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British beauty industry urged to unite in climate change battle

Gaelle Walker
10 November 2020

Britain’s beauty industry is being called on to unite in the creation of a new Sustainable Beauty Coalition and bring about “bold urgent change,” to better protect the planet and its people.

The call, made by the British Beauty Council, follows the publication of its landmark sustainability report: The Courage to Change.

Commissioned by the Council, the report lays out a vision for how the £28.4bn British beauty industry can better collaborate for the good of the planet.

While the industry is already taking steps towards a more sustainable future, efforts are currently still “too patchy and uncoordinated,” the report said.

“The industry needs to come together around a shared vision, a commitment to deliver change at the pace, scale and scope necessary.

“In short we need a Sustainable Beauty Coalition, spearheaded by the British Beauty Council to address the climate and ecological crisis,” it added.

The creation of the Sustainable Beauty Collation and a subsequent Framework for Action, would require the industry to “be courageous” and to commit to a number of necessary changes and certain “trade-offs to ensure its long-term sustainability,” the British Beauty Council said.

The Framework will focus on key themes of climate biodiversity, waste and water and set ambitious targets for the industry to work towards on transparency, standards, education and innovation.

Key actions for the Sustainable Beauty Collation will also include work to establish shared definitions and terminology to improve clarity for consumers.

It will also seek to crack down on industry claims, ensuring that they are meaningful and consistent across businesses and to improve communication within the beauty industry, in a bid to engage consumers and help them make better choices.

The report also highlights a significant consumer appetite for change, with around two thirds of consumers wanting brands to do more to improve the planet.

One in seven British consumes already changed to more sustainable beauty products in the three months to July 2020, a survey of 3,000 UK adults conducted by Hubbub for the report, found.

The survey also revealed that 39% of people wanted brands to produce more environmentally friendly products, while 59% of consumers said they would be willing to refill their beauty products.

Commenting on the report, British Beauty Council chief executive Millie Kendall told “Without a unified approach we are just going to keep going round in circles.   

“There is a clear government, and in fact global directive, to half our carbon emissions by 2030 and become net zero by 2050.

This is a global emergency and what is at stake goes above and beyond the reputation of our industry, although our reputation will be elevated if we act now and do the right thing.”

The Courage to Change sponsors include Walgreen Boots Alliance, Hubbub, Seen Group, Timely, Matrix and Weleda.


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