Unlocking sustainable beauty: Insights from the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

 © Giselleflissak Getty Images
© Giselleflissak Getty Images

Related tags sustainable beauty circular beauty Sustainable packaging

Last week's Marketing Developments session during the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in NYC covered a wide range of subtopics, including explaining complex green manufacturing practices in marketing communications, enticing consumers to purchase eco-friendly beauty products, and integrating AI and tech innovations into sustainable product marketing strategies.

Last week, CosmeticsDesign attended the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit and served as a moderator for the conference’s session on Marketing Developments in the sustainable cosmetics and personal care product sectors. The session featured speakers across the beauty industry, including Lush Cosmetics, BBB National Programs National Advertising Division, and Element Beauty Group. It concluded with a panel discussion covering marketing communications focusing on green messaging.

Here are our key takeaways from the session.

Articulating complex concepts in simple terms

One of the most common issues plaguing cosmetics and personal care product brands is the difficulty in communicating complex concepts to consumers in an easily accessible format. For example, in his presentation on Captured Carbon Packaging for Cosmetics, Peter Zhou, Product Development Lead at Carbon Upcycling Technologies, broke down the processes behind the company’s innovative carbon capture technology and explained how the technology is currently being used in cosmetics and personal care product packaging development.

His co-speaker, Nick Gardner, Co-Founder of Element Beauty Group, then detailed the difficulties in supporting consumers in understanding these processes and their application in cosmetic and personal care products and how brands can better educate consumers in these processes to impact consumer purchasing decisions.

In the session’s closing panel discussion, it was noted that a visual strategy is one of the best practices for addressing this marketing communication issue. Breaking down complex concepts into videos, photos, infographics, and other forms of visual media can not only help simplify the information but also make it easier to disseminate it on social media and company websites.

Encouraging consumer buy-in for sustainable products

Throughout the Marketing Development session, the audience frequently raised questions concerning greenwashing and making sustainable product claims that meet consumer demand. In her Green Marketing Claims Update, Jennifer Santos, Attorney for the National Advertising Division, clearly outlined the structure for making sustainable claims for cosmetic products and provided examples of NAD where those claims were not supported.

One of the most significant challenges, as outlined in Ecovia Intelligence President Amarjit Sahota's presentation, Sustainability Schemes and Ethical Labels Update & Outlook, also dealt with this issue. In his presentation, Sahota provided examples of how beauty companies rely on green labeling to encourage consumer buy-in and highlighted the challenges of enforcing a standardized set of labeling that consumers can easily recognize and subsequently trust.

In the session’s closing panel discussion, multiple panelists offered one solution to address the issue of consumer buy-in: engaging with consumers via social media. By fostering organic conversations with consumers, especially regarding areas of concern like ingredient sourcing or transparency in supply chains, brands can establish communication channels that could help build trust with beauty buyers.

Integrating technological advancements into sustainable product marketing

During her presentation, Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Cosmetics,nwo.ai Research Strategist Corrinne Rivera looked at how advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) can drive marketing strategies for sustainable cosmetic and personal care product innovations. Rivera provided examples of recent trend shifts in the space and demonstrated how AI can identify subtle movements in specific categories that can lead to more significant impacts in marketing strategies, such as the evolving conversation surrounding preservative-free products and the beauty consumer perception of these product options.

Sourabh Sharma, Head of Digital Marketing + Creative Director at Fig or Out, also touched on technological advancements and their impact on sustainable beauty product marketing practices in his presentation, Digital Marketing for Sustainable Brands. In his discussion, Sharma emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining a digital brand persona as a critical facet of establishing and encouraging consumer engagement and highlighted how beauty brands can harvest crucial marketing insights directly from brand followers through social media – specifically, from the comment section of posts to Instagram, TikTok, and other popular platforms.

In the session’s closing panel discussion, the panelists agreed that social media channels are the firmly established avenue for consumers to interact not only with sustainable beauty brands but also with their fellow eco-conscious beauty shoppers. They advised that by sourcing and analyzing performance data on these platforms, beauty brands can be well-positioned to implement effective marketing strategies for sustainable cosmetic and personal care products.

For those interested in learning more about sustainable cosmetics, the European edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will be hosted in Paris on 23-25th October. More details are on https://www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com/Europe/

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