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Big Beauty Bands Together to Create Sustainability Scoring System

September 29, 2021 Kelly Kovack
September 29, 2021
Aaron Burden via Unsplash

Addressing the demand for greater transparency, Henkel, L'Oréal, LVMH, Natura &Co, and Unilever invite the cosmetics sector to co-design a voluntary environmental impact assessment and scoring system. The aim is to co-design a brand-agnostic approach and provide consumers with clear, transparent, and comparable environmental impact information based on a common science-based methodology.

The new assessment and scoring system is an effort to address the growing consumer demand for greater transparency about the environmental impact of formulas, packaging, and usage. The objective is to improve the information that is available to consumers and enable them to make more sustainable consumption choices.

To do this, a consortium will be created that is open to all cosmetics companies wishing to join and contribute to designing a system that allows consumers to compare cosmetics products within the same category. The goal is to establish an overall score to inform consumers of the environmental impact of products, taking into account their whole product life cycle.

The consortium will work with sustainability consultancy Quantis to ensure a robust and scientific approach in co-building a voluntary assessment methodology and scoring system guided by and articulated around:

  • A common method for measuring environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of products, backed by the principles of the "Product Environmental Footprint" (the European Union's PEF scientific method for quantifying the environmental footprint of products).
  • A common database of environmental impacts of standard ingredients and raw materials used in formulas and packaging, as well as during product usage.
  • A common tool that enables each brand to calculate the environmental impact of individual products, usable by non-experts.
  • A harmonized scoring system, for example using a score ranging from A to E, that enables the consumer to easily compare products.
  • The methodology, data base, tool, and scoring system will be verified by independent parties.

"It is possible for the cosmetics sector, as has happened in other sectors, to build a scientific environmental impact assessment of their products, based on a full life cycle assessment. It requires a cross-industry pooling of knowledge and expertise, particularly concerning the environmental impact data; this is exactly what the consortium founding members are embarking on," said Philippe Osset, expert in the application of life cycle assessment to eco-design, consultant providing expertise for the European Commission and AFNOR (Association française de normalization, French Standardization Association).

This global initiative is intended to be open to all cosmetics companies, regardless of their size or resources. Henkel, L'Oréal, LVMH, Natura &Co, and Unilever are inviting other cosmetics companies to join them in this pursuit.

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