As consumer awareness of social and environmental issues increases, steps to improve the beauty industry’s environmental footprint are progressing at a faster pace, driven by a holistic approach of “purpose over profit”. The coming years offer opportunities for technological advances in sustainable beauty innovations. Responsibility rests on companies to make major differences and set higher standards, and on retailers to apply leverage throughout the supply chain.
As consumer awareness of social and environmental issues increases, steps to improve the beauty industry’s environmental footprint are progressing at a faster pace. COVID-19 has also bought a new consciousness that has spotlighted “purpose over profit” – a more holistic approach to sustainability that aims to encompass social, environmental and economic value.
Millennial and Generation Z consumers are driving the industry push for sustainable beauty, as they are extensive product users, premium buyers, digitally-influenced, and are increasingly influencing the skin care category, in particular.
While the development of sustainable initiatives may have been postponed due to COVID-19, the forecast period offers significant opportunities for technological advances in sustainable innovations. The use of bio-based and biodegradable materials is expected to increase, in addition to more recyclable packaging materials, more recycled content usage and new returnable systems.
With the top 15 global beauty players accounting for over 50% of value sales in the industry, responsibility rests on these companies to make major differences and set higher standards. 2020 saw many leading players, like L'Oréal, Shiseido and Unilever, unveil new sustainability goals and product developments.
Economic incentives and knowledge are key to address retailers’ lag in adopting more sustainable practices. Beauty specialist retailers are particularly well placed to push forward sustainability, given their customer base, brand assortment, and leverage with brands and suppliers.
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