Walmart and Target lead charge to get sustainable cosmetics on shelves
American retail giants Walmart and Target are two of the first companies to sign up to a new industry leadership group that aims to steer the beauty sector towards more sustainable products.
The group, organised by Forum for the Future, aims to bring together stakeholders across the entire value chain – from ingredient manufacturers and scientists to consumer brands and retailers –to diagnose the challenges faced by the industry and to find measures to put more sustainable products on shelves.
Target’s chief CSR officer Laysha Ward said: “We know that wellness and sustainability matter to our guests, and it is our goal to provide them with innovative solutions that meet them where they live, learn, work and play.
“The demand for sustainable products is ever growing, and we recognize the need for industry-wide collaboration in order to bring better and more sustainable products to consumers. We look forward to working with Forum on spearheading this exciting new phase that will bring quality sustainable products to the market more quickly.”
The creation of the leadership group, which will meet for the first time in December, is one of the suggestions made by Forum for the Future’s new report, Driving the Big Shift to Sustainability.
The report also calls for that group to establish collaborative measures to help bring new sustainable ingredients to market more quickly.
For example the group will discuss new market measures such as shared intellectual property rights for certain sustainable ingredient applications which would allow more companies to get sustainable products on the shelves.
Sustainability issues in the cosmetics industry can range from the use of microbeads, to the sourcing of raw material like palm oil, to deforestation.
Helen Clarkson, the director of Forum for the Future US, said: “The project to achieve more sustainable beauty and personal care products is clear evidence that the industry has embraced the need to collaborate in order to make positive, long-lasting change.
“In the short term, it is vital that the industry maintains the impetus that’s already been created in order to make sure these proposed changes take effect.
“We’re thrilled to be entrusted with the task of creating a new leadership group that will take this project to the next level, and are delighted that Target and Walmart will be part of this new phase.
“As momentum grows, we hope more stakeholders will be part of the leadership group to help us connect industry activities on sustainability in the beauty and personal care sector, for maximum impact that will ultimately benefit the consumer.”
The cosmetics industry in the UK moved to end concerns over the use of microbeads in its products earlier this year, with most major retailers pledging to phase out microbeads by 2017.