Cosmetics & Fashion: how far can we go on impact and sustainability?

Jul 5 · 3 min read

From packaging to supply chain to impact measurement, the challenges are numerous, as are the barriers.

As complex and fascinating as they can be, these subjects were at the very heart of the Fab’s exchanges a few days ago with great interventions from founders of impact startups, Maxime Delavallée from CrushOn, Estefania Larranaga for Place2swap and Gabriela Salord from Rowse, moderated by our partner Marie-Capucine Lemétais.

Here are the 4 key takeaways:

1/ The transparency dilemma

“We wanted to know more about the production of the ingredients that could go into our products. The supplier refused to give them to us.”

As a result, Gabriella from Rowse decided not to go through any intermediaries. From now on, the team sources its own producers and has set up a laboratory to test the ingredients.

The Ellipsis Brand group, which owns the Q+A brand, among others, has also chosen to control every aspect of the product production process, although it cannot guarantee 100% local production of ingredients. Even if the ingredients come from all over the world, the objective is to avoid at all costs having petrochemical derivatives or synthetic ingredients in the composition of a cosmetic.

2/ Packaging is a tough choice

Demand for sustainable glass-based containers, for example, is growing among consumers, especially for premium cosmetics. This trend is impacting growth prospects in the packaging market, which is expected to increase by just over 3% by 2026.

If plastic is being shot at, the replacement with other materials raises the question of product durability. Rowse has considered replacing plastic with wood in its droppers, but this sustainable choice leads to another problem: costs.

3/ Circularity: stop asking “why” and start asking “how”

“If we used to get asked a lot about our solution’s objectives in the early days, nowadays it’s no longer the why that’s the question, but rather how to set it up!” No doubt the paradigm shift mentioned by Estafania from Place2swap applies to all Sustainable Tech players. A SaaS circular economy platform integrated with brands, Place2Swap offers e-retailers the opportunity to enter the virtuous circle of circularity by providing them with a B2C and C2C second-hand products marketplace.

4/ Measuring and optimizing impacts: making business sustainable on a daily basis

Measuring impact is a core part of the approach of entrepreneurs working on the development of sustainable tech. For Maxime Delavallée, founder of CrushOn, a platform that connects more than 10,000 second-hand professionals and 50,000 active users per month, measuring impact is key.

In collaboration with Ademe, CrushOn has set up three metrics to track:

> liters of water saved (40M since the creation in 2018) ;

> quantity of raw materials spared (339 tons) ;

> CO2 emissions.

Last but not least, the founders’ commitment to impact and sustainability is crucial, as Marie-Capucine reminds us. Not only to position the company but also to reach performance objectives!

And in your opinion, how far can we go in terms of transparency, impact measurement, etc.?

The replay of the webinar is available here!

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