A turning tide: how a changing consumer psyche is igniting the steadfast sustainability movement

A turning tide: how a changing consumer psyche is igniting the steadfast sustainability movement

Without wanting to teach you to suck eggs, it goes without saying the eco-conscious movement is expanding, sustainability awareness is rocketing, and modern mindsets are switching gear into ‘green’ mode – that you know. But are we really aware of just how significant this change of pace is? And to what extent is the growing consumer consciousness fuelling it?

In the words of Croda CEO Steve Foots, “Sustainability is fundamental to who we are and what we do. It touches every area of our business: from the way we design our products and run out manufacturing sites, to the way we work with our suppliers and engage with our communities.”

While Foots is speaking about the Croda ethos, the words ring true for how many consumers now feel, think and, most importantly, spend. It’s this kind of thinking that continues to grow the eco-conscious cosmetics and personal care markets. Unilever, for example, has just announced that its sustainable brands have grown 46 percent faster than others in its portfolio over the past year. This not only cements the fact there is a thirst for brands with a social impact, but that there is also financial gain in investing in these brands, and making absolutely sure that their formulations match up to their ethical claims.

Croda has also gone further to cement its status as a market leader of this steadfast movement, with the company making a new 100 percent Bio-Based ECO range. This is set to be the widest range of renewable surfactants on the market with over 50 personal care ingredients codes including ethoxylates (ECO Brij), polysorbates (ECO Tween) and many more. Not only this, it offers that all-important extra that so many consumers now seek, certification, from the USDA BioPreferred Program certifying that the products are derived from plants and other renewable agriculture, marine and forestry materials. A sustainability slam dunk.

On the retail side, Sephora is also getting in on the action and would be wise to look to this kind of accreditation for its soon-to-be launched Clean at Sephora category. This currently sees some 50 brands stamped with a specific seal that shows they are clean – with their corresponding online product pages listing in detail just what is and isn’t in the formulations.

Ah, yes, and when we’re thinking sustainability, the age-old saying ‘It’s what’s on the inside that counts’ most definitely rings true. Back to Croda we go. The British ingredients company has recently won the ICIS Surfactants Award for Sustainability for its new pioneering bio-ethylene oxide plant at the Atlas Point manufacturing site in North America. This recognition of the ingredients-maker for its ethical stance is the sort of accolade formulators and product manufacturers should be looking to when creating ‘sustainable’ ‘ethical’ and ‘green’ products. Not only does this guarantee the credibility of what they’re set to sell – it will also, most likely, be a huge marketing draw for retailers.

With consumers now having clean living so deep in their psyche it seems that such accolades will, in the future, be expected as the rule, rather than the exception.