As an industry, beauty touches every single citizen in some way, whether as an employee, a supplier, an investor or a consumer. With health and wellbeing at its core, the industry has unique scope to speak to individuals. It can offer leadership to catalyse change.
Such leadership demands that we acknowledge the climate and ecological crisis that the world is facing. In 2020, the British Beauty Council commissioned the Courage to Change report. It outlined the work that must undertake to build a planet positive beauty industry. From the report, a UK Sustainable Beauty Coalition was formed with key objectives to unite our sector in a commitment to ‘clean up its act’, better educate consumers and begin a collaborative journey to net zero.
With world leaders uniting at COP26 to make multilateral agreements on the world’s future, we recognise that it will take courage and resolve, an ability to think differently and most likely, a complete rethink of current commitments in favour of more ambitious ones. We, as a global industry, stand with the countries making these commitments and pledge to play our role in tackling the climate crisis. We also call on consumers and Governments across the world to sign up to the following pledges:
As a country leading the charge to tackle climate change, we pledge to:
1. Help Small Businesses make the transition
Green grants and tax incentives to help SMEs recovering post COVID to prioritise more sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices. This could fund insulation, sustainable heating, investment in renewable energy and significant carbon reductions.
2. Invest in green manufacturing
Investment into green manufacturing, with focus on hair and beauty consumer product industries is vital to increasing regenerative farming practices which lock in carbon and support biodiversity, reducing pollution, waste, and the use of synthetic chemicals across the sector which are all threatening the delicate balance of our ecosystems. Our industry touches every single citizen, and is key to developing alternative solutions.
3. Place heavier penalties on the biggest fossil fuel polluters
Implement a more aggressive carbon tax that penalises the biggest fossil fuel polluters, creating more of a deterrent for those who are not taking steps to make changes within their business operations.
4. Expedite our commitment to investing in renewable energy
A commitment to end new licences for oil and gas exploration and make switching to renewable energy more cost effective.
As a business within the hair, beauty and wellness industries, I pledge to:
1. Join the movement
For a coalition to work it needs businesses to work together and commit to shared success for the industry. By joining the conversation we can build on existing initiatives, help and encourage each other and identify and overcome sector specific challenges.
2. Review Business Models
Our industry must commit to running their businesses within planetary boundaries. This means implementing operational changes in the areas such as our usage of water, natural resources and the production and disposal of waste. We must review our processes and move towards a circular manufacturing model.
3. Be Clearer with Consumers
Engage and activate consumers with transparent communications using only national or internationally agreed certifications is a prerequisite. The Planet Positive Beauty Guide can help with this.
4. Meet Consumers Where They Are
The Courage to Change report outlined that 91% of consumers want less packaging and 88% want to be able to refill their cosmetics. Companies should meet this need head on, reducing packaging, increasing recycled content, ensuring all packaging can be recycled and offering refillable and reusable packaging.
As a consumer, I pledge to:
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Only buy what you need and finish products before throwing them away
- Switch to products with packaging made from glass, aluminium or stainless steel where possible
- Look for naked products with minimal packaging
- Buy products that use refillable and reusable packaging
- Give unwanted products to a friend/food bank/charity/community groups
2. Choose Genuine, Sustainable Products
You can help create positive change by checking the sustainability credentials of the products you buy and choosing fewer, more sustainable products which are independently certified.
The SBC’s Planet Positive Beauty Guide provides all the information you need to make greener beauty choices.
3. Use Wisely
Recycle your bathroom waste – this is most commonly overlooked when it comes to recycling.
Be more considerate of the environment in the use of beauty and grooming products. By thinking about how you use water, you can reduce the overall impact of a cosmetic product.
4. Speak Up
Letting brands know what you expect from them in terms of sustainability will motivate them to elevate what they are doing.
Get in touch through consumer contact pages or social media. Ask them about their approach to sustainability, what they are doing about plastics, recycling, water waste, biodiversity – whatever matters most to you!
Resourcefulness and creativity to tackle climate change exists, but it needs to be joined up and requires a clear commitment from world leaders, business and consumers to prioritise action now. Together, we can make change happen faster and with greater impact.
Let’s be a key player in the solution as opposed to a continued part of the problem.