About Sustainability

In this section:

What is Sustainability?

The Brundtland Comission paper 'Our Common Future' defines sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

To help explain what is meant by sustainability, the CTPA has a section on its consumer website called 'Caring for Future Generations'. The philosophy of the website is to provide information about the science behind cosmetic products, the way safety is assured and topical issues in plain English in a simple, straightforward manner.

The cosmetics industry recognises that aspects of sustainability such as energy, water, waste and human rights are integral to long-term success. 

COP 26

COP stands for Conference of the Parties and it is the decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC).

To find out what COP 26 means for companies around the world, see the Sustainability Hub

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Explained

In 2000 the UN launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 189 countries of the world were brought together to consider the big challenges affecting the future of society and the environment. This led to the creation of a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a framework of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 working towards a target date of 2030.

These targets highlight not only the environmental challenges the world faces today but the effect on communities and people all over the world of an unsustainable approach. Each of the 17 Goals has a set of indicators that gives companies and governments the ability to push for the goals with reasonable and achievable targets.

*courtesy of SDG

Individual CTPA members are working with initiatives that tackle all of the 17 goals, but we realise there is still some progress to be made in driving towards a net positive cosmetics industry.  Members have also made some inspiring sustainability innovations and we are showcasing industry best practice to help inspire and motivate companies through a series of case studies as the strategy develops.  With the help of sustainability experts from CTPA, our members, Forum for the Future and Teneo, our strategy will help the industry incorporate sustainability from grassroots up.

Guidelines for the Sustainable Development Goals 

UK Environment Act 2021

The Environment Act 2021, which came into force on 9 November 2021, is primary legislation published by the UK Government to provide a framework for environmental governance and improvements.  The Act introduced a new public body, the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), as well as long-term targets to reduce waste and improve resource efficiency, air quality, biodiversity and water.  The Act allows for the implementation of secondary legislation, which will operationalise the provisions with the view to ensuring sustainable practices and enhancing the environment for generations to come.  Some such regulations that will affect the cosmetics industry, include Due Diligence requirements and Extended Producer Responsibility. 

What Can Consumers Do?

CTPA and the cosmetics industry is committed to reducing the environmental impact of cosmetic and personal care products wherever possible. However, how you use and dispose of your cosmetic and personal care products can sometimes have the most impact on the environment. As an example, the impact of your shampoo is at its greatest during actual product use and disposal. In this video you'll learn plenty of small steps that can be taken every day to use your shampoo sustainably.