We’ve never been as aware of the environmental impact of our purchasing decisions as we are now. Sustainability has undoubtedly been the buzzword of 2018, with plastic straws and takeaway coffee cups becoming the new plastic bags; as a nation we’re more committed to making better choices than ever before, swapping those single use plastics for something reusable and kinder to the planet. Although our buying power can make waves and really help to kick-start change, many brands also need to commit to being more sustainable and less wasteful so the process happens from the top down. As Neutrogena come under fire for launching single use face wipes (and using the most ridiculous amount of unnecessary plastic) amidst an economic climate that’s pushing for positive change, I thought it the perfect opportunity to highlight beauty brands that are actually making an effort to be environmentally friendly and implementing measures to make a real difference.
Their annual ‘Light the Way’ candle (in celebration of Earth Month) helps support water impoverished communities and to solve global environmental problems, thanks to 100% of the proceeds being donated to Global Greengrants Fund. Since 2007 they’ve raised over $14 million and helped over a million people globally, with so much more work to do in the future.
I’ve already written about their sustainable beauty wipes, but this is a brand that is trying to make a real difference in everything they do. From using compostable plastics and pots that would’ve otherwise been dumped by other brands, to ensuring all their ingredients are from sustainable sources and making efforts to reduce excess packaging, Beauty Kitchen are the ultimate in ethical beauty. And if small British brands can do it, why can’t the big names get on board too?
Not only is the beeswax and honey used in the Burt’s products ethically and sustainably sourced, but Burt’s Bees are a proud supporter of the British Beekeepers Association ‘Adopt a Beehive’ scheme – a charitable project that raises awareness of the importance of honey bees and good beekeeping husbandry, while raising vital funds to support research and education projects. Their #BringBackTheBees campaign also helps to plant 5000 bee-friendly plant seeds for every lip balm sold, so you can look good and do good simultaneously.
Part of the ‘1% for the Planet’ movement, Caudalie donates 1% of its global sales to charities that work to protect the environment (including WWF and the National Forest Foundation.) By 2020 around six million trees will be planted around the world thanks to companies including Caudalie, and that’s something I can totally support while applying my morning serum.
With their aim to reduce 20% of their emissions, water and waste by 2020, Jurlique have revolutionised their manufacturing process to ensure their products are making a positive difference to both people and planet.
They’ve installed solar panels across their farm to significantly reduce energy consumption, they encourage water reuse and have even planted over 10,000 trees to reduce their overall carbon footprint; in their boutiques they also encourage recycling by providing a 10% discount to anyone who brings back old packaging, which is good news for everybody.
What’s hugely commendable about their partnership with Terracycle is that L’Occitane are not only committed to recycling their own packaging, but the packaging of all other beauty brands too. Drop off your finished bottles, tubes and pots (from any brand) into any one of their stores to be recycled – and as a thank you, L’Occitane will give you 10% off any full size product on that day. Good for the planet and your purse! As over 80% of landfill can be recycled, this is a big commitment from a brand who wants to make a difference; I hope others follow their lead.
Love Beauty and Planet
A new brand on the block you may not have heard of, Love Beauty & Planet’s parent company is Unilever (who own oodles of big names) proving that the issue of sustainability is really reaching the highest heights. This cute brand sources their ingredients sustainably, uses recycled materials in their packaging, have made a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, plus they’re supporting young activists in their goals of making a positive impact on the planet. I’m excited to see how they progress and how this small brand will impact the bigger names under the Unilever portfolio in the future.
Without a doubt the original ‘ethical’ brand, Lush have so many great initiatives but they often get overlooked in favour of the sparkly and sweet scented cosmetics that fill their shops. They ethically source all their ingredients, promote ‘naked’ packaging across a lot of their range, offer incentives for those returning their recycled pots to be once again recycled, and even work with green energy suppliers to reduce their overall carbon footprint. This ethos even impacts how they transport their products and employees across the world (I love the fact they have a ‘train vs plane’ policy for staff travel!) proving this really is a brand with the planet at its heart.
Almost too many good deeds to list, Neal’s Yard’s makes a commitment to looking after our planet on so many levels. They’re organic, sustainable, recyclable, are accredited as fair trade and FairWild (which ensures a fair deal for everyone within the supply chain,) they work with the World Land Trust to help save endangered forest, have raised over £100,000 to help save the British honeybees – plus they’ve just rolled out free water refill stations in selected stores, in partnership with City To Sea, to reduce the trend for single-use plastic bottles. Phew, that’s a lot of good by one brand!
It’s not only their products that are really quite special, but their packaging and supply chain management too (if you could ever describe that as special!) Origins only work with factories that are zero waste, they use renewable energy and their packaging is made from recycled materials too – plus through their Plant A Tree initiative they’ve helped to plant over 820,000 trees!
Already a brand trying to make a positive difference, Ren’s latest launch includes a bottle made from 20% reclaimed ocean plastic – with the other 80% being used from recycled sources too. Their Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium Body Wash is the first product to have this packaging, in homage to its sustainable ocean-sourced bioactives, but the brand are aiming to repack the whole range in early 2019 too.
Their standout green bottles don’t only look good, but they’re made from Post-Consumer Recycled plastic (mostly semi-skimmed milk bottles) and can be fully recycled after use too. Most importantly though is the support the brand gives to WaterAid, pledging £150k to help make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene accessible to everyone everywhere by 2030. The international charity works across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific, and has reached 25 million people with clean water since 1981, proving that a little effort by you can go a long way for someone else.
A vegan and cruelty-free brand through and through, in the last six months Spectrum have also reduced their plastic packaging by 50%; to further leave behind a positive legacy, buying their beautifully creative brushes will also help support plastic clean-up charities – as they’ve pledged to donate 1% of their revenue to protecting the environment too. Doing good doesn’t have to be boring!
The Body Shop
Their commitment to ‘enrich not exploit’ aims to leave behind a legacy that ensures both communities and nature are left flourishing. They’ve made a commitment to ensure by 2020 that 100% of their ingredients are traceable and sustainable, to reduce their carbon footprint and in store energy use, to protect 75 million square metres of habitat, launch sustainable packaging innovations, to help 40,000 economically vunerable people, invest 250,000 hours enriching local communities and so much more. Although they’ve got a long way to go, the intention and processes are in place to make a big difference.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and so many brands are doing so many great things, but often it’s the ‘behind the scenes’ changes that aren’t quite as glamourous or exciting as the new launches or offers. More of these brands need celebrating, and more of them deserve our precious pounds; after all: the more we support good practices, the more everyone else will start having to follow suit.
Do you know of any other beauty brands doing great things?
Will you be supporting these names more now you know all the amazing stuff they’re doing?