NEWS > 20 June 2023
Sustainability is no longer a trend, but a value to be pursued at all costs. For years, the climate changes underway and the need to reduce the environmental impact of human activities to preserve the planet have guided government regulations and policies, as well as social movements all over the world.
The growing sensitivity on the part of the consumers has driven the green transition of the cosmetic industry. The "Make Up The Future" report prepared by Quantis, a leading environmental sustainability consultancy, highlights that raw material extraction and processing processes (which impact 10% on total emissions of the sector), excessive use of plastic for packaging (20%), transport (10%) and the phase of use of the product (40%) are the main factors that determine the impact of beauty on the environmental balance.
Forbes reports that the cosmetics industry generates up to 120 billion units of plastic packaging annually and contributes to the loss of 18 million acres of forest.
All sectors of the cosmetics industry are requested to increase investments in research and development of new solutions for reducing the environmental impact.
The ingredients and raw materials sector certainly plays a strategic role. During the 2023 edition of Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna it emerged how the sector, which was the protagonist of the dedicated area Ingredients Zone within Cosmopack, is at the centre of a growing awareness of the issue of sustainability and in search of more effective definitions and regulations than trivial references to concepts such as "natural origin" typical of the so-called "green-washing".
The round table hosted by ECOVIA INTELLIGENCE, entitled "Green Ingredients for Sustainability", underlined how the market is experiencing a huge transformation. The greater attention of the consumer to the subject, the even more dramatic impact of climate change, the complicated international scenarios with consequent difficulties in the supply of raw materials and the increase in energy costs due to the war in Ukraine are the factors that require the cosmetic industry to look for solutions to preserve biodiversity, with low-energy consumption and with better waste management.
Biotech as a new frontier for supplying raw materials for the cosmetic industry was the subject of the round table entitled "The Blue Biotech Wave: innovating for ocean preservation", organized as part of the CosmoTalks calendar by the Trend Forecasting Agency Fashion Snoops.
Biotech offers solutions to protect the planet's biodiversity, today enormously threatened by human activities, and primarily by the cosmetics industry. Extracting raw materials from vegetable sources is no longer sustainable for the balance of the planet. The Biotech reseach offers innumerable alternative opportunities: Oceans, for example, are one of the most analysed and still little exploited sources. Today, many brands are studying the active ingredients of algae for the development of anti-ageing cosmetic products.
There is still a lot of research to be done, and greater synergy with other industries is also essential, but biotech can certainly become an indispensable element for sustainable evolution and environmental neutrality in the near future.
Cosmetics packaging is one of the elements with the greatest environmental impact. The massive use of plastic and the growing amount of microplastics dispersed around the planet are driving governments to issue increasingly stringent regulations. However, reversing the course is not immediate: in cosmetics not all products to date can be recyclable, not all can be refillable, as highlighted at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna 2023 on the occasion of the CosmoTalks session organized by QUANTIS entitled "Is 100 % circularity of cosmetics packaging achievable?”.
Today the packaging industry is moving along three lines of development: recycling, refillable and how to remove waste.
Concerning recycling, the goal is to reduce the amount of virgin plastic introduced into the planet. The transition to mono-material packaging is certainly important, because it introduces more easily manageable and recyclable packaging into the market. The sustainable evolution of the cosmetics industry is represented by the increase on the market of refillable packaging solutions versus single use packaging.
The search for suitable materials and design solutions still offers big opportunities, and refillable packaging will certainly be a key element for future development.
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