The alliance is made up of nine brands – Pierre Fabre, L’Oréal, Chanel, Clarins, Melvita, Laboratoires SVR, Yves Rocher, Aroma Zone and La Rosée, and two retailers – Sephora and Nocibé.
The initiative was led by circular economy consultants Circul’R, with extra support from strategy and reinvention consultancy for sustainable business transformation, We Don’t Need Roads (WDNR). The alliance is also supported by non-profit Citeo’s reuse fund. It aims to launch a pilot deposit scheme for point-of-sale skincare products by the end of 2024.
The co-founder of Circul’R Jules Coignard noted that the deposit model for cosmetics remains largely unexplored in France, if not non-existent. “Our ambition is to develop it, and doing so in coalition is an essential strategy,” he said.
“Pooling flows enables us to substantially reduce costs, both economically and environmentally,” continued Coignard.
“This collective dynamic also facilitates the commitment of washers and consumers, thanks to a harmonised approach and standards across the different brands. Finally, the fact that the coalition’s members include major industry players reinforces our power of conviction with public institutions, thus contributing to a positive evolution of the deposit model in France.”
Meanwhile, reinvention director at WDNR and ex-founder of cosmetics brand Cozie, Arnaud Lancelot, said that founding Cozie had given him the opportunity to tackle all the operational complexities involved in setting up a deposit network, which in turn enabled him to: “share valuable lessons with the coalition participants, particularly on aspects such as product and packaging selection, efficient supply chain management for bottle collection, and the technical skills required in the washing and traceability processes.”
Changing practices picking up momentum
More beauty businesses across Europe are changing their operation practices in a bid to become more sustainable to meet rapidly changing regulations and pressures from customers.
An alliance of 15 key beauty industry players in Europe, led by Chanel, was also formed recently to begin to improve supply chain traceability.
While last year, a group of French pharmacy derma brands known as the Pharma-Recharge Consortium, which included Garancia, Mustela, La Rosée, Bioderma and four Laboratoires Pierre Fabre brands, pioneered an initiative to offer consumers some of their products in bulk in pharmacies so they could be purchased as refills in 500ml glass-based pump bottles.
The alliance was supported by (Re)Set – a consulting agency specialised in economic and environmental transition – and the experience was launched at the Carré Opéra pilot pharmacy in Paris with a simple, easy-to-use concept that was compliant with hygiene standards.
The initiative was such a success that it has since been deployed to pharmacies in other regions across France.
General Manager Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetics & Personal Care France, Gwenaël Harmand, noted that the pharmacist has a key role of proximity and advice when it comes to skin care and beyond. When the initiative was trialled Harmand stated: “For the first time, by joining forces with four other laboratories, we are facilitating responsible innovation in pharmacy, a major issue in our time where eco-design is becoming the key word.”
Want to know more about the challenges and initiatives for beauty and personal care companies in a bid to become more circular? Sign up to watch our broadcast on Next Generation Circular Beauty and hear from the MD of Weleda UK, Jayn Sterland, as well as VP for R&D and Sustainability at Lumene Group, Dr Alain Mavon, on this important topic.