The cosmetics industry is going green(er)

Over the past decade, the cosmetics industry has undergone a remarkable transformation, moving away from synthetic and animal-derived products to meet the growing demand for natural, plant-based materials. Sustainability concerns have taken centre stage, leading to increased interest in sustainable sourcing, responsible supply chain practices and recyclable packaging. This consumer-driven movement has prompted the personal care industry to integrate new approaches.

This shift towards sustainability is not only driven by consumer demand, but also by changing regulations. The European Commission has played a key role in promoting a more sustainable economy through initiatives such as the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS), which aim to create a framework applicable to all companies under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

According to a European Council press release, European consumers will now have better insight into the impact of companies on human rights and the environment, promoting transparency for citizens, consumers and investors. This Directive puts Europe at the forefront of setting high standards to match global environmental and social ambitions.

The CSRD aims to establish standards for the comparability of information and ensure greater data reliability to combat greenwashing and socialwashing. It will also provide a reliable basis for lenders and investors to assess companies.

These EU rules on non-financial information apply to all large companies and companies listed on regulated markets, all the way down to the subsidiary level (regardless whether those are located within the EU or not). Non-European companies with a net turnover in the EU of €150 million and at least one subsidiary or branch in the EU are also required to produce a sustainability report.

This is a challenging path for the cosmetics industry to take and here is why:

  1. Data collection and reporting: Compliance with the CSRD requires companies to collect and report extensive data on sustainability metrics, which can be resource-intensive. For cosmetics manufacturers, this means tracking environmental impacts, supply chain practices and social responsibility. The challenge is to ensure accurate data collection and efficient reporting processes.
  2. Complexity of ESG metrics: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting is emphasised by the CSRD. Cosmetics companies must navigate a complex landscape of ESG indicators, including carbon emissions, water use, waste management, labour practices, and diversity. The balance between these different metrics and the need for transparency can be a daunting task.
  3. Supply chain transparency: The cosmetics industry’s search for new ingredients, particularly those of natural origin, relies on global supply chains for ingredients and packaging. Ensuring transparency and sustainability throughout these supply chains is challenging. Companies must engage with suppliers, audit practices and address any issues of non-compliance.
  4. Product Formulation and Ingredients: Cosmetic manufacturers are facing increasing scrutiny of their chemical ingredients, safety and environmental impact. The CSRD encourages disclosure of hazardous substances, but this can be challenging due to proprietary formulations and the lack of a standardised reporting system.
  5. Consumer expectations and greenwashing: As sustainability awareness grows, consumers expect cosmetics brands to be environmentally responsible. However, as in many other industries, there’s a risk of greenwashing, where companies exaggerate their sustainability efforts. Achieving a true balance between marketing claims and actual practices is a challenge.
  6. Competitive landscape: Companies that excel in sustainability reporting gain a competitive advantage. However, the challenge is to differentiate genuine efforts from mere compliance. To stand out in the marketplace, brands must communicate their commitment effectively.

With sustainability and transparency at their core, compliance with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive presents both challenges and opportunities for cosmetics manufacturers. Whether you’re just starting out on your sustainability journey or are already well underway, we’re here to help. Christeyns is a renowned global specialist in cleaning and disinfection solutions tailored for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, formulated within the framework of sustainable development.

Our unwavering commitment lies in minimising the environmental impact of our operations and helping our customers do the same, so they can take advantage of all the opportunities that lie ahead.



Mónica Correia

International Marketing Manager for Life Sciences and Medical Care. Degree in Business Administration with a Masters in Marketing Management and an MBA. Over 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

Similar Stories