2020 Sustainable Cosmetics Summit zeros in on circularity

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Petmal)
© Getty Images \ (Petmal)

Related tags Sustainability circular economy biodesign Sustainable packaging Regulation

Taking place September 28 – 30, with an executive-facing program that’s all about creating sustainable beauty for a circular economy, this year’s North American edition of the SCS will be a virtual event to accommodate health and safety precautions necessary during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 Sustainable Cosmetics Summit program spans cosmetics and personal care packaging, ingredients, formulations, regulations, and more.   

“For the first time in North America, the summit aims to help cosmetic and personal [care] companies move towards a circular economy,” ​explains the SCS media release announcing this year’s event. “The summit will discuss practical approaches to change product design, formulations, packaging, and consumption to move to circular systems.”

And while it’s the first time the North American edition of the SCS will focus on circularity, it’s by no means the first North American SCS event. Ecovia Intelligence (previously known as Organic Monitor) has been hosting the Summit in this region for the past 10 years.

Making beauty and personal care products and packaging for the circular economy

On the agenda for this year’s SCS are presentations and discussions about how to best develop products and select packaging. For instance, Jay Bolus, President of the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry consultancy (the group behind the Cradle to Cradle framework), will discuss how beauty makers can develop products within a closed material loop.

It’s a strategy that brands both big and small are already adopting. In April, Coty announced that its CK Everyone scent earned a Cradle to Cradle certification, as Cosmetics Design reported​. And as Simona Cattaneo, President of Luxury Brands at Coty, remarked at the time, “The Material Health certificate reinforces Coty’s commitment to its sustainability platform, with the objective of building a better business while making a positive contribution towards societal, ethical and environmental change within the beauty industry.”

Innovative ingredient makers like Shara Ticku, CEO of C16 Biosciences—a company making a palm oil alternative using fermentation—will be on hand to talk about the tremendous role that biodesign can play in upcycling food waste and industrial byproducts into inputs and ingredients for personal care.

And Nick Gumery, Packaging Buyer for Lush, will be a part of this year’s SCS event as well, presenting on the advantages of both cork packaging and packaging-free beauty products.

The cosmetics industry will need regulations and rigor to attain true circularity

In November 2019 a bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives that would legally define the word ‘natural’ as well as the term ‘naturally derived’ in so far as cosmetics and personal care labeling and marketing are concerned. Read more on the Natural Cosmetics Act here on Cosmetics Design.

At the SCS this September, a spokesperson from Beauty Counter (a clean brand that advocates for regulatory updates) will “discuss the timelines of the proposed regulation and implications,”​ according to the event’s media release.

There will also be a discussion of how metrics that measure greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water use, and packaging waste can help advance the shift to a circular beauty economy.  

And more

ICMAD President, Ken Marenus will discuss the impacts of the current health and financial crisis on the cosmetics and personal care industry as well as “the sustainability implications of the Coronavirus crisis, highlighting the key lessons for future development.

Clean beauty will be covered at the Summit by both Mike Indursky of Hear Me Raw and Tina Hedges of LOLI Beauty. Find more information on the 2020 Sustainable Cosmetics Summit and a link to register online here.



In 2020, circularity has emerged as a key topic of interest and innovation in the cosmetics and personal care industry, and is a topic that Deanna Utroske finds herself writing about with increasing frequency.​ Known for spotting trends and influential beauty industry movements early, Deanna writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders. She is currently the Editor of CosmeticsDesign.com.

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