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Sustainable Cosmetics !

A large consortium of cosmetics companies, supported by Quantis, has just published the Eco-Beauty Score (EBS) methodology for public consultation. The aim of this new 'Eco-score' is to enable consumers to make more informed and sustainable choices.


However, the EBS proposal, as presented today, is fraught with major pitfalls and is very likely to give rise to serious concerns on the part of stakeholders.


The positive aspect of this ecological score is that it is based on the European approach, the 'Product Environmental Footprint (PEF)', for assessing the sustainable aspect of products placed on the market, using the 16 PEF impact categories.


The negative aspect is that it is based solely on the PEF.  While this methodology should indeed be used to assess the life-cycle footprint of products, its developers insist that additional information should be used - and provided - where necessary.


For cosmetic products, what is unquestionably 'necessary' is the composition of the formula: does it contain substances of very high concern (SVHC)?  Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances? Endocrine disruptors? What is the overall CLP classification of the product? What volume of water is needed to dilute the formula to reduce its toxicity to a level of no concern? 


All these aspects (which are generally the cornerstone of any serious eco-label) are absent from the current version of the Eco-Beauty Score.


What's more, it's astonishing that the consortium decided to use the results of the 16 impact categories of the PEF, apart from the 'aquatic ecotoxicity' impact category! Yet this is a decisive impact for cosmetic products.


The argument put forward is that the use of USEtox, the method recommended by the PEF to assess the score for the aquatic toxicity impact category, is not appropriate for cosmetic products (?!), and that a specific database needs to be built first.


On this last point, I would like to remind that the EU-JRC (Joint Research Center) has built a database based on data supplied by industry as part of their REACh regulatory obligations.  This database provides characterization factors for more than 6,000 substances. These data can be used to run USEtox, or any other assessment method the consortium wishes to use.




If you are interested in this subject and would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact me:

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