The products we use in our everyday lives have impacts that we might not think about normally. Some of the beauty products we use without thinking may contain harmful ingredients, or are even tested on animals. If we want to make any positive impact on the world around us, it is important to take a look at the products we’re so used to consuming and consider the eco footprint that they are leaving behind.
On August 6, 2021, cosmetic brand Garnier, created by Loreal, announced an initiative to improve their brand’s environmental impact. According to Garnier Philippines Marketing Director Isabel Falco, Garnier has made significant progress in promoting green beauty since 2020, but they still have more goals to meet.
On their website, Garnier outlined five steps that they will be taking over the next few years. In fact, the brand hopes to achieve their goals by 2025, an ambitious but very doable intention. Some of their accomplishments thus far include beginning a plastic collection program in some stores.
A key part of these steps is transparency, and Garnier is committed to showing their customers exactly where each ingredient in their products is coming from. They even have a page on their website where you can read the story behind each of their ingredients!
Currently, Garnier sources their ingredients from 787 different communities around the world. They pledged to increase this number to 1,000 by 2025.
What is solidarity sourcing? That’s a great question, and one that Loreal answers on their website. Basically, solidarity sourcing is when companies purchase products and ingredients from suppliers who employ vulnerable communities. By implementing fair trade practices, Garnier is empowering farmers and helping them improve their trade. Garnier even provides training to the farmers so that they can stay up to date on all the latest knowledge about organic farming.
One example that Garnier used to explain this concept is shea butter. According to their website, they use shea butter from a sustainable sourcing in the West African country of Burkina Faso.
In Burkina Faso, a third of the people live beneath the poverty line. The main gatherers of shea nuts are women, and Garnier is committed to providing them with a fair and direct income. Because of their work here, Garnier has helped 6,000 women in Burkina Faso.
Garnier’s commitment to helping underprivileged communities and making sure they are fairly compensated for their work is a great reflection of their integrity as a brand. Burkina Faso has one of the largest shea tree forests in the world, and Garnier has taken many strides towards preserving these trees.
When all is said and done, Garnier has a list of products that are enriched with shea butter. Some of the most popular items include their Intensive 7 Days Ultra-Replenishing Lotion, their Intensive 7 Days Restoring Hand Cream, and the Nutrisse Creme Permanent Hair dye. It can give consumers much peace of mind to know the products they’re using are ethically sourced, and that the people who collected these ingredients are being fairly compensated for their work.
Of course, a major step in committing to green beauty is rethinking the formulas of Garnier products. The “new or renovated hair care formulas” of 2020 have an average of 90% biodegradability, and Garnier’s goal is to have 75% biobased ingredients in their skincare and haircare products. These new formulas are obviously better for the environment, but they’re also better for you—not only will the earth thank you, but so will your skin and hair!
Garnier’s new formulas are 98% natural origin and Ecocert-certified skincare. To develop these, Garnier had to invest in significant education and expansion of their scientific knowledge, which they call Green Sciences. They also support Green Cultivation, farming practices that preserve ecosystems by producing natural raw materials.
There are always improvements to be made, and Garnier is committed to these improvements by continually assessing their products’ environmental impacts over the course of many years. By studying the biodegradability of their formulas, Garnier is constantly assessing their eco footprint.
According to their website, in 2020 Garnier saved 9,019 tons of virgin plastic by using recycled plastic in their products. That’s a lot of plastic!
Now that Garnier’s packaging is made up of mostly plastics that can be recycled (polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, and polyethylene), it is our job as consumers to take the final step and actually recycle these products when we’re finished with them. To help their customers understand exactly what can be recycled, Garnier is developing tutorials for their products that will appear on product pages and packaging.
Along with the use of recyclable materials, Garnier is redesigning some aspects of their packaging, such as caps and bottle sizes, to save even more plastic. One specific product they used as an example for this step of the initiative is their Organic Hemp Multi-Restore Gel Cream—the packaging for this item is now a “patented cardboard-based tube.” By working on existing products individually, Garnier is highlighting their commitment to truly improving their brand.
Garnier has also introduced new products that reflect this commitment to reducing plastic use, like their micellar reusable makeup remover eco pads and new shampoo bars. The microfiber pads are marketed as an environmentally-conscious alternative to cotton pads, which many of us use in our daily skincare routines. The shampoo bars use zero plastic, are 97% biodegradable, and have 100% recyclable packaging. Making small changes, like switching to these eco pads and shampoo bars, will go a long way!
Garnier’s next commitment is that 100% of their industrial sites will be carbon neutral by the year 2025. They have already taken significant steps towards this goal, having cut their water by 53% and their CO2 emissions by 69% since 2005.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral? Simply put, it means that the carbon emissions caused by a company (or individual) are balanced out by an equivalent of carbon savings somewhere else. Basically, when we produce carbon dioxide, we want to offset that same amount of carbon dioxide by other means. One common example of this is adding solar panels to your home. The ultimate goal for being carbon neutral is for your “carbon dioxide output to have a net neutral impact on the environment.”
Reducing water use is an extremely important part of going green, and Garnier has three “waterloop” factories already—this means a factory where 100% of water used is “re-treated, recycled, or reused.” Before factories like this were used, fresh water was required, but not anymore. Reusing the water in a continuous loop is a great step toward environmental consciousness. They calculate a total savings of millions of liters of water each year because of their waterloop factories. And the best part about it is that other companies will likely follow suit.
The last huge leap for Garnier’s journey to going green is their stamp of approval from Cruelty Free International. This is a huge accomplishment for Garnier, and it means that every Garnier product can be officially labeled as cruelty free. There is a strict list of criteria for meeting this standard, and it involves forensic investigations into materials and ingredients used in products. This way, you can rest assured that any product with this label has absolutely no cases of animal testing.
But Garnier is doing a ton of work that will surely pay off for our environment. Supporting brands like Garnier means that you, too, are supporting clean and green beauty. In the long run, if more brands notice consumers leaning towards green beauty, they will take their own steps toward cleaning up their ingredients and processes.
Even small changes can make a big difference, and even one person can be a catalyst for these small changes. Take some time to look into Garnier’s other eco-friendly products, and consider switching to these! No one is perfect, and it takes time to completely overhaul your entire skin and haircare collection. But just take it one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be confident that the products you’re using have a positive impact on the world around you.