Sustainability in action

What is Sustainability?

To help explain what is meant by sustainability, the CTPA has a section on its consumer website called ‘Sustainability Matters’.   The philosophy of the website is to provide information about cosmetic products, the industry and topical issues in plain English in a simple, straightforward manner. 

“Sustainability covers all the activities that ensure a company, its staff and the community have a successful future in a world in which people are proud to live.  It is not simple and it is different for every company.  It cannot be described easily but is widely recognised as being important for the long term success of the cosmetics industry, its staff and the countries where they live and work.”

Extract from thefactsabout

What does the cosmetics industry do?

To provide specific examples of how the cosmetics industry puts this into practice we have created a CTPA Showcase of Sustainability in Action with weblinks to company websites, sustainability activity reports, company statement etc.

Case studies are not necessarily specifically related to the UK or cosmetic products but show how cosmetic companies have harnessed their companies’  innovative scientific know-how under the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic, environmental).   These include benefitting communities worldwide through education, funding the development of scientists and university research, transferring skills and production know-how to under-developed areas and helping people feel more confident by encouraging positive self-esteem.


CTPA Member Examples 

Avon Cosmetics




Procter & Gamble

Reckitt Benckiser



Avon Cosmetics -

In 1886, Avon Founder David H. McConnell committed his company "to meet fully the obligations of corporate citizenship by contributing to the well-being of society and the environment in which it functions." Today, these words are still central to our business and our success at Avon Products, Inc.

This is the company that puts mascara on lashes and food on tables. That fights wrinkles with one hand and breast cancer with the other. That knows the value of a perfect lip, but still opens its mouth and speaks out against domestic violence and for women's financial independence. We're the company that not only brings beauty to doors, but also opens them. The company that supports six million independent Avon Sales Representatives in over 100 countries. The company that for more than 125 years has stood for beauty, innovation, optimism and, above all, for women. We are Avon.

At Avon, we are guided by core principles and values, which are reflected in our commitment to Corporate Responsibility. Avon is committed to making the world a more beautiful and healthier place through our products, our people, our environmental sustainability and our philanthropy. We empower millions of women around the world financially through our earnings opportunity and support their health and safety through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and Avon's Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative.  Avon is one of the world’s largest corporate supporter of women’s causes, having raised nearly $1bn worldwide for good causes.

More information of our sustainability in action can be found on our website;



As a company that strives to be the best truly global consumer products company, we are committed to doing business with integrity and respect for all people and for the world around us.

Our long-term sustainability strategy is focused on three areas: People, Performance and Planet.

For more information on Colgate's global sustainability efforts please visit out website:


“At Kimberly-Clark, our vision is to "lead the world in essentials for a better life." Sustainability is inherent to this vision and challenges us to create a better future by being responsible stewards of the environment and positive contributors to our communities.

Since we made our first product, service and fairness have been the values behind our essential products. This vision is translated daily into the environmentally innovative products included in our portfolio, our reductions in packaging across our products, and our efforts to create solutions for post-consumer waste.

Sustainability is an integral component of our overall business strategy. Built around the pillars of People, Planet, and Products, we integrate social, environmental and economic elements into our company's agenda.”

For more information on Kimberly-Clarks sustainability efforts please visit out website:



L’Oréal believes that together we will make beauty sustainable and together we will make sustainability beautiful. In 2013 we launched our 'Sharing Beauty With All' sustainability commitments setting our targets for 2020. We work in three key areas;

First we are investing in sustainable innovation, making sure all of our products have environmental or social benefits. Secondly, we will empower our consumers to make more informed choices giving them the clear information they need. And thirdly, we will use the influence and power of our brands to make sustainability not just the right choice, but the desirable choice. So together we change our behaviour to be more sustainable. 

To see our full commitments and our progress to date visit


Procter & Gamble -

At P&G, sustainability means making every day better for people and the planet through how we innovate and how we act. It is about delighting consumers with innovative products and services that are better for the environment. It’s about operating responsibly in our supply chain and treating our employees fairly. It’s about providing health and hygiene education to children around the world and responding to natural disasters. As the world’s largest consumer products company, we have both a responsibility and an opportunity to do the right thing and create change. We believe that innovation is the path to enabling those everyday changes, which can lead to significant impact. More information of our sustainability in action can be found on our website;


Reckitt Benckiser

RB is the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company with a purpose of delivering innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. RB people and its culture are at the heart of the company’s success. They have an intense drive for achievement and a desire to outperform wherever they focus, including in sustainability where the company is targeting a 1/3 reduction in water impact, 1/3 reduction in carbon and to have 1/3 of its net revenue coming from more sustainable products by 2020. RB works to develop responsible products that use less water, energy and packaging across their lifecycle. They also strive to use better ingredients- for consumers and for the environment.

RB is also the Save the Children charity’s largest FMCG global partner, with a new partnership vision to radically reduce the world’s second biggest killer of children under five, diarrhoea. Overall RB wants to reach 200 million people to improve their health and hygiene behaviour. For more information visit



The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is our blueprint for achieving our vision to double the size of the business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact.

The Plan sets stretching targets to achieve by 2020 and includes how we source raw materials and how consumers use our brands. The scale of our ambition means that we are finding new ways to partner with others in business, government and society.

Faced with the challenge of climate change and the need for human development, we want to move towards a world where everyone can live well and within the natural limits of the planet. That’s why our purpose is ‘to make sustainable living commonplace’

Futher information for the Unilever Sustainable Living plan, please visit our website: 


For more information on how the European cosmetics industry tackles the issue of sustainability, through guidance for companies and working with external stakeholders, see the website of Cosmetics Europe – the personal care association.