How the beauty and personal care industry enhanced its sustainability

It started as a dialogue about "ingredients of concern" in cosmetics and other personal care products, orchestrated by rival retailers Target and Walmart.

Three years later, that ongoing conversation — facilitated by the Sustainability Consortium and Forum for the Future, and representing 18 industry stakeholders — has produced an ambitious series of recommendations that guide principles of sustainability for this class of consumer goods and how these metrics should be disclosed.

The most tangible result of this unusually tight-knit collaboration is an assessment tool published this month that will be used by TSC and the participating retailers — starting later this year and on their own schedules — to harmonize how sustainability metrics are collected and rated for beauty and personal care products.

Five retailers have committed to evolving their rating system (so far): the two big ones that kickstarted the effort as well as CVS Health; Sephora; and Walgreens.

"We believe that, over time, this tool will be valuable in both evaluating the sustainability of the products we sell at CVS Pharmacy and increasing the availability of sustainable products more broadly," said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy at CVS Health.

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