Since waking up to climate change, greenwashing - where brands try to package themselves as being more environmentally minded than they actually are - is more prevalent than ever. Brands want in on ethical ethics, or at least to be seen to be in on ethical ethics, unlike say, Trump who doesn't give a burning bushfire about global warming because climate change doesn't exist, you "low I.Q'd individual" idiot. Anyway, back to beauty with an unironic spoiler: it’s all very unethical.
Morality aside, the appeal of fudging facts is a no brainer. According to Neilsen, 66% of customers worldwide are willing to pay more for sustainable goods, and this figure shoots up to 73% where millennials - oft considered the most powerful consumers - are concerned. A Super Moisture Serum is all well and good, but stick a nebulous green adjective in there and you’ve got yourself an Organic Super Moisture Serum. Kerching! Greenwashing all the way to the bank.
But what, might you ask, is a concessional? A portmanteau of confessional and concession, it’s an opportunity for beauty brands to confess the concessions they make to come top in the sustainability category - be it money, time or manpower. It celebrates the brands who understand and offset their carbon footprint, who - actually - know the composition of their packaging, and who are implementing schemes to supplant ingredient supply with demand.
WHAT? At the vanguard of the plastic-free revolution, this Irish hair care brand uses aluminium packaging. The hit? It costs them three times more to make than plastic. In addition, 1% of sales go towards finding non-plastic alternatives to notoriously hard to recycle components of packaging, such as pumps.
BURO. recommends: We Are Paradoxx Game Changer Hair Mask, £30
WHAT? Pledging to save 20,000 tonnes of virgin plastic a year, Garnier has committed to using only 100% recycled and recyclable PET plastic. The Guardian reported that humans produce 20,000 PET plastic bottles every second, so the efficacy of the plan depends on our commitment to recycle, but figures, thus far, show a marked increase.
BURO. recommends: Garnier Organic Cornflower Micellar Cleansing Water, £6.99
WHAT? You’d be surprised how many boxes are tossed out of recycling because they’re laminated, or labelled with ink that can’t undergo the de-inking process (cleaning, basically, so it can be repurposed). All REN products are packaged not only in 100% recyclable boxes, which are between 30-50% more expensive to use, but labelled in vegetable-based ink. And while we’re worshipping at REN’s agenda-setting altar, know that the brand has promised that no product price will increase to offset the cost of more sustainable packaging.
BURO. recommends: REN Clean Skincare Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Body Wash, £22. The packaging is 100% recycled, 20% of which is reclaimed from the ocean. The packaging costs a whopping 95% more expensive than its predecessor.
WHAT? Packaging is made from PE, a polyethylene, which means it’s made from renewable resources (sugar cane, not fossil oil) to you and I. Costing up to four times more than regular packaging, it’s 100% recyclable, and reduces Codex’s carbon footprint anywhere between 50-80%. The cardboard used for any boxes is sustainably sourced, and thus costs twice as much to produce.
BURO. recommends: Codex Beauty Day Cream, £67