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ESG in Beauty: One Manufacturer's Approach to Skincare, Supplements, and Sustainability

Published September 10, 2023
Published September 10, 2023

Today more than ever, ethics matter to beauty consumers, to investment firms, and to corporate leadership. Which is why environmental and social governance initiatives not only underlie business practices at every tier of the cosmetics and personal care industry, but also why we are hearing more about the sustainability and social consciousness of beauty makers around the world.

Prominent beauty retailers and multinational cosmetics companies as well as countless suppliers and manufacturers supporting our industry now regularly publish ESG reports, detailing the metrics of their Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance efforts.

North American specialty retailer Ulta Beauty, for instance, published a first ESG report in 2020. And LVMH—the parent company of international specialty beauty retailer Sephora (as well as of several fragrance and beauty brands)—issued its first ESG report that same year.

In the beauty brand space, ESG reporting got an earlier start. In 2012, The Estée Lauder Companies published The Beauty of Responsibility, a corporate report covering environmental stewardship, society, and governance and ethics, among other topics, and L’Oréal launched its Sharing Beauty With All sustainability program in 2013, focusing on sustainable production, the company’s role in society, and more.

On the supply and manufacturing side of beauty, we now regularly see companies taking meaningful steps towards environmental sustainability, positive social impact, and responsible corporate governance. And in doing so, suppliers are supporting brands in their own efforts to improve ESG practices and more fully align with the social and ethical expectations of consumers.

Supplements manufacturer Tosla Nutricosmetics, for instance, introduced its ESG initiative called Forward>> in 2022: “As a socially responsible organization, we are committed to creating a positive impact on the environment, society, and governance,” says company CEO Primož Artač. “Forward>>,” he tells me, “is an initiative that encompasses all three pillars of ESG and aims to integrate sustainable practices into all aspects of our business operations.”

To better understand how the company is doing good for people and the planet, I checked in with Artač and the team at Tosla to learn about their latest efforts at minimizing environmental impact, giving back to the community, and formalizing their commitment to the principles of ESG.

Environmentalism, Clean Energy, and Ecological Balance

Beauty brands and manufacturers are investing in environmental sustainability in many ways, including by choosing renewable energy and minimizing carbon emissions.

“We recognize the urgent need to address the pressing environmental issues facing our planet; and we are working towards reducing our carbon footprint, promoting responsible resource usage, and adopting eco-friendly business practices,” explains Artač. Which is why the nutricosmetics maker made the switch to renewable solar energy: “In line with our ESG goals, we are pleased to announce that we have built a solar power plant with battery storage on our company’s property.”

At Tosla, clean energy isn't merely about caring for the environment in the abstract, but rather it's about caring for the beautiful and green Vipava Valley of Slovenia that the company calls home and where it sources the fresh, clean spring water that goes into the liquid collagen supplements that the manufacturer is so well known for.

Artač also points out that, “This solar plant will enable us to generate clean energy and become self-sufficient in energy consumption. The initiative is not only good for the environment, but it also makes good business sense. By producing clean energy, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and lower our energy costs. The goal is to impact the environment meaningfully and set an example for other companies in our industry.”

The team at Tosla Nutricosmetics also encourages those in the company and in the community to live a sustainable lifestyle. The company helps employees reduce the use of fossil fuel by providing electric cars so that those who travel more than 80 km to work can ride-share. And the company also sponsors an electric car for one of the region's treasured arts communities: SNG Opera in Balet Ljubljana (Ljubljana Slovene National Theatre Opera and Ballet).

Want to learn more about sustainability in the beauty supplements category? Join me (Deanna Utroske), top industry experts, innovative brand leaders, and Tosla team members for Sustainable Beauty Inside Out, a live podcast series starting on November 9.

Community, Compassion, and Social Change

People figure into the ESG strategy at Tosla Nutricosmetics in even more ways than those mentioned above. “Social responsibility is another crucial aspect of our ESG strategy; and we are committed,” Artač tells me, “to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization and the broader community.”

The company is “dedicated to supporting social causes that align with our values and mission,” and believes that art is a powerful tool for expression and social change. This is why the manufacturer is “proud to support the Slovenia Open to Art initiative and International Watercolour Festival Castra, which aim to promote creativity and cultural diversity in the Slovenian art scene. By supporting these initiatives,” says Artač, “we hope to contribute to the development of local artists and help create a more vibrant and inclusive art community.”

Tosla also recognizes the power of sports to “bring people together and promote teamwork, leadership, and healthy living,” which is why the company is “thrilled to be able to support a local women’s soccer team in their athletic pursuits, but even more so to support the Association of Paraplegic Dancers.” It’s a contribution that also promotes diversity and inclusivity for all.

Transparency, Traceability, and Trust

Transparency is a buzzword in beauty, and rightly so. Transparency opens the door to reliable information; that in turn builds trust, allowing partners all along the value chain to continue sharing accurate information and to make decisions and claims that they can confidently stand behind.

“Good governance,” concurs Artač, “is fundamental to the success of any business, and as part of the Forward>> initiative at Tosla Nutricosmetics, we prioritize transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct in all our operations. By upholding high standards of governance,” he says, “we aim to earn the trust and confidence of our stakeholders and create long-term value for all.”

And when the Forward >> program kicked off, they brought in leadership and amended company policy, adding not only fresh eyes and fresh ideas but also formally codifying ESG at Tosla: “We expanded our advisory board by adding dedicated members who oversee each aspect of our ESG policy. By appointing members to specifically focus on environmental, social, and governance matters, we ensure a comprehensive approach to sustainability and responsible business practices,” says Artač, adding that, “These board members bring valuable expertise and diverse perspectives to guide our decision-making processes.”

“Moreover,” he explains, “to emphasize the importance of ESG within our company, we incorporated these commitments into our company statute. By doing so, we formalized our dedication to integrating ESG considerations into our corporate governance framework.” Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance efforts are literally company policy at Tosla.

Looking at ESG in beauty through the lens of this manufacturer’s latest initiatives, we can start to understand how a company’s ethics translate not only into meaningful social and environmental change but also into opportunities and rewards for its business partners.