Made in Britain was joined by a stellar cast of leading health and beauty businesses to discuss the opportunities sustainability brings for the sector in November's webinar.
Panellists included Emma Heathcote James, Little Soap Company, Will King, King of Shaves and Siobhan McGeown, Tropic Skincare. The expert panel was moderated by Julia Wray of Cosmetics Business who opened the discussion with some startling statistics – 53% of UK shoppers bought eco products according to Mintel – demonstrating a healthy consumer appetite for more sustainable products and is having a knock-on impact on businesses who are underpinning business decisions based on sustainability metrics.
Julia explored several topics with the panel starting with the biggest sustainability issue that the beauty sector faces. Tropic’s Siobhan McGeown commented that the ability to recycle beauty products at home was especially challenging. Her view was that it is the responsibility of brands to make it as easy as possible for consumers. Will King, King of Shaves agreed, “With great power comes great sustainability.” For Emma Heathcote James at Little Soap Company, transparency and honesty are her key focus areas. Emma spoke about Little Soap Company’s accreditations and certifications, including Vegan, Cruelty-Free and RSPO which all cost the business money. However, both Little Soap Company and Tropic agreed that these certifications are proof points for businesses and make it easy for consumers to make more informed choices about the products they buy.
On the issue of plastics, Will King commented that single-use plastic is not sustainable. Having trialled refills in the past to combat the single-use issue, King of Shaves had to consider alternative solutions, after sales dropped by half during the trial. King of Shaves now uses PCR (post-consumer recycled) plastic in packaging, but the larger issue, claims Will, is that 91% of all plastic is not recycled.
Tropic has also released new innovative solutions to combat single-use plastic, such as their balloon in a bottle which ensures all the product is drawn out of the bottle. It can also be refilled. Tropic offers an incentive for refills too in a bid to drive consumer behaviour change. Tropic’s refill and reward scheme provides a voucher for a future purchase, for items such as their make-up pallet.
Tropic continued to discuss the importance of gaining consumer trust too, showing “progress, not perfection” which the brand demonstrates through its annual report.
The overriding theme of the webinar focused on education with all three panellists agreeing that it is the responsibility of business to educate consumers about sustainable business issues, such as recyclability and provenance. Central to this is the ability to be honest – about what works, what doesn’t work and everything in between. Brands that build relationships based on truth, will avoid greenwashing (making untrue and unfounded claims about a product’s sustainable attributes) and will increase loyalty among their consumers. As Little Soap Company says, “remember, the customer is savvy.”
The Sustainability Matters Webinar Series is hosted by Made in Britain’s Green Growth Programme. Accessible via member’s profile pages, the Green Growth Assessment provides a self-checker to measure your business’ sustainability progress. It is the entry point to the Green Growth Programme, a portal full of practical advice and tools to help every manufacturer advance their progress on sustainability.
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