Podcast 71: How to make the beauty industry climate neutral

2021-08 Climate neutral beauty

Climate neutral is one of the hottest terms in the beauty industry right now. We are seeing a rise in the number of movements and schemes encouraging both brands and consumers to play their part in reducing, reusing and recycling as well as being more conscious of their beauty consumption patterns in the first place.

So, when we came across a non-profit entity set up to help companies devise a road map to become climate neutral, we were enthusiastic about its mission but also sceptical about just how this would be possible.

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Claiming carbon or climate neutrality is a massive undertaking which is why beauty brands that are investing in ways to reduce their carbon footprint tend to work on offsetting instead.

At Formula Botanica, we praise any efforts indie beauty brands take to incorporate sustainability into their business. But what does it actually mean to become climate neutral? What’s involved? And how do you know a brand is doing the right thing?

To shed light on carbon neutrality and in particular its application to indie beauty businesses, podcast host and Formula Botanica CEO Lorraine Dallmeier spoke to Austin Whitman, CEO of non-profit Climate Neutral. Founded in 2019, Climate Neutral is a new certification scheme helping businesses in every sector become certified to its standards.

With Lorraine herself a Chartered Environmentalist and biologist, this episode of Green Beauty Conversations drills right down into the grey areas about how we measure our carbon footprint and asks just how indie beauty brands can hope to make sense of it.

This episode demystifies carbon footprints and ends with a positive message that every beauty brand, of whatever size or stage in business, can take on board. Austin Whitman stresses Carbon Neutral’s certification is certainly achievable. Like most areas of sustainability, it’s recognising you need to be on the journey rather than focusing only on the destination that counts.

The @FormulaBotanica podcast with @ClimateNeutral demystifies carbon footprints and says indie beauty brands can realistically aim for carbon neutral certification. #carbonneutral #carbonfootprint #sustainablebeauty Click To Tweet

In this episode on climate neutral certification, you will:

  • Hear how Climate Neutral, the non-profit, was born from the need to help brands and consumers have a legitimate, certifiable standard against which to measure companies’ claims. It aims to remove the doubt for all parties.
  • Learn that the natural beauty sector already has a customer base that values issues of sustainability and environmental responsibility when making purchasing choices. There is a huge opportunity for natural beauty brands to engage further with their audiences on an emotional level by starting the process towards climate neutrality.
  • Climate Neutral handholds brands through the process, and starts by near estimates of a company’s carbon footprint and also factors in some carbon offsetting. This allows companies to start the process today, rather than aim for long-term prize of zero footprint and still pump out emissions in the meantime.
  • The beauty sector may seem to have different carbon footprint from other sectors but actually the same areas come into play: shipping, packaging, vehicle emissions, office lighting/heating and similar are common to all sectors. This makes it relatively easy to start to calculate a swathe of a beauty brand’s emissions from day one.

Key take-outs for beauty brands include:

  • Beauty brands wanting to start on a journey to climate neutral certification should start by looking at the quick wins, such as reducing energy consumption in areas such as airmiles of raw materials and finished products and electricity.
  • The main area of carbon emissions for an indie beauty brand will be in its raw materials which are chemicals. Synthetics and petroleum-derived chemicals tend to involve more processes and hence produce more carbon. However, naturals too leave a footprint too. Drill into the sourcing and processing of your raw materials in working out how to reduce carbon emissions – or change your choices.
  • Remind yourself that each company is hostage to bigger systems that quite often need (inter)governmental commitment to change. But believe that you can do something now, rather than wait. You might not yet be able to use sustainable fuel for your business, but Climate Neutral urges us to do what we can right now in the areas we do control.

Meet our Guest: Austin Whitman

Austin Whitman - Climate NeutralAustin Whitman, the CEO of Climate Neutral, is a well-versed thought-leader in corporate carbon responsibility. Whitman has served as both Vice President of Climate Change Capital and as Vice President of M.J. Bradley & Associates; two leaders in climate-focused investing and asset management. In 2019, Austin started Climate Neutral, a non profit aiming to accelerate the decarbonisation of global emissions through its achievable certification framework. The framework certifies brands who measure their carbon footprint, offset it with verified offsets and create future reduction strategies.

Website: climateneutral.org
Twitter: @climateneutral

Instagram: @beclimateneutral

Green Beauty Opinion: podcast 72

Lorraine follows up our guest episodes with 5-minute Green Beauty Opinions in which she shares her thoughts on the key issues raised. Commenting on climate neutrality, Lorraine asks if net zero is a challenge too far for the beauty industry and prompts us all to be the voice of change and integrity, making the beauty industry better and more sustainable.

Listen to Lorraine’s Green Beauty Opinion: We must get to Net Zero in Beauty:


You might also like to listen to our other episodes on sustainability issues:

Top sustainability challenges and concerns for the beauty industry
Are indie brands falling behind on sustainabiity?
Can a beauty brand ever be carbon neutral?


Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Podcast 71: How to make the beauty industry climate neutral

Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.

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