The Verdigris blog - sustainability initiatives in beauty

04 Dec 2017
Topics: packaging, sustainability

Laurel Brunner reports on how the Responsible Beauty Initiative is aiming to improve sustainability in that sector along with improving ethical and social performance to bring more than cosmetic improvements.

Another week, another sector-specific sustainability initiative, this time in the cosmetics business. The Responsible Beauty Initiative (RBI) wants to improve sustainability in that sector along with improving ethical and social performance, focusing on sustainable procurement. At the core of RBI is EcoVadis a provider of supply chain sustainability ratings, working with four big names in the beauty business: Clarins, Coty, Groupe Rocher and L'Oréal. These companies have committed to drive sustainability by making procurement companies in their supply chains aware of RBI so that they can share its goals. The RBI members buy an awful lot of packaging, so it makes sense for packaging printers and manufacturers to be aware of this initiative and its procurement emphasis.

The collaboration is intended to enhance sustainable practises with a view to improving environmental footprints and social impacts. It's also about adding value across the members' supply chains. And it's a remarkable declaration, a tacit acknowledgement that sustainability policies can enhance a company's value and also that the cosmetics business has a heavy environmental footprint. Graphics professionals working with any of the RBI brands should be aware that sustainability policies and practises could be a factor in attracting and retaining new business from Clarins, Coty, Groupe Rocher or L'Oréal and their associated brands.

Part of the RBI will be to make sure that suppliers have environmental policies in place and that those policies are actively pursued. The group will also share best practices and procedures, and use common tools so that suppliers follow common efficiency models. Quite how this will work has not been fully explained, but it will be based on the EcoVadis ratings platform for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This platform for CSR assessment has a system for measuring CSR performance using social, ethical, supply chain and environmental criteria. It is the supply chain bit of this model that will interest printing companies, since the positive environmental agenda of a print services provider enhances the CSR of their customer.

The CSR work that EcoVadis does includes tools to help guide improvements and a scorecard. Scorecard results are shared with RBI members and the EcoVadis network. This is to help suppliers to avoid duplicated effort. The RBI members are signing a membership charter and other companies and suppliers are invited to get involved in the project. Further details are available here: http://responsiblebeautyinitiative.com/

- Laurel Brunner

This article was produced by the Verdigris project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print's positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa GraphicsEFIFespaHPKodakKornitRicohSpindrift, Unity Publishing and Xeikon.

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