Beauty brands and retailers are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and become more green.

From using eco-friendly, sustainable ingredients and earth-friendly packaging to dialing back on the plastic and featuring clothing made with recycled fabric, these are positive steps toward making more sustainable choices.

CVS Health, the parent company of health and beauty retailer CVS Pharmacy, announced a commitment to reduce its environmental impact by 50% by the year 2030. In addition, the retailer launched, where consumers can learn more about sustainable products, what to recycle at home and in store, how to avoid waste and more.

“Our purpose as a company is helping people on their path to better health. Ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come is certainly an important part of realizing that mission,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, chief sustainability officer at CVS Health.

The retailer is also looking to bring more sustainability to the beauty products it sells.

“In beauty, we’ve responded to an increasingly strong demand for sustainability and transparency by focusing on the discovery of eco-friendly, ingredient-focused brands that are also innovative and efficacious,” said Boone. “Some exciting examples include EcoTools, Coola, Rael, Real Raw, Sun Bum, Love Beauty and Planet and many more.” 

Recognizing that some shoppers may need a nudge to shop more sustainably, Target
, will offer shoppers who are members of its free loyalty program a 15% discount on select products across the store during the week surrounding Earth Day, April 22. The promotion will include items that create less waste, such as the apparel brand Universal Thread, made with recycled polyester and sustainably sourced cotton.

This week, J.Crew announced its latest sustainability goals, including making its retail operations be 100% carbon neutral by 2030. Other goals include that 100% of key fibers be sustainably sourced by 2025; more than 90% of the cashmere and chino collections be produced in Fair Trade Certified facilities, also by 2025; and 100% of plastic and paper used for packaging be sustainably sourced by 2030.

“We know there are many areas of sustainability that are in our power to impact positively, including tackling issues deeper in our supply chain and supporting the industry’s transition to circularity,” said Libby Wadle, chief executive officer of J.Crew Group. “…We are developing strategies to address the issues that will have the biggest impact on our products, supply chain and the apparel industry.”

Ulta Beauty, meanwhile, reaffirmed its commitment to sustainability and bringing innovative solutions to the industry. Last month, it announced its partnership with Loop, where consumers can shop for products in returnable and reusable packaging.

The beauty retailer was among 30 retailers included in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Green Power Partnership, which recognizes brands and retailers who use green power resources such as solar and wind for electricity. Other fashion and beauty firms on the EPA’s list include Walmart
, Target, H&M, Sephora, Kohl’s
, Estée Lauder
, Burberry, REI and Macy’s

“We are proud of the strides we’ve made on our sustainability journey,” said a spokesperson at Ulta Beauty. “Last fall, we launched Conscious Beauty at Ulta Beauty
, our holistic platform to empower guests with more transparency and choice across a number of meaningful pillars—clean, cruelty free, vegan, sustainable packaging and positive impact.”

Waste is a global problem facing all beauty companies.

“We’ve made a pledge to ensure 50% of all packaging sold, including the Ulta Beauty Collection, will be made from recycled or bio-sourced materials, or will be recyclable or refillable by 2025,” an Ulta Beauty spokesperson said.

Luxury beauty retailer Bluemercury continues to push sustainability, most recently updating its e-commerce shipping with eco-friendly materials.

“Our Conscious Beauty platform shines a spotlight on ingredient transparency and responsible packaging, as we work with our vendor partners toward increased eco-design and sustainability practices in their supply chains,” said Tracy Kline, senior vice president, merchandising, digital and marketing at Bluemercury. “While we still have work to do, we are proud to be making a positive impact that will affect future generations.”

Small changes can make a big impact, too.

“Beauty packaging is a great example,” said Dr. Josh Gordon, founder of Noyah, a line of lipsticks, lip glosses and lip balms made from food-grade materials and sold in earth-friendly packaging, using bamboo paper and sugar cane.

“Something as simple as increasing Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) content in tiny lip balm tubes may seem like a small thing when you consider the one lip balm in your jacket pocket, but when you consider how many people are also walking around with a lip balm, you start to realize how impactful these seemingly small decisions can be.”


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