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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Luxury Cosmetic Brands Try Out Sustainable Packaging

Packaging has always been a bone of contention for cosmetic companies. With sustainability standards increasing, most companies are wanting to use more sustainable packaging material. Major companies like Chanel, Coty, Avon, L’Oreal Group, Mast Global and Estee Lauder are now inaugural members of an initiative created by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Institute for Sustainability that aims to find ways to work with suppliers, retailers and customers to advance sustainable packaging. The Environmental Leader reports that the Sustainable Packaging Roundtable, which kicked off last month, will focus on how to drive and measure progress in sustainability. Cosmetic companies are becoming more aware of sustainable packaging and are incorporating this into their CSR initiatives. Companies that are involved in the roundtable agree that packaging should reflect design, reuse and recovery rather than the traditional reduce and recycle approach. New York held the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in May which highlighted some of the issues the roundtable plans to address. The summit specifically talked about the need to increase the use of sustainable packaging and also to improve measurement techniques for the environmental impact of products. The summit also explored sustainable cosmetics and especially paraben-free formulations. Many luxury brands have already started exploring sustainable packaging options. Apart from this, they have also started to reduce the amount of packaging required. Cosmetic companies especially are concerned not just about packaging but also the health impact of their products. Many chemicals in cosmetics have been receiving bad press recently and with several campaigns against them, they want to be sure to do the right thing when it comes to their formulations as well. Earlier this month, Estee Lauder was among several major brand names that agreed to adopt the How2Recycle Label, a voluntary recycling label developed by GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition. The How2Recycle Label, which is based on the UK’s On-Pack Recycling Label, aims to reduce consumer confusion in the U.S. Luxury brands are often critiqued on the basis that they do not absorb the true cost of business. Whilst this may still be true, there is no denying that they are trying to get better at becoming more sustainable. Compromising on packaging may actually hit luxury brands far harder than high-street brands because for all intents and purposes, the packaging itself becomes part of their brand image and identity. So it is remarkable that they are even trying to make a difference - but there is still a long way to go before it becomes widespread. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons 
Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshotAkhila Vijayaraghavan

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

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