental impact of their purchases of beauty products and almost half want to know more about the impact of the brands they buy on the environment.

Although many brands have pledged to use 100% recyclable packaging by 2025, in line with the UK plastics pact – 61% of consumers find it difficult to say whether hair and skin care products are ethical from the packaging, and 42% want to know the details of the brand’s values ​​and its commitments to social causes.

Positive Planet Beauty Guide

To give consumers a better understanding of the often confusing ingredients on product labels, the British Beauty Council’s Coalition for Sustainable Beauty has created the Planet Positive Beauty Guide – a definitive industry guide with easy-to-digest information to help consumers to create “greener” beauty. choice with more confidence.

Building on a transparency framework from Provenance, the guide includes a comprehensive list of claims often made by the beauty industry and simple descriptions to help consumers understand what to look for (and avoid) when looking for. the purchase of beauty products. The Planet Positive Beauty Guide also highlights third-party certifications and verifications that buyers can easily verify, to ensure that brands can back up their eco-claims and don’t try to mislead or “green” ” their products.

“This phenomenon, called ‘greenwashing’, can be seen not only in the misleading use of claims such as ‘natural’ and / or ‘organic’ but also ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘clean’ or ‘green’ “said Jayn Sterland, President of the Sustainable Beauty Coalition. “Greenwashing doesn’t just mean that shoppers make what they think are ‘green’ choices that can actively harm the environment, it also undermines the credibility of honest brands that are genuinely sustainable and environmentally friendly. ”

The Planet Positive Beauty Guide is divided into four chapters: Ingredients, Packaging, People, and Sustainable Sourcing.

• Ingredients: Most of the claims made in the ingredient category are unregulated, so there is a lot of confusion around definitions and, most importantly, what they mean. This section details common terms including “organic”, “vegan” and “cruelty-free” and highlights the certifications consumers should be aware of.

• Packaging: With 95% of packaging discarded, packaging is one of the biggest sustainability challenges facing the beauty industry. This section helps shoppers understand key packaging terms such as “biodegradable”, “recyclable” and “plastic-free” and provides practical tips to help consumers make better choices and prevent waste from going to the market. dump.

• People: A sustainable planet cannot exist without a sustainable society. This section highlights key terms including “fair tax” and “living wage” to help shoppers support brands and products that treat people fairly.

• Sustainable sourcing: Sustainable sourcing goes beyond ingredients and packaging; it brings together the elements necessary to make the world a fairer place to live and work. Key terms explored in this section include “carbon footprint”, “biodiversity” and “net zero”.

Supporting the Green Claims Code recently published by the Competition and Markets Authority – which aims to help companies communicate their green credentials while reducing the risk of misleading consumers when making environmental claims – the Planet Positive Beauty Guide will help educate buyers and encourage the beauty industry to provide accurate product and transparent communications around their product and packaging claims.

Members of the Sustainable Beauty Coalition contributed to the guide, including Jayn Sterland, Managing Director of Weleda UK; Helen Cox, global environmental reporting manager at Lush; Jo Chidley, co-founder of Beauty Kitchen; Jessi Baker, MBE and Founder and CEO of Provenance; and Oriele Frank, head of products and sustainability and co-founder of Elemis.