26 Aug 2021 --- The Sustainable Beauty Coalition (SBC) is on a mission “to accelerate sustainability in the industry.” The not-for-profit British Beauty Council set up the alliance to spur sustainability throughout the UK beauty sector. The organization will do this by informing brands of best practices and encouraging them to perform these, along with engaging in collaboration with other names in the skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fragrance sectors.
Highlighting the importance of a beauty industry that is led by all-round environmental consciousness, the impact of a sustainability-focused UK beauty industry would be “a massive step in the right direction towards a greener society,” suggests Jo Chidley, co-founder of Beauty Kitchen. To further its aims, Chidley outlines that the SBC will “work with the government” and “support the Race to Net Zero campaign.”
Fostering the courage to change
The arrival of the coalition comes after over a year’s dedicated work to develop a more sustainable UK beauty industry, which began with an independent sustainability report commissioned by the British Beauty Council to analyze the beauty sector and its consumers. The Courage to Change report sets out a vision for how the beauty sector can progress to advance as an essential part of a sustainable society.
Click to EnlargeSource: British Beauty Council.Social impact consultancy Junxion Strategy researched and wrote the report which was published in November 2020. Complete with a survey of 3,000 UK consumers carried out by environmental charity Hubbub, it found that one in seven consumers wanted to buy an environmentally friendly beauty product. In addition, 88% of people want brands to use less packaging and display clearer information on product recycling.
“It was very clear to us from the Courage to Change report that consumers want the beauty industry to do better, and they expect us to do better,” asserts Millie Kendall MBE, chief executive of the British Beauty Council. “We have an array of British talent who are very innovative in the sustainable area, but to make real tangible change the industry must come together and collaborate.”
Beauty Kitchen is a founding member of the SBC and is also the first high street beauty brand in the UK to become a certified B Corporation in 2017. Certified B Corporations are companies that meet recognized standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. In the five years since it was announced as a certified B Corporation, Beauty Kitchen has increased its B Corp score from 89.3 to 139.8, making it the highest-rated B Corp in the UK’s beauty industry.
Beauty Kitchen has developed its business model with environmental awareness and consciousness at its forefront, prioritizing sustainability and purpose while being mindful to carefully balance this with profit via a focus on sustainability and new initiatives. For example, the brand promotes a ‘Return, Refill, Repeat’ approach to product use by washing and reusing packaging. The initiative is in response to the reality that in the UK over 95% of beauty packaging is thrown away after just one use.
The need for SBC
Emphasizing where the SBC should be in terms of members, Chidley says: “The Sustainable Beauty Coalition should have 100 UK brands signed up by now! We hope to eclipse that figure soon.”
The SBC is supported by an advisory panel comprising industry experts, brand owners and industry body representatives who all report to the British Beauty Council's executive board. Along with working with the government to champion the work of the beauty industry and support the agenda in the Race to Net Zero campaign, the SBC has a number of other key initiatives. These include:
- Devising a clear strategy and roadmap to advance sustainability in the beauty industry,
- Developing links across the industry, communities, voices and professional bodies to accelerate collaboration, knowledge and bolder collective efforts,
- Acting to create stronger frameworks and policies for the UK's beauty sector,
- Monitoring the roadmap's progress and keeping the execution of initiatives under review.
“There are many reasons to join the SBC from a business point of view, but two in particular stand out: firstly, our mission is to help tackle the climate and waste crisis, and secondly it’s what consumers want,” urges Chidley, trumpeting the call for brands to get on board with the SBC.
“The customers of the UK’s beauty industry are increasingly aware of the impact of our buying decisions on the planet; now is the time to take action and show them that we can make a collective positive impact,” highlights Chidley. “That combination of ethical and commercial justification should be more than enough to encourage more brands to join the SBC.”
Click to EnlargeSource: SBC.Jayn Sterland, chair of the SBC, says: “We believe the UK beauty and wellness industry must play its part in bringing about bold, urgent change. Consumers are keen to see this happen and they are looking to us to clean up our act by addressing the many climate-related problems we have created, such as non-recyclable plastic packaging, chemicals contaminating the oceans, and unregulated, misleading product claims.”
She adds: “Whilst a growing number of brands are taking significant steps to reduce their negative impact on the planet, these efforts are patchy and uncoordinated and the coalition seeks to address this.”
Hoping to instil the urgency that is required in the fight against climate change and the growing sustainability needs throughout the beauty sector, Kendall stresses: “The beauty industry needs to be transparent, accountable and make changes now. We will lose the respect of the consumer if we don’t.”
As Beauty Kitchen reveals how surveys show that 95% of consumers believe their own actions make a difference, the attention immediately turns to what the industry is doing. “We can and should do better. The beauty industry's purpose is, after all, to encourage the intrinsic beauty of people and our planet to shine,” says Kendall.
Chidley concludes: “The UK beauty industry is worth almost £30bn. Just imagine what the impact could be if the entire industry gets behind the cause and joins the SBC. It would be a massive step in the right direction towards a greener society.”
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Reporter