Friday, June 14, 2024

Sephora Takes Its Clean, Planet-Friendly Beauty Commitment Global

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Sephora has announced the expansion of its sustainability commitments with “Clean at Sephora” and “Planet Aware at Sephora,” two seals set to redefine how beauty products are recognized for their environmental and formula-based commitments.

Starting in April, the new Sephora seals will begin to appear products both in-store and online, offering consumers worldwide a new level of transparency and trust, the leading global beauty retailer announced at the recent ChangeNow summit in Paris. This initiative represents Sephora’s latest stride toward a more sustainable and transparent beauty industry, developed through extensive collaboration with environmental and scientific experts over two years.

The “Clean at Sephora” seal will be awarded to brands that offer effective formulas adhering to global regulatory standards and eschewing certain ingredients. Currently, 133 brands, including notable names like Drunk Elephant, Fenty Skin, and Tatcha, will feature the mark. The “Planet Aware at Sephora” seal requires brands to fulfill stringent criteria related to ingredient sourcing, packaging, corporate commitments, and consumer transparency, with 40 brands initially carrying this seal. This initiative demonstrates Sephora’s commitment to setting high standards for environmental responsibility within the beauty industry.

Ellis Brooklyn
Ellis Brooklyn is a Clean at Sephora brand | Courtesy

Sephora’s executive team, including President and CEO Guillaume Motte, Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Yeh, and Global Chief Merchandising Officer Priya Venkatesh, unveiled the seals, emphasizing the retailer’s unique position to unify clients, brand partners, and store operations towards a common goal of responsible beauty, WWD reported. Motte said Sephora’s mission is to forge a more accountable offer alongside its brand partners while enhancing transparency for consumers to help foster a more responsible beauty industry. “What is it that we want to do? We believe at Sephora we are in a unique position where we can actually bring together three superpowers,” Motte said, underscoring the collective effort across all regions to establish a common vocabulary for sustainability in beauty.

The introduction of these seals comes as a response to growing consumer demand for transparency and sustainability in beauty products. Yeh highlighted the challenge consumers face in navigating the beauty industry, stating, “Consumers are voting with their wallets, and they’re demanding more transparency from the beauty industry.” This consumer-driven shift toward sustainable beauty has led to a tripling of Sephora’s sustainable assortment since the company began focusing on this area in 2018.

clean at sephora
Clean at Sephora standards go global.

Sephora’s sustainability seals will first appear in North America, Europe, and the U.K. in April, with subsequent rollouts planned for the Middle East in May and Brazil and Mexico in September. The initiative will reach China in 2025. Through these seals, Sephora aims to inspire beauty brands toward making more responsible choices in product development and corporate practices, providing a vetting tool in collaboration with Novi Connect for brands to assess their products against the criteria set for each seal. “We believe we can play a role in building an even more responsible beauty industry,” Motte said.

The announcement comes as a judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against the LVMH-owned beauty giant. The suit accused Sephora of deceiving consumers with its “Clean at Sephora” claims. But Judge David Hurd of the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York, ruled that plaintiff Lindsay Finster failed to provide substantial evidence to support allegations of misleading marketing. Finster’s lawsuit, initiated in November 2022, contended that Sephora falsely represented products under its “Clean at Sephora” label as free from harmful or synthetic ingredients, a claim refuted by Sephora’s clarification that such products were merely devoid of certain specified substances like parabens and sulfates. The court concluded that Sephora’s marketing accurately outlined the substances excluded from its “clean” products, without suggesting these items were entirely natural or devoid of any potentially harmful ingredients.

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