Biodiversity encompasses every living thing on earth, from genes to ecosystems, beyond species we consider rare, threatened or endangered. Loss of plant and animal species is occurring at an accelerated rate, directly linked to habitat destruction, deforestation, unsustainable agriculture–including monoculture, overfishing and hunting–urbanization, pollution and climate change. The UN estimates that at least a million species are at risk of extinction.
Cosmetics and personal care products companies recognize the extent to which their products and operations depend on conserving biodiversity. Many are taking action to protect biodiversity from further loss or moving beyond conserving species that are threatened or endangered, with an eye toward regenerating biodiversity in and around their sourcing areas by:
- Developing company policies and procedures and adopting credible standards with impartiality, transparency and rigor, such as Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT)
- Integrating additional biodiversity and social aspects into supplier control systems, including a risk assessment system with scoring related to biodiversity issues
- Ensuring ingredient sourcing focuses on collaborating and empowering communities
- Promoting local development projects that improve the livelihood and well-being of local communities and contribute to economic development
- Tailoring actions to maintain or enhance biodiversity by considering local circumstances, existing pressures, and ongoing conservation and regeneration efforts
- Complying with regulations on access and benefit-sharing (ABS), which define how to fairly distribute the benefits generated from genetic resources between the users of these resources (such as universities and biotech companies) and provider countries (regulatory authorities in biodiversity rich countries)
- Working to directly regenerate or contribute to projects that regenerate natural systems, such as planting trees or using agriculture to restore nutrients to the soil
PCPC member companies recognize the key role they play in the conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing of biological diversity. Biodiversity is central to companies’ ability to provide new and top-selling products, and often serves asa rich source for inspiration and innovation in the development of new active ingredients. The cosmetics and personal care products industry relies on species richness and natural ingredients derived from plants for many of its formulations, and knows that the most effective approaches to protecting biodiversity will be based on collaborations with key stakeholders along the entire value chain.