2019 – An eco-aware year for the cosmetics industry
Health risks, increased poverty, endangered species and sites... There are many examples of the effects of global warming. Modern consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their consumption, and are looking for ways to reduce their waste and consumption in all areas of their daily lives. Consumers are also becoming increasingly expectant of brands to show the same level of commitment towards eco-responsibility, and the demands are rising all the time.
According to Mintel, the zero-waste philosophy in 2019 is of great relevance in the global markets, especially in the beauty industry. In the study titled "Sub-Zero Waste" (1), Mintel anticipates the zero-waste trend will be the trend that marks 2019. Cosmetics brands must progressively adapt their vision of zero waste and extend it to all aspects of the supply chain. Today’s consumers pay very close attention to the effects of their actions on the environment, and expect brands to take responsibility for their waste.
Young markets often have a leadership role with respect to innovation and waste management: this could be in the form of offering reusable products, concentrating on solid forms, or upcycling ingredients from the wastes of other industries. Indie brands, especially, have the upper hand when it comes to sustainable beauty products as they have geared their business practices to ethics and environmental friendliness.
The cosmetics giants are also showing initiative. UNILEVER and L'ORÉAL, for example, have both committed to using only 100% recyclable, reusable and compostable plastic by 2025. PROCTER & GAMBLE has pledged to use 25% recycled plastic in 500 million hair care product packages this year, and AVON has already achieved 95% of its goal of not disposing of waste on dumpsites.
Rising trend towards local raw materials
Questions and concerns regarding the safety of ingredients and their possible impact on the environment are leading consumers to ask brands about the composition of their products as well as companies’ overall approaches to environmental awareness. Saying more about a product’s composition, origin of ingredients and manufacturing processes is therefore a profitable brand communication strategy.
Conscious of the CO2 footprint and the economic impact of their purchasing decisions, European consumers tend to prefer local ingredients and are willing to pay more for them.
Sustainable cosmetic ingredients
Apart from the origin, European consumers also pay attention to the sustainability of the ingredients in their skin care products. They also fear that the ingredients used in natural products may not be sustainable.
While climate change is affecting the production of some ingredients – such as cocoa and coffee, which could disappear by 2050 (3, 4) – ingredients gained from microbial technology are still gradually developing. Microorganisms such as yeasts and bacteria enrich our skin care products and offer a sustainable and gentle alternative.
Biosynthesis, which is independent of weather-related cost fluctuations, will also continue to develop and offer more environmentally friendly ingredients.
With the rapid growth of the Clean Beauty movement, petroleum by-products – such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly – will increasingly be blacklisted. Consumers increasingly prefer natural and organic alternatives, like beeswax. Beeswax is a healthier alternative in terms of the raw material itself and, as an added benefit, increasing the number of bees contributes to the preservation of local ecosystems.
Green technologies such as agroforestry (an agricultural production system that combines elements of arable farming with those of forestry and livestock breeding) and regenerative agriculture (a holistic approach to land management based on photosynthesis of plants) also offer sustainable solutions and reduce the ecological footprint of agricultural land.
Overall, consumers are looking ever closer at the products they use and at the companies that produce them. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive in 2018 for the Cetelem Observatory (5), 58% of French people are willing to pay more for an eco-friendly product. To continue attracting these consumers and to survive in the marketplace, brands must consider a global environmental approach to all aspects of the supply chain.
- Rapport Mintel – Novembre 2018 – 2019 Trend : Sub-zero Waste
- Lightspeed Mintel – Décembre 2018 – Base : internautes de 16 ans et plus ayant acheté des produits de beauté et de soins personnels au cours des six derniers mois (France : 1 947 ; Allemagne : 1 976 ; Italie : 1 973 ; Espagne : 1 974)
- Climatic Change – August 2013, Volume 119, Issue 3–4, pp 841–854 – Predicting the future climatic suitability for cocoa farming of the world’s leading producer countries, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
- Time – June 21, 2018 – Your Morning Cup of Coffee Is in Danger. Can the Industry Adapt in Time?
- Etude Harris Interactive pour l'Observatoire Cetelem – 21 février 2018 – Base : enquête réalisée en ligne du 6 au 8 février 2018. Échantillon de 1 001 personnes, représentatif des Français âgés de 18 ans et plus. Méthode des quotas et redressement appliqués aux variables suivantes : sexe, âge, catégorie socioprofessionnelle et région de l’interviewé(e).
Product & Sales Manager
Since early childhood, I was rummaging in my mother’s bathroom for the perfect cosmetic product, I was watching her during the daily routine and I was trying to understand why she was using one product over another. Growing up, I have decided to combine my love for cosmetics, symbol of wellbeing and elegance, with my daily work.
A biological engineer by training, a marketer by trade, I like surfing between these two skills to explore consumer needs, understanding new usages and tracking and recognizing trends. After learning the ropes at several cosmetics brands, I am working today as a product manager at IMPAG France. My working life allows me to be a driver for innovation.