Partnerships: An Essential Ingredient for Success


Lezlee Westine
President & CEO, Personal Care Products Council

Each new year presents an opportunity to examine our priorities and focus on what matters most. As our nation continues to address the many challenges from 2020, PCPC stands ready in 2021 with renewed energy and sense of purpose.

As our country begins to heal from the tragic events of January 6 and focuses on unity in light of a new administration and new Congress, PCPC and our member companies remain steadfast in our commitment to bipartisan collaborations that enable and enhance our member companies’ ability to provide safe and innovative products to countless American families.

Partnerships are key to achieving meaningful solutions to some of our biggest challenges. From my professional experience in government and the private sector, I know we can accomplish the seemingly impossible by working together. I have seen incredible things achieved when people work towards a common goal.

The spirit of collaboration inspired PCPC to work with policymakers, regulators and NGOs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. We engaged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress to issue temporary guidance allowing non-traditional manufacturers to address the critical shortage of hand sanitizers. Our members quickly converted manufacturing lines and increased production to provide these essential products. Companies donated more than 20 million units of hand sanitizer to hospitals, community clinics, medical and emergency professionals, first responders, industry employees and made them available to retail customers.

The nation also grappled with issues of systemic racism and calls for equality and social justice this past year. As an industry, we intend to be a positive agent of change and a force for good aiming to engage in partnerships that are both authentic and meaningful. We don’t have all the answers and know there is much work still to be done to address diversity. Working in coalition with many diverse organizations in 2020, PCPC supported anti-discrimination legislation, including the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, which passed the House in September. The CROWN Act prevents discrimination based on characteristics – such as hair texture and cultural styles, particularly those common in the Black community – and specifically recognizes that Black people are disparately impacted and excluded from some workplaces based on physical appearance. Similar legislation has been passed in seven states. Looking ahead, PCPC is committed to taking continued action to examine and address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), both within our organization and in the industry at large, and in partnership with others committed to the same goal.

PCPC’s work with Cruelty Free International proved to be another successful partnership, resulting in the passage of the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, which bans cosmetic animal testing in the state. At the federal level, we worked closely with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to introduce the Humane Cosmetics Act, which would ban cosmetic animal testing in the U.S. We will continue to work with HSUS and our congressional partners to pass this legislation in the 117th Congress.  

The power of partnerships was also demonstrated in our work with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA), American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), and more than 60 other health, education and parent groups to support legislation that specifically allows sunscreens to be used in schools. To date, 26 states and Washington, D.C., have passed the “SUNucate” model.

Partnerships are key to our industry’s continued success, and we remain committed to deepening and broadening them in the year ahead. As President Biden noted: “To live together and work together. That’s how I see America. That’s how I see the presidency, and that’s how I see the future.” This year, PCPC re-dedicates itself to boldly push forward – confronting the challenges ahead while ensuring our member companies can continue to enhance the well-being of countless American families with the cosmetics and personal care products they trust and enjoy every day. 

Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)


Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications, Personal Care Products Council

Increasing demands from stakeholders for improved environmental performance and transparency appear to be fueling the recent peak of interest in life cycle assessment (LCA). As more companies, both large and small, make commitments toward a more sustainable future, science-based tools like LCA help them chart a strategic course forward and, more importantly, objectively measure progress.

Life cycle assessment is a multi-staged, detailed process of identifying and measuring the inputs that go into making something and the outputs that occur as a result. It’s a valuable tool for understanding how impacts occur as a result of the materials used throughout the value chain, from cradle to grave. Despite its highly technical nature, a growing number of marketing and sustainability executives (not just supply chain or process engineering professionals) are commissioning LCA studies, recognizing the opportunity to drive both business and social value.

While LCA can be used in a variety of applications, the most common are:

  • Identifying greatest impacts along a supply chain;
  • Establishing a baseline for improvement;
  • Making meaningful comparisons of like, but not identical, objects;
  • Helping guide a product or process development;
  • Telling a product story; or
  • Supporting product environmental declarations.

Earlier this month, PCPC hosted the third webinar in its sustainability series, introducing the concept of LCA to member companies. This series is intended to advance the capabilities, know-how and understanding of sustainability best practices among PCPC members. Judging by the questions posed during the webinar, life cycle assessment is a topic of growing interest to our member companies.

Guest speakers Dr. Jim Fava and Dr. John Heckman, both executive directors at Anthesis, shared their 60+ years of combined experience working with LCA. In addition to providing a brief history on LCA’s development and real-life examples of its potential applications, their presentation provided a simple explanation of the phases, or steps in the LCA process, and stages, which are tied to aspects of the product life cycle (see below). Fava and Heckman also shared their perspective on widely used LCA software tools, and the types of human health, ecosystem and resource impact categories most commonly measured as outputs in LCA.

Many PCPC member companies are well versed in LCA. Some have been exposed to the principles through their membership in the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics (SPICE), whose life cycle assessment, eco-design webtool was demonstrated during an earlier webinar. Others have invested in low-cost or open-source tools for non-experts that provide decision making support in procurement or product design.

Member companies recognize the growth of LCA-based ecolabels and other stakeholder pressures to better manage limited resources and any impacts created along the value chain. Science-based tools, whether used in calculating greenhouse gas emission reductions or facilitating a choice between different packaging materials, provide a data-informed approach to decision making and a credible way forward for all companies on a sustainability journey.

Climate Leadership in the Beauty and Personal Care Industry


Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications, Personal Care Products Council

This week, CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), one of the most comprehensive and globally respected sustainability reporting platforms, released the 2020 scores for disclosures on climate change management. More than 9,600 companies – a record number – disclosed their performance and progress, a 17% increase over last year and a 70% increase since the signing of the Paris Accord in 2015. 

With the publication of CDP’s annual scores, stakeholders can learn more about how companies are incorporating sustainability into their business strategy and practices, as well as how they are addressing climate change. Scores are awarded from A to D- based on the comprehensiveness of disclosure, awareness and management of environmental risks. The scores also consider best practices associated with environmental leadership, such as setting ambitious and meaningful targets. CDP measures performance on climate change, forests and water security.

Of the companies reporting to CDP this year, 270 achieved CDP’s climate change “A” list, compared to 179 in 2019. Several members of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) – Beiersdorf, Colgate-Palmolive Company, The Estée Lauder Companies, Firmenich, Givaudan, International Flavors & Fragrances, Johnson & Johnson, Kao Corporation, Kering, L’Oréal, Symrise and Unilever – were among the companies with the highest scores.

CDP, the gold standard in environmental reporting, presents several benefits to companies disclosing their environmental impact. Companies can build stakeholder trust through greater transparency and enhance their reputation by responding to public concerns about the environment. The process of reporting also helps companies identify emerging environmental risks and opportunities and stay ahead of regulatory reporting requirements. Action on environmental management is desperately needed.

In September, a new multi-agency report from leading science organizations, United in Science 2020, was released and indicated that although emission saw a temporary decline attributed to the pandemic lockdown, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to rise. The report also acknowledges that the world has seen its warmest five years on record and is not on track to meet agreed targets to keep global temperature increase well below 2 °C, or at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels as deemed critical in the Paris Accord. Climate change is impacting all eco-systems, from mountains to oceans, accelerating sea-level rise and posing a significant threat to human life.

The need for climate action has never been more pressing. The beauty and personal care industry is committed to being part of the solution. Through transparent disclosures of its approach to managing climate impacts created along the value chain and by setting ambitious, science-based goals to GHG emissions mitigation, our industry continues to demonstrate its leadership. In addition to reporting to CDP annually, many of PCPC’s member companies have also made commitments to science-based targets, which align with the goals of the Paris Accord and provide a clearly-defined pathway to reduce GHG emissions.

We cannot wait for government to lead the way on climate change. The private sector has a fundamental role to play in reducing GHG emissions, and I am proud to be part of an industry that is leading the way.

Gratitude is Beautiful


by Keech Combe Shetty
Executive Chair, Combe, Inc. and
Board Chair, Personal Care Products Council

This Thanksgiving, like so much this year, will be different than those most of us have experienced before. Our friends and family may not be with us in person. Our feasts may be smaller. While it won’t be normal, we can all be thankful that we may be able to see the light at the end of the COVID tunnel. But, as we have since our first president called on us to celebrate Thanksgiving, we, as a nation will reaffirm our values. We can see the future of our country—no matter how far away it may seem—and it looks bright.

This year’s events caused significant economic uncertainty, tragically took too many lives, made many of us work from home and learn to teach our kids in new ways. As we continue to struggle with the “new normal,” there are glimmers of hope as we witness the generosity of spirit and the kindness of others.

The beauty and personal care industry is grateful to front line workers, including medical professionals; nonprofit and relief organizations working to ensure the well-being of those less fortunate; and everyday citizens looking for ways to protect themselves and their families from this horrible pandemic. All of those who put their lives on the line to protect us makes all of us better people.

Throughout our history, personal care products and cosmetics companies have put safety at the forefront of everything we do. This year, safety took on a new meaning. The Personal Care Products Council and I are very thankful for the families who trust and use our products every day. It is an honor to produce safe products that support people’s well-being and provide comfort and normalcy at a time that is anything but normal.

Writer Alice Walker once said, “’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say…Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility and understanding.” On behalf of the Personal Care Products Council and its member companies, I thank you and wish you a happy, safe Thanksgiving. Most of all, I hope you can take some time and remind yourself of the things you are thankful for and thank those around you who make a difference in your life.

Innovations in Sustainable Packaging


Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications, Personal Care Products Council

As public and regulatory concerns about single-use packaging waste increase, consumer goods companies are proactively taking steps and making commitments to improve the sustainability of their packaging while also rethinking packaging systems. Focused for decades primarily on convenience, consumers are increasingly aware of packaging waste that ends up in oceans and landfills. Companies are working together, pre-competitively, on systems-level approaches with a common understanding of the challenges and need for collaboration along the entire packaging value chain.

The beauty and personal care industry is taking numerous actions to reduce its use of plastic packaging, use more recycled plastic and increase the recyclability of plastic packaging. Last year, PCPC joined the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics (SPICE) as an associate member. SPICE, co-founded by Quantis and L’Oréal, brings together organizations in the cosmetics sector to work towards a common goal of shaping the future of sustainable packaging. SPICE develops and publishes business-oriented methodologies and data to support decision-making to improve the environmental performance of product packaging.

For some beauty and personal care products, packaging drives the most significant impact within their value chain, especially if it’s complex, multi-material, heavy or uses special finishing processes. SPICE aims to establish a harmonized packaging footprint platform and common methodology for evaluating environmental performance.

As part of our continued efforts to advance the capabilities, know-how and understanding of sustainability best practices, PCPC recently hosted a webinar on sustainable packaging, focusing on trends and business drivers; an introduction to SPICE; and a demonstration of its new open source sustainable packaging tool.

Webinar guest speaker Dimitri Caudrelier, CEO of Quantis, a global sustainability consulting firm, demonstrated a new eco-design webtool to help companies assess the environmental performance of packaging based on an industry-aligned methodology. The tool features an easy-to-use interface developed specifically for cosmetics packaging designers and engineers and can:

  • Calculate the footprint of any cosmetics package, create an aggregate score for that package and detail for its environmental performance by stage in the lifecycle
  • Simulate multiple materials and design scenarios to assess ways to reduce a package’s impacts and help evaluate different packaging approaches (single-use, recharge/refill systems)
  • Inform a company’s sustainable packaging policy, goals and progress

Webinar attendees also had the opportunity to hear from Nicol Sobczyk, director of Sustainable Packaging at L’Oréal USA. Sobczyk spoke about an innovative life cycle assessment tool that L’Oréal developed, called Sustainable Packaging Optimization Tool (SPOT), which helps product development teams within the company assess the social and environmental performance of new and renovated products. Sobczyk indicated that SPOT is used not only to motivate teams to set ambitious goals but also to enable them to measure results, which can be shared with external stakeholders.

As part of its ongoing commitment to sustainability, the beauty and personal care products industry is working in pre-competitive coalitions like SPICE to address the challenges associated with packaging design, materials and waste. Several companies, including Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, The Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever, have set ambitious, time-bound goals for all plastic packaging to be recyclable, reusable, compostable or refillable. Many companies are also making recycling easier for consumers, incentivizing them to bring empty packaging back to point of sale, or return by mail, thereby increasing the use of recycled content and testing innovative approaches to refillable packaging.

While we recognize there is more to be done, the industry’s common progress can be accelerated through best practices and by working together with harmonized standards and science-based tools. More information about industry initiatives on sustainable packaging can be found in our 2019 sustainability report, Creating a More Beautiful World.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness and COVID-19


Lezlee Westine
President and CEO, Personal Care Products Council

Each October, communities across the country align to raise awareness for breast cancer and promote the need for education, screening, early detection, new treatment therapies and patient support. With sustained focus over the last 40 years, significant advances have increased survival rates and improved the quality of life for the one in eight people diagnosed with the disease.

The pandemic has impacted our everyday lives in countless ways, including delays of life-saving screening tests necessary for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Mammogram rates across the country are down significantly versus screenings at pre-COVID-19 levels, as hospitals shifted their focus to treat those diagnosed with COVID-19 and patients opted to delay screening tests for fear of contracting the virus.

Although the pandemic has caused tremendous devastation and loss of life, it is also a reminder that we are all in this together. By uniting as a community to face the health and safety consequences of this virus, we continue to demonstrate our resilience when we work together against a common enemy. Breast cancer is no different.

More than 30 years ago, the beauty and personal care industry came together to support women being treated for cancer. Look Good Feel Better was the first program of its kind to help cancer patients manage the appearance-related side effects from treatment. The program was based on the belief that by helping to improve appearance, the workshops could also improve morale, confidence and hope. Having now served more than 2 million people in 27 countries, the program helps women – and men and teens – face cancer with confidence. Look Good Feel Better is a clear demonstration of the good that can happen when we unite behind a larger purpose.

While in-person LGFB workshops have been suspended through the end of 2020 due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns for participants, volunteers and hospital staff partners, the beauty industry’s signature philanthropic program offers live virtual workshops as a safe, convenient way for women to realize the benefits of the program from the comfort of their homes. Truly among the most vulnerable of populations, anyone who is being treated for cancer needs to take extra precautions to ensure their health and safety.

As an industry committed to women’s health and well-being, many beauty and personal care companies – including Avon, The Estée Lauder Companies, Mary Kay, Revlon and Henkel, among others – support longstanding educational programs and campaigns for breast cancer. In addition to raising awareness, these companies advocate for public policies that support reproductive health; commit funds for life saving research and treatments; and provide emotional support programs for the millions of men, women and teens affected, directly or indirectly, by breast cancer.

While researchers around the world are working to advance breast cancer treatment and eradicate the disease, we know that early detection is key to more available treatment options, increased survival and improved quality of life. This makes routine breast cancer screenings all the more important even during COVID-19. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities across the country have reopened and are offering mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs. If you have postponed your mammogram because of COVID-19, check with your primary care physician or gynecologist about rescheduling.

Breast cancer impacts the lives of so many people. Together, we can show our support for those affected by the disease and celebrate its survivors with these simple acts:

  1. Know the facts
    Know your risk factors and how to identify key symptoms of breast cancer.
  2. Wear and shop pink
    Help raise awareness for breast cancer by adding a touch of pink to your wardrobe.
  3.  Volunteer
    Offer your time to an organization focused on the disease, such as the Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA) and Susan G. Komen.
  4.  Make a donation
    Give a gift in honor of a survivor or loved one to help those still fighting against cancer. Donate to a worthy organization, such as Look Good Feel Better, Susan G. Komen, or the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

Transparency and Compliance in the Supply Chain


Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications, Personal Care Products Council

Today’s increasingly complex global supply chains present many challenges for companies who are under heightened stakeholder scrutiny—from consumers, investors and NGOs focused on their ability to operate ethically, build resilience and manage risk. Recently, COVID-19 has forced many companies, and entire industries, to rethink and transform their global supply chain models.

Over the past few decades, companies have taken advantage of global sourcing opportunities in order to compete more efficiently, whether through reduced production costs, proximity to market or the need for specialized skills, which have introduced new types of risk.  

While some of these risks are direct, like supply chain disruptions or trade tariffs, others are less obvious—such as intellectual property theft and public relations crises—but equally threatening to businesses.

COVID-19 has placed manufacturers worldwide under increasing political and competitive pressures to increase domestic production; reduce dependence on sources that are perceived as risky; and build more agile, resilient and sustainable supply chains.

Members of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) are united in their commitment to operate responsibly and integrate sustainable practices along the entire value chain. As part of PCPC’s efforts to advance the capabilities, know-how and understanding of best practices, we recently launched a sustainability-focused webinar series for members, the most recent of which focused on transparency and compliance in the supply chain.

Webinar guest speaker Sandy Gray, supply chain sustainability solutions at EcoVadis, a CSR risk monitoring and sustainability rating platform, noted that beauty and cosmetics manufacturers must consider sustainability throughout the product lifecycle—from raw materials and manufacturing to packaging, distribution and retail—as more than two thirds of many beauty and personal care products’ environmental impacts occur upstream in the supply chain.

 

 

The beauty and personal care sector has been responsive to requests for greater disclosure around ES&G (Environmental, Social & Governance) performance from consumers, regulators, investors and other key stakeholders. These groups expect greater transparency around the impacts created in a company’s owned sites and operations and also that of their suppliers. In a demonstration of extraordinary leadership, an increasing number of companies in the sector have set ambitious goals to reduce their environmental impacts along the entire value chain. For example, many of PCPC’s member companies have set science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction goals or aim to be carbon neutral or net positive. These commitments include the disclosure of scope 3 emissions made by suppliers. Setting goals, however, is only part of the solution. Disclosure, transparency and compliance are the mechanism to ensure performance and progress.  

According to Cliodhnagh Conlon, webinar presenter and associate director of consumer sectors & supply chain at BSR, one of the country’s leading sustainability nonprofit and consulting firms, new technologies, like blockchain, to identify and track steps throughout the supply chain will play an important role in not only meeting compliance requirements, but also providing transparency and assurance to  ensure trust with key audiences, including consumers.

Transparency in the supply chain is particularly important to consumers—73% say transparency is valuable to them and a majority say they are more likely or very likely to pay more for products from companies that operate in a more transparent manner.1

The beauty and personal care products industry is leading the way with several initiatives to promote sustainability, transparency and compliance, which leverage science-based and collaborative approaches, including:

  • The Responsible Beauty Initiative pre-competitive industry program focuses on improving sustainability throughout the entire beauty supply chain by sharing best practices and processes; driving a common understanding across the industry; and creating efficiencies through the use and sharing of common tools.
  • The Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics (SPICE) pre-competitive industry program aims to define harmonized guidelines for sustainable packaging and create approaches and innovations based on eco-design.
  • The Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) requires GHG emission reduction targets to be adopted by companies to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement—to limit global warming to well-below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) is a recognized global system for companies to measure, disclose, manage and share carbon emissions and other material environmental information.

These efforts are making a difference. According to analysis from EcoVadis, the beauty sector is a leader among industries when it comes to global sustainability ratings: 74% of suppliers to the beauty industry scored above the national average in a robust rating scale that measures 21 criteria related to the environment; labor and human rights; ethics; and sustainable procurement.

The industry’s commitment to ethical and transparent practices—as well as to the responsible management of its environmental impacts and economic and social value—is unwavering. Our 2019 sustainability report, Creating a More Beautiful World, highlights the innovative ways member companies integrate sustainability into their businesses.

While we are proud of the efforts individual companies are making in the sustainable management of their businesses, we recognize companies large and small still have more to do. Looking to the future, PCPC and the beauty and personal care products industry remain committed to transparency and continuous improvement. Together, we are making a difference to help create a more beautiful and sustainable world.

 

1 Source: Pure Branding, The ROI of Transparency

 

 

 

Preserving the Abundance of Nature


Lisa Powers
EVP, Public Affairs & Communications, Personal Care Products Council

On July 28, we celebrate World Nature Conservation Day to raise awareness, and encourage advocacy and action for the health and well-being of our environment. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the urgent need for the preservation and protection of our natural resources and to ensure their abundance for future generations.

Experts agree that human activities on Earth are causing widespread resource depletion and degradation. Humanity’s ecological footprint (a measure of consumption and impact on the planet) is estimated to be two to three times the Earth’s capacity to sustainably provide resources to meet demand. Fueled by population growth, the shortfall between the supply of resources and the demand for them is being met through the depletion (or degradation) of natural capital – things like clean air, fresh water, soil, forests, wetlands, marine ecosystems and biodiversity. Rising demand for resources to meet the needs of more than 7.6 billion people has transformed land use and generated unprecedented levels of pollution and ecosystem loss. Scientists estimate Earth’s overshoot (when humanity’s needs exceed the planet’s capacity) began in the 1970s, and has accelerated ever since.

While we may not experience the decline in resources, biodiversity loss and species extinction on an individual level, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.1 Scientists believe biodiversity loss affects ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution and other major forms of environmental stress; numerous studies have demonstrated that more biologically diverse ecosystems are healthier and more productive. Driven by continued disruptions to the environment, scientists predict that more than 1 million species are on track for extinction in the coming decades.

Leading nonprofit conservation organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, however, know we can be smarter about how we use our oceans, freshwater and land, and how we produce energy, food and other resources. They believe we have the knowledge and capability to explore new ways to feed the growing population, meet our energy demands and manage our water supply.

The beauty and personal care industry recognizes that we are at a cross roads – actions taken now are essential to protecting the natural world we rely on today and to ensure a sustainable tomorrow. Most of the leading companies in the sector have established goals to reduce their operating and product footprints, to better manage their resource use and reduce waste. Some have programs in place to protect against deforestation and biodiversity loss but, admittedly, it will require more than the efforts of just one sector to halt and reverse what we are experiencing.

In order to ensure a healthy future for our planet and all humankind, we need public policies that protect our fragile ecosystems, biodiversity and species and technology to enable us to distribute these finite resources smarter and more efficiently. Most importantly, we need to rethink how we value nature and its role in our existence, and conserve on a far greater scale.

How You Can Help

  • Talk to others about conservation and its importance for our planet
  • Support a conservation organization with a donation or membership
  • Conserve in your own life: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Support those on the front lines of conservation work by reading a book or watching a documentary that celebrates nature and sustainability

1 https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

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Celebrating Our Marine Ecosystems: World Oceans Day


Alexandra Kowcz
Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council

World Oceans Day, celebrated on June 8, provides the opportunity to recognize the vital need to protect our oceans. Covering 70 percent of the earth’s surface, the Arctic, Southern, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans contribute innumerable benefits to our planet and all that lives here. Oceans provide half of the world’s oxygen; absorb 50 times more CO2 than the atmosphere; help regulate the earth’s climate; enable transportation and recreation; are the feedstock for many medicines; and provide significant economic benefits to society. Oceans are a key natural resource, upon which hundreds of millions of people depend, and are essential to the welfare and prosperity of human life.1

The earth’s oceans make our planet livable. Over-fishing, sea water acidification, warming temperatures and rising sea levels (caused by climate change) and pollution, however, are threatening their ability to support marine life — and us.

Plastic pollution is perhaps the most widespread and tangible problem affecting the marine environment today. A 2014 report by the UN Environment Program estimated plastic consumer goods causes $75 billion of environmental harm annually to natural ecosystems, including $13 billion specifically to marine ecosystems.2 After one use, 95 percent of plastic packaging material value ends up in landfills, as roadside litter or in our marine environments.

(Source: oceanconservancy.org)

 

While plastics play a crucial role in modern life, plastic waste threatens our oceans’ health; food safety and quality; coastal tourism; and long-term human health. There is widespread acknowledgement, however, that quick fixes that address the symptoms are not enough; only a systemic shift that addresses the root cause of plastic waste recovery and management, implemented in coalitions by numerous actors along the entire value chain, will result in substantive change.

Recognizing the impacts of single use plastic packaging on marine ecosystems, the beauty and personal care industry is committed to working together to develop upstream and downstream solutions to address the issue, including:

  • Accelerating and scaling the development of alternative materials;
  • Developing innovative products designed for circular business models;
  • Engaging consumers in thoughtful disposal behaviors/recycling; and
  • Supporting collection infrastructure and the separation and sorting of plastic waste.

As part of their commitment to sustainability, and in an effort to address reliance on a single use model, several PCPC member companies, including Colgate-Palmolive, Henkel, Johnson & Johnson, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, The Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever, have set ambitious, time-bound goals that all their plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable, compostable, or refillable. Many brands are making recycling easier for consumers to bring their empty packaging back to the point of sale (POS), or return by mail, often incentivized with a reward. Brands are also increasing their use of recycled content, or using new material sources like paper that’s both recyclable and compostable, and can be made from recycled materials.

Every year, our oceans provide us with a wealth of goods and services, conservatively valued at $2.5 trillion, and play a fundamental role in supporting life on earth.3 In addition to industry’s actions, there are actions each of us can take. Most people are familiar with the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – to help reduce plastic waste and its impact on our planet. Here are some additional things you can do to protect our oceans:

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint and Energy Consumption

Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work.

 Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices

When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for over-exploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.

 Use Fewer Plastic Products

Carry a reusable water bottle, store food in non-disposable containers, bring your own reusable bag when shopping and recycle whenever possible. Avoid single use plastic like straws, bags and bottled water.

 Help Take Care of the Beach

Whether you enjoy diving, surfing or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself.

Travel the Ocean Responsibly

Practice responsible boating, kayaking and other recreational activities on the water.

Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean

Consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy with a conservation organization.

1 https://geoblueplanet.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/OECD-ocean-economy.pdf

2 https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/plastic-waste-causes-financial-damage-us13-billion-marine-ecosystems

3 https://wwf.panda.org/our_work/oceans/solutions/recognising_the_value_of_marine_ecosystem_services/

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Sun Safety in the Shadow of COVID-19


Alexandra Kowcz
Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council

Memorial Day Weekend signals the arrival of summer and, with it, familiar warm-weather activities like afternoons at the beach or pool, back-yard BBQs and more time spent outdoors. For many people across the country who have respected the stay-at-home orders to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, summer cannot come soon enough. And while many states have initiated reopening plans to reboot their economies – easing restrictions on beaches, parks and other outdoor recreational sites – this will not be a typical summer. Although scientists continue to study whether higher temperatures, humidity and sunlight will have a mitigating impact on the spread of COVID-19, health agencies continue to recommend the use of face masks and social distancing.

In addition to these new COVID-19 behaviors we have adopted to keep us healthy, we also need to practice sun safety. While we may be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency from sheltering indoors, it is important to take precautions to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays once we emerge from our homes. Experts believe four out of five cases of skin cancer caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure could be prevented.

As we begin to venture outdoors, here is a reminder of the measures you can take to stay safe in the sun:

Limit Your Exposure

To protect against damage from the sun’s rays, try to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are strongest. Another approach to determine when best to stay out of the sun is by using the shadow rule: “Short Shadow, Seek Shade.” The intensity of UV rays is directly related to the angle of the sun (or altitude above the horizon). When a person’s shadow is shorter than they are tall, the intensity of UV rays is more likely to cause sunburn.

You can also consult the UV Index, which indicates how strong the UV light is in your area on any given day. Developed by the U.S. National Weather Service and Environmental Protection Agency, a higher number (from 1 to 11+) means greater risk of exposure and higher chance of sunburn and skin damage that could ultimately lead to skin cancer. When the sun is strongest, seek shade under an umbrella, tree or other sun blocking structure.

Wear Protective Clothing

Hats, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirts and pants can provide important protection from UV rays. Clothing made from tightly woven fabric, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Some clothing certified under international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.

Liberally Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreens are designed to protect the skin by absorbing, reflecting or dispersing the sun’s rays and are typically categorized into either UV absorbers or UV reflectors. UV absorbers are chemicals, like avobenzone and octinoxate, that absorb UV radiation and convert it to a very low level of heat. UV reflectors block and scatter the rays before they penetrate the skin and include minerals like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Both types of sunscreens are available in many forms including lotions, creams, ointments, gels, sprays and balms.

Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF) that rates their effectiveness in blocking UV rays. A product’s SPF helps determine how long it will protect you before you need to re-apply or how long you can stay in the sun without burning. For example, if unprotected skin takes ten minutes to show signs of burning, SPF 30 sunscreen (when properly applied) would slow the rate of burning by 30 times, or 300 minutes in total. SPF 15 would provide 150 safe minutes; SPF 50, 500 minutes; etc.

You should always wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, no matter your skin tone. Even people with very dark skin can burn and develop skin cancer. When you see the term “broad spectrum” on a sunscreen product, it means you have protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Apply your sunscreen liberally at least 30 minutes before going outside and remember to re-apply it every two hours and immediately after swimming or perspiring. If you’re taking medication, ask your doctor if it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Certain antibiotics, birth control pills, diuretics, antihistamines and anti-depressants can increase one’s sensitivity to the sun’s rays.

Health and safety are, rightfully, in the spotlight these days. In addition to social distancing and wearing a face covering, don’t forget to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun!