Since 2009, specialist research, consulting, and training company Ecovia Intelligence has organized and sponsored the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, a three-day event which covers “sustainability issues in the cosmetics & personal care industry” with a goal of encouraging “sustainability in the beauty industry by bringing together key stakeholders and debate major industry issues in a high-level forum.”
This year’s summit, which is scheduled to take place on October 30 through November 1 in Paris and will be the 15th European edition, will “feature green ingredients, sustainability metrics and biodiversity and customer impacts,” and “for the first time, the summit will showcase best-practices to reduce the various impacts of personal care products,” shared the event’s promotional materials.
The event is designed to attract key industry stakeholders and professionals who are cosmetics brand owners and manufacturers; members of chemical, raw material and ingredient companies; industry retailers and distributors, and more.
To learn more about this year’s Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, including background information about the event, exciting topics to be covered and key takeaways from last year’s event, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Amarjit Sahota, Founder of Ecovia Intelligence, for his insights.
CDU: Can you share some background information about the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit?
Amarjit Sahota (AS): Since 2009, the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit has been covering sustainability developments in the cosmetics industry. Organized by Ecovia Intelligence, the summit is now hosted in the major geographic regions of the world.
The 15th European edition will take place in Paris on 30 October – 1st November. Other editions will be in Latin America (23-24 November, Sao Paulo), New York (July 2024) and Asia-Pacific (November 2024).
CDU: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s meeting?
AS: The European edition will feature sustainability metrics, green ingredients, biodiversity and customer impacts. For the first time in Europe, the summit will discuss biodiversity impacts in detail.
We shall look at how cosmetic brands and raw material suppliers can adopt nature-positive methods. At the recent UN Biodiversity conference (COP15), 195 countries pledged to protect thirty percent of land and water by 2030. We shall look at what this pledge means in terms of sourcing cosmetic ingredients with respect to biodiversity.
We shall be covering sustainability metrics in detail. We shall discuss common approaches to measure and communicate environmental impacts; the EcoBeautyScore consortium will give an update on their standardized approach to measure impacts.
We shall also discuss approaches to measure carbon footprint and water footprints, including the ClimatePartner certification scheme. Professor Miguel Mendonca Reis Brandao from KTH University will lead a workshop on sustainability metrics in which participants will learn of this emerging area.
We also have a dedicated session on Green Ingredients, in which we look at opportunities with new sustainable materials—these include ingredients from regenerative agriculture, novel processing methods, precision fermentation, upcycled ingredients, sustainable coconut oil, etc.
CDU: What are some of the most important takeaways from last year’s meeting?
AS: The last European edition was hosted in October 2022. This edition covered green packaging, sustainable ingredients and marketing developments.
One of the key take-aways for packaging was that there was no magic bullet to move away from single-use plastics. Cosmetic brands are looking at new bio-based materials that are biodegradable/compostable, recycled materials, as well as refillables; however, each has pros and cons.
We also saw how Lush is trying to move away from packaging altogether as part of its ‘Go Naked’ initiative. It has also invested in new materials like cork packaging.
Another takeaway is that companies are taking various steps to move to circularity. Many ingredient companies are investing in upcycled ingredients—waste materials from food and other industries to make cosmetic ingredients.
Some cosmetic brands are looking at biodegradable packaging to close their materials’ loops. Also, the waterless cosmetics trend is a manifestation of the circularity trend: companies developing waterless products that have no plastic packaging and create zero waste.
In terms of marketing, a major take-away is adoption rates—we are seeing a growing range of sustainable products: natural/organic, vegan/plant-based, waterless, etc.; however, how can we raise adoption rates? For instance, the share of natural and organic cosmetics of total cosmetic sales is still below five percent in Europe.
CDU: What do you expect to see regarding attendance numbers for this year’s show?
AS: Each year, we have about 160-200 senior executives attend the European edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. We are expecting similar numbers for this 15th European edition.