environment2022/04/20

How Can Beauty & Wellness Brands Invest In Our Planet?

by Soil Association

Earth Day’s 2022 theme is "Invest in our Planet"- but how can businesses do this?

Though everyone has a part to play in protecting Earth’s resources and avoiding climate catastrophe, this year’s Earth Day has a particular focus on influencing the two key players who can have an impact on a large scale: businesses and politicians. The call is on these groups to create a 21st century economy that fulfils three key aims: 

  • Bring back the health of our planet
  • Protect all species, including our own
  • Create opportunities for everyone on the planet

Businesses can be a force for good in protecting our Earth if they aim for an economy that fulfils these positive steps. These considerations need to be built into their business model if wider economic change is going to occur.

Why do businesses need to “invest in our planet”?

According to a study by Mintel, 40% of consumers believe businesses are responsible for preventing pollution entering rivers and seas and 50% believe they are responsible for increasing the amount of packaging that is recyclable. Interestingly, 18% of those surveyed believe that skincare and haircare product manufacturers should be held most responsible for protecting the environment, and a third say they have stopped buying certain products because of ethical or environmental concerns.

The demand clearly exists for an economy that works for the planet- it is now up to businesses to take the positive steps needed to make this a reality.

What can businesses do to protect the environment?

One of the most positive steps a business can take is certifying to a third-party certification standard that independently accredits how sustainable they are. While 52% of consumers say they do not trust brands to be honest about their environmental impact, 42% said they would be encouraged to see a brand as more sustainable if it had gone through the process of getting third party certification.

The beauty and wellbeing industry, in particular, is heavily unregulated. As a result, certification is often a voluntary process. In relation to the term organic, beauty and wellbeing brands can legally claim their product is “organic” even if the formulation contains just 1% organic ingredients!

Soil Association COSMOS Organic certification is the gold standard certificate of sustainability for a beauty or wellbeing product. This is not only because it verifies that a product contains a certain amount of organic ingredients (at least 20% of the overall ingredients must be organic), but because it is an all-encompassing certification that invests in the Earth.

How do certified organic beauty and wellbeing brands “invest in our planet”?

Brands that have been accredited to our COSMOS Organic standard are helping to push for a 21st century economy that protects the environment. A brand certified to this standard has fulfilled each of the three Earth Day economic aims.

In order to bring back the health of the planet, Soil Association COSMOS Organic brands have sourced their ingredients from a system of farming that nourishes the soil by working with nature, and not against it. The level of microbes that create a healthy soil is higher on organic farms, allowing crops to be grown without the use of artificial nitrogen fertilisers. 

The prohibition of nitrogen fertilisers protects all the Earth’s species. Less run off of these chemicals into waterways protects aquatic life. Scientists agree that nitrogen fertilisers are the biggest contributor to the oceanic “dead zones” that have grown exponentially over the last 20 years, so, if a business truly wants to be “ocean friendly”, it needs to be sourcing its ingredients from organic farming. Organic farms also provide a haven for bees and other pollinators, which are 50% higher in number than on conventional farms.

All of this, ultimately, protects our species and provides opportunities for everyone on the planet. Organic soils are more resistant to the effects of climate change as they store more water, which protects people’s livelihoods. Our clean water sources are also protected. To be certified as COSMOS Organic, the whole of a product’s supply chain has to be checked and accredited, from the farm ingredients are grown on, to the manufacturing and processing facilities. This ensures sustainability is adhered to at every step. If beauty and wellbeing brands really want to “invest in our planet”, they should be certifying as organic with Soil Association COSMOS. 

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