Spotlight on sustainability: what are the key players up to?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Spotlight on sustainability: what are the key players up to?

Related tags Flavor

Events like Greenpeace’s recent protest directed at P&G’s palm oil sourcing have brought beauty’s sustainability right into the public eye, and rising consumer interest is leading beauty players to focus on upping their game.

Indeed, investing in increased sustainability can be win-win for brands.

The increased efficiency which comes with it not only saves money; it also taps into consumer focus on environmental responsibility observed by the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT).

The non-profit association has noted that beauty consumers are keen to see evidence of sustainability responsibility: over 80% of consumer respondents to their ‘biodiversity barometer’ indicated that they would like to receive more information on how companies source ingredients.

Big names

Across the sectors, beauty brands are mobilising to show they are sustainability-conscious, and the drive is being led by the industry giants.

The focus on P&G’s palm oil sourcing, driven by the recent Greenpeace protests, has pulled the ingredient’s sustainability firmly into focus, with Croda’s vice president Chris Sayner recently telling Cosmetics Design that no alternative exists for the industry.

He noted that beauty brands must put a structure in place to promote sustainable palm oil, as there is no way it can be removed from cosmetics formulation, where it is used in about 70% of products.

Unilever is a key player making strides to up its environmental game; with recent moves like the launch of its green bond, and its partnership with the University of Cambridge to launch a sustainability seminar in Asia, the company continues towards its 2020 sustainability targets.


Givaudan, global manufacturer of flavours and fragrances, has just released its sustainability report for the previous year, stating it “made significant progress across all five pillars of its sustainability strategy in 2013, notably in relation to 2020 eco-efficiency targets, which cover CO2 emission, energy consumption, and waste and water reduction​.”

Fellow flavouring supplier Symrise also got on board the sustainability bandwagon recently, with the announcement of a partnership with the German Development Corporation, which aims to improve the livelihoods of its vanilla producers.

With so many major players now taking note, sustainability looks set to dominate the beauty agenda in the coming year. 

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