We've all heard of sustainability. After all, barely a week goes by without news of activist movements' agendas, political and corporate pledges and celebrity campaigns on sustainability issues.
Yet, do we really stop to ask ourselves how we as individuals can live more sustainably? For a start, do we know what sustainability is?
Sustainability is made up of three pillars: economy, society, and the environment, which are informally and more memorably labeled: profit; people; and planet. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals comprise 17 areas in which sustainability must be a paramount consideration. These include not only the obvious ones such as climate action and sustainable and renewable energy, but also zero hunger and zero poverty and a right to quality education.
As you can see, the three pillars were identified as they need to co-exist in equilibrium for the planet to be on a truly sustainable trajectory.
These are huge questions that you may feel beyond the capabilities of indie beauty brands to address as they go about starting up and growing their businesses.
The larger companies may have the cash to splash on reports and in publicising their sustainability credentials, which may not be all they seem either, but there are plenty of opportunities for indie beauty brands to make a difference. Even the small steps indie brands make can help their customers understand how individual actions deplete or sustain the world's finite natural resources.
Listen to our CEO Lorraine Dallmeier, a chartered environmentalist, and our Membership Coordinator Ana Green who is also a long-time green beauty blogger, discuss why the beauty industry is perhaps tackling sustainability from the wrong perspective and where indie beauty brands can have an edge in playing their part.In this podcast, you will hear:
- Why the size and scale of a beauty business should not be a deciding factor when it comes to embedding sustainability into a business.
- Why sustainable practices are far more than about the manufacturing or use of resources.
- That on a positive note, the five, big-brand beauty companies we researched all had sustainability commitments and policies well publicised and easy to find on their websites.
- However, that some of these big beauty brands pledged themselves to long-term goals that had vague benchmarks against which to measure the success of their actions.
- About our survey of indie beauty brands in our community which showed their huge desire to operate sustainably, but that they faced overwhelm at how to go about that and stay profitable.
- Examples of three indie beauty brands that have made significant progress in operating sustainably in three different areas of their business: refilling; upcycling; and circular beauty.
- How indie beauty brands can start their sustainability journey more easily by focusing on a single area of their business, such as plastic waste reduction, or sourcing ingredients from suppliers who support Fair Trade.
- Why indie brands have an enormous opportunity and edge over big beauty businesses by shifting the conversation to talk about slowing down our relentless consumption of beauty products.
- How indie beauty can educate its customers about the need to consume less in the first place by buying for example more multi-functional and longer-lasting products.