Reducing Carbon Emissions Personal Care

Blog Post Reducing Carbon Emissions in the Personal Care Industry

Cosmetic Formulation

2/20/20242 min read

footprints on brown sand
footprints on brown sand

Having explored in an earlier blog what a carbon footprint is and how it is measured, let’s take a deeper dive into uncovering what can be done to reduce a carbon footprint and the associated emissions.

How can a company reduce their carbon footprint?

There are many ways in which companies can work to reduce their carbon emissions and so too their carbon footprint. To reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, the focus will predominantly be improving on the efficiency of manufacturing operations and ensuring the purchase of energy from renewable sources, such as wind or solar power. Scope 3 emissions tend to be much harder to manage, and typically over 70% of company emissions fall under Scope 3(1). Yet, there are discussions and collaborations beginning all along the supply chain to chip away at this source of emissions. With one company’s scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions becoming the scope 3 emissions for the next company, everyone doing their part to reduce emissions is critical for improving for all.

How can we reduce scope 3 carbon emissions?

Scope 3 carbon emissions can be split into both upstream and downstream emissions. Upstream emissions for a personal care brand would include those in the raw material supply chain, whereas downstream would cover how the final formulation goes on to be used and disposed by a customer. We’ll look at them one by one.

Reducing scope 3 upstream carbon emissions

To reduce Scope 3 upstream emissions, it is imperative to work closely with those in the supply chain, constantly challenging and working together to improve sustainability credentials. For example, at Croda, sustainability has been integrated into the supplier selection process, with sustainable sourcing criteria a basic requirement. We ask that our suppliers have a minimum EcoVadis(2) score of 45/100 – this represents the current average score for all suppliers who have taken the assessment. What is EcoVadis? This is our primary platform for assessing our partner’s commitments to ESG by assessing their performance in 4 key pillars: environment, labour & human rights, ethics, and sustainable procurement. If suppliers fail to meet this, we will work in partnership with the supplier and EcoVadis to design and implement a corrective action plan to address areas in need of improvement. We will continue to work with the supplier so long as they show they are working on addressing these actions. We believe this type of collaboration and partnership with suppliers will help to lead to a positive impact on carbon reduction.

Reducing scope 3 downstream carbon emissions

Scope 3 downstream emissions are notoriously hard to measure, as there are so many variables to consider for when a product has left the factory gate. For a personal care brand, there are a multitude of ways in which a personal care formulation is finally used by a consumer. Take a shampoo as an example; How often does the consumer wash their hair? How much product do they use? How long do they stand under a hot shower for? How do they dispose of the bottle? Where did they buy the shampoo from? The list goes on…

Much thought and emphasis needs to go into both the product design and on influencing consumer behaviour. If we can innovate new product formats and influence the end consumer to consume less energy (and less product) then we are on our way to reducing those scope 3 downstream emissions.