World Earth Day: 10 Beauty Brands That Are Secretly Doing Good Things To Help The Planet
Happy World Earth Day!
Each year, April 22 marks World Earth Day, a landmark global event which encourages all of us to pause and reflect on our impact on the planet. Earth Day started back in 1970 and celebrated 50 years in 2020, and this year’s theme of Restore Our Earth asks us all consider the role we can play in helping to restore the world’s ecosystems. While Earth Day is also a day to take stock—a report in 2018 by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set out the very scary and irreversible damage to the planet caused by rising temperatures, which themselves are caused by growing CO2 emissions—it’s also a day to take positive action. This year’s theme asks us all to think outside the box: what emerging technologies and innovative new ideas can we contribute to help restore the world’s ecosystems?
In honour of this, we encourage all of you to expand your way of thinking. Here, we reflect on some of the creative, innovative and critical ways in which some of our favourite beauty brands are doing just that: thinking ahead and doing remarkable things to help secure the future of our planet.
Burt’s Bees isn’t just your go-to for a well-priced and super hydrating lip balm: shopping from their range can help to protect the world’s bee population. ICYMI: bees pollinate our plants which helps to fertilise them so they reproduce, meaning bees are critical to the world’s food system. Did you know, a third of our global food production depends on this process? In its recent 2020 Impact Report, detailing initiatives from 2012 to 2020, Burt’s Bees was able to research 5000+ global bee species to understand how they function, protect 145,000+ acres of land for pollinator forage and plant 15 billion wildflower seeds to support this forage.
Thankyou is an Australian social enterprise brand—which means that every time you buy one of their delicious moisturisers, they donate funds to safe water, hygiene and sanitation programs, and food security programs across the globe. While your fav moisturiser is already having a pretty incredible impact, Thankyou has decided to take it a step further, moving toward a plastic-free collection with its new range of seven cruelty-free, naturally derived hair and body bars. Speaking to Gritty Pretty, Daniel Flynn, the co-founder and managing director of Thankyou, shared what led them to create this plastic-free range: “We’ve seen the challenges society faces on many fronts—waste is one of them, and we saw an opportunity to innovate in this space and provide consumers with a plastic-free choice.” How does he think consumers can become more aware and conscious of their ecological footprint? “Step one is to slow down and think about the decisions you are making. I feel like society moves so fast, from fast fashion to viral trends that pop up overnight. The challenge is taking a moment to consider your next purchase or action, and then if there’s a better option, take it (even if it costs you more time or money). No matter how small the step, if you can take it, take it.”
You might love Clarins for its iconic Double Serum but the brand also has a plethora of long-term commitments to protect the planet for future generations. By 2025, Clarins goals are to have:
- 100% sustainable sourcing
- 80% of ingredients to be organically cultivated (currently, 40% of the natural extracts they select come from organic farming)
- 100% of packaging to be recyclable
- 30% reduction of global carbon footprint
In addition to this, the brand is also a big supporter of the local cause Greening Australia, which works to protect, restore and conserve our native vegetation.
French haircare brand Klorane is so good it was rumoured to be behind the late Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld’s dry shampoo of choice, but did you also know that the brand is working hard to help protect Australia’s biodiversity? Klorane has partnered with the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney to support their mission to safeguard Australia’s stunning and unique landscape to protect our native plants, trees and flowers for future generations. How? They support the Royal Botanic Garden’s seed collection initiative, which includes collecting and storing seeds for vulnerable species of plants, meaning they can be replanted when needed or after the devastation of a bushfire.
Emma Lewisham is fast becoming one of our favourite brands, and not just because its range of chic purple and pink products look so good on our top shelf. The brand, founded by New Zealander Emma Lewisham, is the newest kid on the sustainable beauty block but they’re already knocking it out of the park. The brand is working to achieve 100% circularity and 100% ingredient sustainability, as well as carbon negative certification. These goals are seriously impressive, but Emma Lewisham actually already uses 100% natural, naturally derived ingredients, a minimum of 60% certified organic ingredients, and responsible manufacturing processes like responsible water usage. Plus, it offers the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle, an initiative based on Recycling and Refills—for example, if you have previously purchased a Skin Reset Even Skin Tone Serum, Supernatural Triple Vitamin A+ Face Oil or Supernatural Anti-Ageing 72-Hour Crème and have finished your bottle or jar, you have the option to return it and participate in the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle Refill Programme. We recently had Lewisham on Gritty Pretty Radio, during which she shared why this matters so much to her: “I’m loving that we are making some disruption in the beauty industry. By paving a different way, by showing that it’s possible to be commercially viable and also sustainable—and by that I mean circular. Circularity is the pinnacle of what it means, in my view, to be a sustainable brand, it’s the number one thing we can do to reduce carbon emissions, which is so important right now, and to divert billions and billions of units of packaging that go to our landfill, oceans or that are burnt every year.”
La Mer, which translates from French as “the sea”, is a brand which uses incredible efficacious ingredients sourced from the ocean. But La Mer is also giving back to this magical ecosystem, with its La Mer Blue Heart initiative, a promise from the brand to come together in support of the ocean. Through this commitment, La Mer helps to protect marine habitats across the globe. For instance, in 2019, La Mer supported the planting of 30,000 mangroves in the Caribbean, and this year, they’ll be funding organisations that focus on educating future generations so they can become leaders of change in their local communities—the perfect way to encourage innovation.
Australian beauty destination Mecca is joining the sustainability movement, this year announcing a partnership and free national in-store collection program with TerraCycle. For those not familiar with TerraCycle, it’s a global leader recycling hard-to-recycle materials, including empty beauty products which often can’t be easily recycled due to the various parts in pumps and applicators. From April 27, 2021, you can drop into any of the 100 Mecca stores with your empty beauty products (yes, get the very last of that RMS concealer out of there!) and they’ll pass it onto TerraCycle. From there, your much-loved #empties will be recycled or sorted, processed, and transformed into something new.
Australian hair-care brand Kevin.Murphy is one of those brands where unless you dig a little deeper, you’d probably have no idea how hard they’re working to protect our planet. The brand, which launched back in 2004, did so honouring three pillars: Fashion, Performance and Environment. “In 2004 the focus was on just what was inside the bottle,” explains Kevin Murphy, the man behind the brand. “Fast forward to 2021, you need to consider the full life cycle of what’s inside the bottle, what’s outside the bottle, what happens when it sits on the shelf and what happens when it goes home with that customer, and beyond.” The brand uses only natural ingredients from sustainable and renewable sources, that are harvested in a way that does zero harm to the environment. Close to two decades on, Murphy admits “it’s not easy” but says: “I do all of this because my name is on the bottle and I want to be true to my own values.” He adds that making change is in collective action: “The dream is to have every beauty brand adopting this as part of their innate practice because it creates real change for generations to come.”
Biossance is not a brand that keeps its sustainability initiatives a secret—and for good reason. Biossance boxes are completely compostable, the brand is officially carbon neutral and has also pledged to be zero waste by 2025, and of course, they use clean ingredients in their products. But did you know the real impact that the brand’s hero ingredient, a vegan squalene, actually has? Regular squalene, a super hydrating ingredient, is harvested from sharks but Biossance has found a way to create it from sugarcane, saving 2 million sharks a year from being slaughtered. The best bit? They’re not afraid to share the love. Biossance already gives other brands access to this incredible squalene and in line with World Earth Day, Biossance has announced their involvement in the launch of #WeAreAllies, an alliance with four of its competitors: Ren, Caudalie, Herbivore, and Youth To The People. Together, they’ll all be reducing packaging waste by 2025, proving the brand’s mantra that a rising tide lifts all ships.
You’re probably not new to Aveda’s range of natural, cruelty-free and organic products but a love for the planet is instilled in the brand’s DNA. This year, Aveda Australia has partnered with Take 3 for the Sea, a clever but simple initiative that raises awareness of the positive impact we can all have on the planet: imagine the change we could make if we all took three pieces of plastic or rubbish away from the beach when we left? To highlight this, Aveda has designed a trio scrunchie set sustainably made from post-consumer recycled plastics and 100% of profits from these super cute scrunchies goes directly to Take 3 for the Sea. Aveda does so much more than that though, even becoming the very first beauty company to use 100% post consumer recycled PET to house their products.