CosmeticsDesign spoke with Beautycounter Vice President of Safety and Sustainability Colin Price about the new partnership and what it means in the context of beauty sustainability.
This interview was conducted via email.
To start out, tell me a bit about the takeback program.
We’re thrilled to partner with Pact Collective. This partnership will help us address a near-term gap in the circularity of some of our packaging. We recognize that some of our legacy packaging is not currently curbside recyclable in practice, which means it may end up in a landfill or somewhere it doesn’t belong. We want to provide our customers with an option for more responsible stewardship of those materials until we’ve transitioned those packaging systems out of our portfolio.
Consumers can mail back empty Beautycounter packaging (and packaging from other brands) that are hard to recycle through curbside programs, such as lipstick containers, compacts, and tubes. Those who are close to one of our retail locations in Los Angeles, Denver, New York and Nantucket can drop off eligible packaging in-store.
Better design decisions and smarter materials selection informed by lifecycle assessment are key elements of enabling the transition to more circular packaging.
How does this program fit into Beautycounter’s broader sustainability plans?
Beautycounter was founded to get safer products into the hands of everyone. We work tirelessly to develop high-performing products that are safer for people and the planet.
While unparalleled safety is a foundational element of our clean beauty promise, our definition of clean doesn’t stop there. Beautycounter believes that clean means committing to addressing all the materials issues that touch our business, our stakeholders and the communities where we operate.
Currently, our focus is on climate and decarbonization, responsible sourcing and traceability for raw materials, and of course improving the circularity of our packaging. In 2020, we announced our commitment to achieving 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable, reused or compostable packaging by 2025. Today, we are already 57% towards that goal and hope to announce even more ambitious goals for sustainability soon.
As one part of our packaging sustainability efforts, our partnership with Pact Collective fills an important near-term need to reduce end-of-life impacts. It brings awareness to the need for circularity in the beauty industry. As we continue to implement upstream solutions through innovation and design, we need something in place to bridge the gap. Ultimately, we want to be able to phase out the collection program because we no longer use packaging that doesn’t work in a circular system.
How will Beautycounter measure the success of this program?
We’ll be using a number of key performance indicators to measure the success of the packaging collection program that covers environmental impact, stakeholder engagement and financial value. While we believe this program will help us recover and recycle material in ways that prevent pollution, we are also structuring it to deliver value in other ways for Beautycounter and our community of brand advocates.
What does this program mean in the broader landscape of cosmetics?
I think the availability and adoption of packaging collection programs like Pact Collective means that brands across industries see the need to tackle an important part of their environmental footprint. In the landscape of cosmetics, I think it reflects the reality that some product categories may be particularly challenging to transition to more circular systems, and we need immediate solutions until we can bridge the gap through circular design.
What is the strategy to get consumers to participate in this program?
We want to make this program as easy as possible to encourage participation. Beautycounter customers tend to be conscious consumers already, and the program has already been met with enthusiasm. We are promoting this program across our owned channels, as well as with our community of 50,000+ Brand Advocates, who are actively participating and promoting the program.
Internally, we’re engaging with stakeholders across channels to understand their needs and intend to continuously improve the program based on their feedback and a data-driven analysis of performance.
What will the next step be for sustainability at Beautycounter?
While we believe we have a strong foundation in sustainability, we are committed to continuously learning and improving our efforts as the science evolves. Some near-term next steps for us include setting new, ambitious goals related to climate, packaging and responsible sourcing while continuing to build on our best-in-class approach to safety.
Building out a decarbonization transition plan that lays out our roadmap for dramatically reducing our Scope Three emissions in line with science-based targets is underway. We’ll also be working to level up the way we track the performance of our sustainability efforts as well as the way we communicate about our progress.
Anything else you’d like to add.
Beautycounter was born out of a desire to get safer products into the hands of everyone. In addition to our focus on sustainability, we are also tireless in our advocacy efforts. We hope that changing public policy will lead to improvement in sustainability and safety in the beauty industry and beyond.
By advocating for smarter, science-based laws at the state and federal levels, we believe that personal care and beauty cosmetics can be better for people and the planet. Our collaboration with Pact Collective is one important partnership in our overall strategy to make the beauty space better for all, and we’re excited to see the progress we will make together.