We spoke to Stefan Siemer, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Weleda, who will present at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris, which will be held between 30 October – 1 November 2023.
CosmeticsDesign-Europe: What are some of the most pressing sustainability issues currently facing the cosmetics and personal care product industries?
Stefan Siemer (SS): Here I would like to point out three developments, which I also discuss in depth in my contribution, which lead to excessive stress for many companies:
- Extremely volatile environment for companies: Keywords here are VUCA/BANI, very rapid changes, AI development, global polycrises, high innovation pressure.
- Strong regulatory pressure like the EU Green Deal, chemicals legislation, green claims regulation and reporting obligations leads to high additional costs and effort, but – and this is the dilemma – with simultaneous reduction of differentiation opportunities.
- Increasing pressure to adapt to social and environmental risks/ collateral damages, which include climate change, extreme weather, planetary boundaries, SDGs, Global Risk Report of the WEF.
CDE: What are some innovative solutions to these issues?
SS: I also address this in the lecture that what is very certain is that integrated and collaborative solutions are needed. The individual department or the individual company is overtaxed here.
CDE: Can you provide a brief overview and some key takeaways from your presentation?
SS: I outline the problematic initial situation, which also includes the question: ‘Which understanding of beauty will industry and society assume in the future?’ There are many fascinating discourses from other fields of sustainability that can also inspire the beauty industry, for example the ‘One Health’ concept or context-related materiality analyses.
Above all, I hope that I can inspire the audience a little bit and bring some new thoughts into the discussion. I promise that afterwards the problems will not be easier, but more interesting...
CDE: Can you share more about Weleda’s experience with sustainability in the cosmetics and personal care product industries?
SS: Weleda is the world’s leading manufacturer of certified natural cosmetics and anthroposophical pharmaceuticals. The product range includes 120 natural and organic cosmetics and 1,000+ pharmaceuticals. Our products are routed in a unique understanding of man and nature with nearly 1,000 natural substances supporting holistic health and well-being.
Founded in 1921 and inspired by Anthroposophy, Weleda is the pioneer of natural cosmetics and has never produced anything else. We are committed to this founding impulse and its purpose, which is: "Unfolding Health and Beauty in Harmony with Nature and the Human Being".
As a founding member of NATRUE, Weleda was one of the first German companies to introduce the extended environmental management system EMAS/ ISO14.001 as early as 1996, introduced the supply chain standard of the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT) at a very early stage and is the only company worldwide to be subject to the UEBT supply chain management system ‘Sourcing with Respect.’
We’ve been a certified B-Corp company since 2021. More than 80% of the plant-based raw materials are certified organic, and the company has committed to a Paris-compatible reduction path. This high sustainability standard is applied to every product development.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year regarding innovations in sustainable practices in cosmetic and personal care product manufacturing?
I hope from the bottom of my heart that in the next few years we will see the first packaging solutions for mass market cosmetics that do no harm and no waste, but actually add ecological value.
The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will also feature an annual awards ceremony, the Sustainable Beauty Awards. The judging panel has selected following finalists (listed in alphabetical order)…
New Sustainable Product
Apivita Beevine Elixir Wrinkle & Firmness Lift Cream Light Texture
O'right PRO Series
Schwan Cosmetics TheBetterBarrel Natural Superstay Lipliner
Tash Sisterhood Prep Purifing Mask
Weleda Firming Face Care Pomegranate & Maca Peptides
Weleda Skin Food Range
C16 Biosciences Palmless™ Torula Oil
Industrial Technology Research Institute Shih I-Proteo
LMR Naturals by IFF Neroli Essential Egypt LMR
Mibelle Biochemistry CALMandrin™
Organic Bioactives OceanDerMX™ Lift & Firm Freeze Dried, Preservative Free
The Upcycled Beauty Company FABA TONIQ®
COSMAX Better Roll Pencils
COSMAX Better Tin Jelly Shadow
DTS Europe Pacific
Ringana Trial Sizes
Shoppers Drug Mart Quo Beauty Cosmetic Brushes
AAK Personal Care
Team Dr Joseph
The winners will be announced at the Sustainable Beauty Awards reception, hosted at the Crowne Plaza Paris – Republique hotel on the evening of 30th October. The event will be co-hosted alongside the European edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Media passes are available for the awards reception.