Earth Day 2024 – Planet vs. Plastics

- 5 minute read
Earth Day 2024
Performance Lead

Olivia is an eCommerce and digital marketing specialist with over 12 years of experience, having worked in-house for a number of international brands including Swarovski. Now, as a Foundation's Performance Lead, she helps clients understand their online marketplace, define success, and create digital strategies that achieve their goals. With a passion for eCommerce and beauty alike, working at Foundation, alongside some of the amazing beauty and wellness brands, has been fulfilling for Olivia.

As this year’s theme for Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs. Plastics, we thought it fitting to take a dive into Earth Day and look how the beauty industry has been a driving force when tackling environmental factors. 

With many brands making it a focus to swap to more sustainable packaging, we’ll take a look at who are leading the way to be the UK’s most sustainable beauty and wellness brands. 

A bit of history

First celebrated in 1970, this year marks the 54th Earth Day. As a reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, Earth Day is now a widely recognised awareness day across the world, serving us a call to action to address these pressing issues facing our planet. 

Plastics vs Planet

Throughout the years, there have been many different ‘themes’ to Earth Day, from Climate Action, Invest in our Planet and Protect Our Species. 

Over the last 60 years, 8 billion tons of plastic has been produced. According to a study by Science Advances, 90.5% of this plastic has not been recycled. National Geographic claims that half of all plastics ever made have been produced in the last 15 years, with production expected to double. This is one of the many reasons that Earth Day has decided to tackle this problem head on, challenging a 60% reduction of all plastics by 2040.

While reducing plastic consumption has become more widely adopted, we still have a long way to go – more than 1 million plastic water bottles are sold every minute and worryingly, plastics, and more commonly, microplastics are everywhere, including in what we eat. Environmental charities are pushing businesses to see change across the entire supply chain.   And sadly, the beauty industry is a large contributing factor, producing 120 billion units of wastage each year.

The customer is always right

As awareness grows, more and more consumers are looking for sustainable beauty brands. 

A report by First Insight shows that 90% of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay 10% more for sustainable packaging and this expectation that brands must act in a sustainable way is stretching across older generations too. Across generations, 73% (combined) feel that sustainable packaging is very or somewhat important today.

Sustainable beauty brands

With sustainability being a core focus for the beauty industry, we’re proud to have worked with some great brands making waves in the space.

Tropic Skincare

We’ve worked with some remarkable brands in the past, and most notably for their sustainability is Tropic Skincare. Tropic’s values of creating a healthier, greener, more empowered world, is evident in everything the brand does.  From the ingredients used in formulation methods, to  packaging – sustainability is at its core. For example, check out how Tropic’s inner bottle balloon works, which helps reduce product wastage and is 100% refillable. Tropic also has a fantastic recycle reward scheme which you can learn more about here

Lush

Most internationally known for its stance against animal cruelty and ethical practices is Lush. Since launching in 1995, Lush have continuously proved that a brand doesn’t need to test on animals to create effective, amazing smelling products. Charming sustainable initiatives such as its Knot Wrap, provide consumers a sustainable alternative to gift wrapping. Since launching in 2009, Lush have sold (and consequently upcycled) 47 tonnes of these beautiful scarves. 

Lush Ethical Sourcing
Source: Lush – Ethical Sourcing

Weleda

When we think of a green tube, we think of Weleda’s famous Skin Food moisturiser. Less well known is Weleda’s commitment to biodiveirsty and that the brand has been awarded the Look For The Zero badge, showing that none of its products contain any form of plastic. Weleda does so much good through its products. Both tradition and innovation are important for Weleda and act as a basis for its commitment to environmental, social and economic sustainability. 

Spectrum Collections

Another brilliant client we’ve worked with is Spectrum Collections. While lots of brush companies market themselves as sustainable, with its bamboo brushes and synthetic bristles, Spectrum was leading the plastic reduction revolution and in 2018 cut its plastic packaging by 50%. Spectrum also gives 1% of its gross revenue to plastic clean up concerns. We also love and appreciate Spectrum’s transparency when it comes to packaging. The brand isn’t perfect, but it’s not claiming to be, with admissions that while plastic reduction is important, so is hygiene and quality. 

Neal’s Yard

Another iconic, sustainably focused wellness brand is Neal’s Yard. Not only were Neal’s Yard the first UK brand to become Look For The Zero certified, it’s been carbon neutral since 2008 and has a great recycling scheme available in all stores. There’s a huge long list of all of Neal’s Yard sustainable initiatives, go check it out here

Source: Neal’s Yard – About Us

So, what can you do?

Beauty consumers are continuously looking for brands to be more transparent about their supply chains and provide clearer messaging on what they’re doing to be more sustainable. If your brand is plastic free, or you’re taking active measures to become more sustainable, there are loads of recognised initiatives, badges and awards that will act as social proof for consumers. 

There are a lot of benefits in creating dedicated landing pages (both from a consumers findability perspective and also these landing pages can add SEO value to your site). These landing pages are a great place to showcase the sustainability efforts your brand undertakes, you can go into detail about these issues, whether its how your brand has or is trying to cut plastic, how you give back to community or your ethical sourcing methods, consumers love to read it.  

More than ever, consumers are doing their research and following up sustainability claims. 

You can provide proof to your sustainability claims by gaining certifications, awards or badges. There are so many different schemes available, from becoming b-corp certified, joining forces with Positive Luxury for the butterfly mark or proving your commitments with the soil association, to name just a few. Talking about these certifications on your social media and adding the badges to your website- on the homepage and product pages, demonstrates your commitment to sustainability in the most authentic, legitimate way.  

Source: Tropic Skincare – Our Values

Craft the right message, with Foundation

There are so many other brilliant beauty brands that are innovating and making waves when it comes to sustainability. While before, for brands like the Body shop, sustainability was a USP. In recent times, ethical sourcing and a focus on sustainability is not just a nice-to-have; for many, it’s essential.

Foundation has heaps of experience articulating important brand messages across various channels, be it through paid adverts, PR campaigns or onsite content. Speak to one of our team to find out how we can help you do the same.

For more information on how you can get involved in Earth Day 2024, visit earthday.org to find out what you can do to help. 

We also have created a white paper on the topic – sustainability in beauty – check it out here.

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