Cosmetics giants team up to create environmental scorecards for product labelling

Unilever, L’Oreal, Henkel, LVMH and Body Shop owner Natura & Co have begun a new collaboration to develop an industry-wide system for measuring and communicating the environmental impacts of products to consumers.

Other brands across the health, beauty and cosmetics sectors are being encouraged to join the new initiative, which is called the Eco-Beauty Score Consortium and is being supported by industry body Cosmetics Europe.

The founding companies have outlined their principles for developing the scoring system. It will be brand-agnostic; will require all participating firms to use a common, science-based methodology; will disclose environmental impact information relating to product formula, product use and packaging; and will be clear and easy-to-understand.

The methodology for calculating the environmental impacts of products will be based in the European Union’s Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) principles. This methodology was first piloted between 2013 and 2016 and the EU is mulling its introduction as a legal requirement for some sectors producing consumer-facing goods.

Once the environmental impacts of key ingredients and raw materials are calculated, the information will be stored in a database shared between all participating firms. This helps to ensure comparable scores and will minimise the resources each company will need to allocate to the activity.

The final scores will be communicated to customers using grades, with ‘A’ being the best and ‘E’ being the poorest.

L’Oreal has already started using this approach. The firm’s owned brand Garnier launched a digital tool grading products on their environmental footprint, from A to E, earlier this year.