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Brief Published: 8 Jul 2021

Clean Beauty Connect 2021: Driving a Responsible Industry

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Clean Beauty Connect virtual summit

As we explore in Decoding ‘Clean’ Beauty, conscious consumerism increasingly demands brand transparency and responsibility. Experts gathered for the 2021 Clean Beauty Connect virtual summit (June 28-29) to discuss how the industry can further drive the ‘clean’ beauty movement and meet sustainability goals. Stylus highlights the key takeaways.

  • Transparency Triumphs: The importance of transparency was touched on throughout most discussions, with a focus on product and ingredient verification. The rise in consumers questioning how ingredients are sourced and processed is driving demand for better regulation, accountability and reliability. “Brands shouldn’t be claiming something that they don’t have documentation to support,” said Donna Petretti, marketing manager at British speciality chemicals business Croda.

    Experts agreed, consumers are much more mindful of their consumption post-pandemic, and combined with information sharing on social platforms, are quick to demonise ingredients that are deemed toxic. Panellists advised brands to ensure they have science-backed verification to allay confusion and fearmongering.

  • The Power of Data: More comprehensive data on raw ingredients can allow brands to produce products to a higher ‘clean’ and sustainable standard. Leading the way, US third-party verifier Novi is revolutionising how products are developed through the democratisation of data. Brands can leverage Novi’s data network to search, discover and source ingredients and packaging with data profiles that meet their ‘clean’, cruelty-free and sustainability requirements.

    Technology can drive efficiency by making the communication of information easier, consequently providing greater transparency through third-party verification. “Transparency allows you to have diversity of information and make informed decisions,” said Kimberly Shenk, co-founder and chief executive of Novi.
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  • Advocating for All: Experts agreed ‘clean’ beauty should not be a luxury. The beauty industry has a significant role to play in democratising ‘clean’ beauty through the availability of products and information. One way to do this is through legislation.

    “Passing legislations guarantees safety regardless of where you’re shopping, how much money you have to spend, and what research is available to you,” said Lindsay Dahl, senior vice-president of social mission at US company Beautycounter. See Brands Take a Stand for more.

  • Collective Environmental Action: With ongoing environmental issues, there is limited time, and a need for drastic changes. Panellists emphasised the importance of co-operation and information sharing for the greater good.

    Beauty retailer Credo and make-up brand Mob Beauty (both US-based), Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay and Element Packaging (UK) have united to create Pact, a not-for-profit initiative introduced to reduce cosmetic packaging waste through circularity. The collaboration makes sustainable values accessible for brands as well as consumers.

    “Clean beauty is a matter of collective change,” said Juliette Sicot-Crevet, vice-president of naturals and sustainability at Swiss fragrance and flavour business Firmenich. For more collaborative opportunities, see Beauty Sustainability Round-Up: June 2021
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  • Synthetics Vs Natural: Experts agreed: natural is not always an environmentally sound choice. Some natural ingredients, such as palm oil, demand vast resources and have a tremendous impact on the environment. But certain synthetics can lessen this ecological burden. Education around the functionality of synthetics needs to be improved to destigmatise manmade ingredients.

  • Function is the Future: Consumers don’t want to compromise on results; they want to know how products and high-performance ingredients can make their lives better. “If a product doesn’t bring you joy, you’re not going to buy it again,” said Gillian Gormon Round, chief executive of US cosmetics brand Kjaer Weis. “Beauty should be a joy as well as problem solving.”

For more on sustainable cosmetic formulations, see In-Cosmetics Formulation Summit 2020.

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