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2024 Sustainable Beauty Communication Trends



I recently had the chance to (virtually) sit down with Mike Hower of Hower Impact to talk all things ESG + beauty communication trends. Mike is a fractional sustainability communication executive. Never heard of FSCE? Check out this amazing venn diagram from Hower Impact's website explaining just what this role encompasses.


It was a real pleasure speaking to someone with such a robust communications background because so much of my work actually overlaps with this function (case in point: greenwashing). Here are a few key takeaways from our talk and check out Hower Impact for the full interview.


Setting the Stage


Beauty is facing a lot of the same challenges that other consumer verticals like food and fashion are facing when it comes to things like green claims — which is that you see this huge consumer demand for sustainably-produced products or sustainable brands, but then you also see a trend of consumer distrust over brand claims. 


In beauty, this gets layered onto kind of a really interesting history over this conversation around ingredients. So, this is the whole green versus clean conversation. And so for a while, there were companies who were creating brands and products that were excluding certain ingredients. And now we're seeing the conversation get elevated to not only ingredient exclusions, but we want sustainable impact. 


What brands are now challenged with is how to identify what their sustainability priorities should be. So, going from clean into the green arena, how to actually implement them because this is a totally new space for a lot of companies. And then how to translate this into storytelling — which I know you are very aware is sometimes the most difficult piece because brands, especially bigger brands need to figure out their storytelling in a way that captures value, but avoids getting accused of greenwashing or at worst getting a potential class action lawsuit over misrepresentation or misleading claims. 


My Top Picks for Impact Communications


I'll give you a couple examples across the value chain because beauty captures so many different pieces. On the raw material side, there's two companies called Archaea and Mothership Materials. They're actually using biotech and nanotechnology to develop sustainable alternatives to natural materials. These are essentially lab created much more environmentally friendly alternatives to what we could be sourcing from nature, and that means we get a lot more data. We get a lot more transparency.


From a sustainability perspective, it's a really exciting new frontier on the consumer communication side. I feel like you'll enjoy this piece. There are a bunch of technology platforms that are focusing on empowering consumer comms. Two companies I really like, and I've worked with both of them: Bluebird Climate and Provence


They are using tools like AI and blockchain to make ESG data more accessible. And they're focused on beauty, but I'm sure, they'll expand into other verticals as well. And then on the brand side, the piece we all know and love there's a really great brand called Cocokind. It's super accessible. They have on their packaging an impact claims section. So, you'll see the ingredients and then you'll actually see CO2 emissions and how you recycle. And they're a very price accessible brand, but they're making sustainability accessible as well, which I think is really cool to see. 


Thanks again to Mike for having me and head over to Hower Impact to check out the full conversation.


If you're interested in learning more about Source Beauty ESG and how I support companies of all sizes with their sustainability and impact initiatives, feel free to reach out (maggie@sourcebeauty.co) or check out the Source Beauty services guide.

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