Spreading Clean Beauty

Why eco-friendly cosmetics are the new market leaders

In the last year, 54% of British adults brought eco-friendly cosmetics, representing remarkably high market penetration for what was once a niche segment (Mintel, 2020). Equally, research shows that 52% of BPC consumers choose products that are made with natural ingredients, while environmental concerns are a primary reason for buying natural/organic toiletries (Mintel, 2020).

This is because consumers are becoming increasingly aware of issues surrounding sustainability. Consistent media attention on topics such as plastic pollution has put the environment at the forefront of consumers’ minds, and meanwhile, social media pressure compels them to act.

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Looking to the future, it’s the BPC brands that address these issues that will be best placed to succeed. By prioritizing sustainability, brands can attract increasingly conscious consumers and remain relevant in an increasingly demanding marketplace.

Capitalizing on sustainability 

This decade, it’ll be brands that create versatile, recyclable, and ethical products that will stand out. Labels that take the lead in educating consumers about sustainability will be best placed to benefit from the increased demand for eco-friendly cosmetics, but transparency will be essential to nurturing trust. Consumers are more empowered than ever – and this means they’re doing their homework ahead of purchase. 

Therefore, brands need to incorporate sustainability and ethics into every stage of their supply chain, or risk ‘greenwashing’ accusations. Provital takes this imperative extremely seriously; for example, initiatives like BioDeVaTe ensure meaningful action on sustainability. As part of this project, Provital works with local farmers in Catalonia to source endemic botanicals. This keeps the sourcing of raw materials local and mutually beneficial for our local communities.

However, creating eco-friendly cosmetics isn’t merely an exercise in marketing; sustainable practices have substantial advantages throughout the research and development process. By nurturing sustainable practices in the BPC space, we can streamline production, save resources, and conserve raw materials – which ultimately, leads to financial savings. For instance, thanks to the improvements we have made, new facilities, and new production processes, Provital has reduced energy consumption by 30% versus kilos of product produced, as well as cut the water usage per kilo of product produced by 40%.

Effective messaging about eco-friendly cosmetics

Thus, full supply chain transparency is key; however, skepticism remains. Looking to the UK once more, 33% of adults say they think it is difficult to know which BPC brands and products are eco-friendly (Mintel, 2020). As we’ve touched on already, consumers demand honesty and transparency, or else, brands risk accusations that their environmental claims are empty.

However, this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a challenge; brands can alleviate confusion and position themselves as educators. Clearly communicated and highly visible social responsibility projects are key: for instance, one of Provital’s flagship sustainability initiatives, a collaboration with organic farmers in Mexico, recently received the Equator Prize for sustainable business. 

Equally, participating in third-party certification is essential. With certifications and guidelines like the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Guidelines, COSMOS organic, Ecolabel, or The Leaping Bunny, brands can adhere to independently verified standards, and in turn, reassure consumers that their sustainability efforts are authentic. Considering the growth in the eco-friendly cosmetics segment – last year, 46% of NPD featured eco/ethical claims – it’s essential brands position themselves as the fully transparent, eco-ethical choice (Mintel, 2020).

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