“Consumer behavior needs to change for sustainability” was a key message from the recent European and Asia-Pacific Sustainable Cosmetics Summits. More than 150 senior executives convened each in Paris and Hong Kong to discuss sustainability issues affecting the beauty industry. Several speakers suggested that consumer behavior was becoming a barrier to sustainable development in the beauty industry, and that although various sustainability initiatives have been under way, consumer education and recognition of such remains low. This lack of consumer demand for green products and ingredients is discouraging companies from making greater commitments.
In one presentation, the Union for Ethical BioTrade reported the awareness of biodiversity and green issues is rising in Asia; more than 70% of Chinese and Korean consumers stated they are aware of such issues. However, such awareness has not translated into demand.
Consumer awareness is also a major issue in Europe. L’Oréal stated that it began to provide environmental data on some products in accordance with the Grenelle law but it was discouraged by despondent consumers. The multinational has decided to halt environmental product labeling because consumers could not relate to footprint data.
With companies spending thousands of dollars on life-cycle analyses, panelists asked if it was worth it considering consumers showed little concern. For more information on this event and additional market data, visit the GCI website.