Carbon Footprint of Cosmetics?

I found it pretty difficult to get any kind of accurate statistics on worldwide cosmetics consumption per year but I can imagine the pounds of makeup, skincare items, haircare items and all other products that fall into the "cosmetics" category that are produced, consumed and discarded each year would be mind boggling. Cosmetics are a way of life for much of the world and that isn't going to change any time soon. However, more and more people should consider the impact the production and waste generated from cosmetics has on the planet. The energy used to produce the bazillions of cosmetic products each year as well as the landfill space the empty packaging takes up is just one piece of the pie when looking at a planet that is being forced to take more and more human abuse each day.

While researching cosmetics consumption I stumbled across a UK cosmetics company that is working with  a cloud data management firm to help assess their carbon footprint. The company is Lush Cosmetics and they have hired CloudApps to help track their sustainability - or lack thereof.

According to an April 2012 article from Environmental Leader "CloudApps‘ Sustainability Suite will organize data collection and improve Lush’s sustainability reporting, helping it to better manage its sustainability goals, make carbon savings and reduce operational costs, the companies say. Lush will use the software to track and analyze measurements on water and energy use, travel, waste generation and packaging across all 102 of its stores, eight main offices and eight factory sites in the UK."

This is big news from a cosmetics company as most of Lush Cosmetics' contemporaries haven't yet addressed their carbon footprint or environmental impact. According to an article on the CloudApps website
Lush is ahead of the curve with green packaging: "Already, 62 percent of Lush’s products are packaging-free and the ones that are packaged use 100% recycled material. The firm also says it recycles 85 percent of its waste and has banned domestic flights for staff."

On Lush Cosmetics' website they have a very thorough page dedicated to their environmental policy. They address everything from packaging to water usage and other topics in between. Two quotes from this site are:

"We are committed to becoming more sustainable the more we grow, by using our buying power to drive positive change." Lush Cosmetics 

"We believe taking care of the environment is everyone's responsibility including all of our staff and our customers." Lush Cosmetics

This company is very forward thinking in my opinion and U.S. cosmetics companies could learn a lot from their philosophy.

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