For Credo, Sustainable Packaging Leadership is Core to “Clean Beauty”Credo launched in 2015 with the mission to change the status quo in beauty. At that time, “clean” was still a super new term for the industry. The discussion around safer, more sustainable ingredients was growing, but the crisis of packaging waste was barely on the radar.
We took our founders’ mission and evolved it into beauty retail’s leading policies. In 2018 we created our fabulously wonky venn diagram articulating “clean,” and importantly, Credo Clean Standard that operationalizes it. With our brand partners, we focused on ingredients first, and behind the scenes started to work on a strategy for what “clean” would mean for packaging.
We researched the packaging industry (ugh, wow). We took a deep dive into the state of recycling in the US (this was just after China’s National Sword Policy, which put an end to the US shipping its “recycling” to China to deal with/trash). We wrapped our heads around the amount of packaging (mostly plastic) that ends up as toxic pollution in the environment. We knew this research would be depressing, but we were shocked to uncover just how deeply broken, yet entrenched and often intentionally misleading, the “take-make-waste” system is.
Most of the packaging used for consumer products is plastic. And most plastic (99%) is made with petrochemicals from oil or fracked gas. Plastic made into beauty packaging (small bottles, squeezable tubes, lip gloss vials, makeup compacts, etc) usually cannot be recycled for various reasons. This is true for beauty packages and for food and other consumer goods: Less than 9% of the plastic that has been made has been recycled.
If it is not recycled, that means it is garbage. Trash ends up in the landfill (where it remains for decades), waste incinerator (which leads to air and ground pollution), or worst case scenario, which is all-too-common, it ends up as pollution in the environment (in the soil or waterways, and in wildlife... and even in us).
The more we learned, the more we realized that Credo could not remain paralyzed by the enormity of the situation. We had to take action. We created the Credo Sustainable Packaging Guidelines (SPG) as a part of our comprehensive and evolving Clean Standard. The SPG has clear milestones (e.g. no more single-use items or sample packettes by June 2021) as well as best practice guidance (e.g. smarter design, refillable products, etc).
We are working toward a future where beauty is sustainable. From sourcing the ingredients in the products, to managing the chemical and carbon footprint of brands, to the packaging that manufacturers create. We are also working to improve customer’s access to information and recycling programs. We can’t do it without all stakeholders. We can’t do it without you. We need to break down the silos and have the conversation together.
We hope you will join us. The time is now.
More about Mia Davis:
Mia is the VP of Sustainability and Impact at Credo. Her career began in the environmental health movement. In 2007, she co-led the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Davis was Head of Environment, Health and Safety at Beauty Counter for 5 years, and she's now helping Credo brands and customers define and lead the "clean beauty" sector.