In recent years the beauty industry has boomed and this trajectory is only set to continue with a predicted value of $463.5 billion by 2027 according to a report by Allied Research Market. But (I know, seems like theres always a catch right??) this astonishing growth does not come without its own set of complications.
For one, all those serums, creams and compacts create mountains of plastic packaging, in fact Zero Waste Week has estimated that the beauty industry as of 2019 is producing 120 billion units of packaging each year – most of which is made with unrecyclable materials. All this waste is not helped by the fact that the beauty industry is always trying to market the next, niche product to add to people’s tedious skin-care regimens. In the makeup world it appears there is no such thing as simplicity! Why use a small selection of multi-purpose products when companies could convince customers they need a pantheon of skin-care items in their make-up bags? (the answer is $$$$$ of course!)
This is where a company like ZAO really comes to shine, their business model focuses on delivering a range of products that can be refilled rather than needlessly replacing the same items over and over again. Their liquid foundations for instance are sold in glass bottles with bamboo lids and plastic pumps for easy application, once used up customers can simply send off for a refill and voila! Good as new. But wait – it gets better! ZAO’s Eco-box system also means that discarded refill tubes which might otherwise be too small to be processed can be recycled properly.
But it’s not just the packaging and unnecessary multiplicity that is a serious issue in the cosmetic industry, product testing is often performed on animals. While this is an area that has certainly made remarkable strides in recent years with the EU’s near total ban on the sale of animal tested products in 2009, certain companies continue to use these unacceptable practices in the name of 'health and safety'. Unfortunately, many companies have tried to bypass tougher legislation on the sale of animal-tested products by selling their products in less rigorously regulated markets. This is why ZAO’s cruelty free, vegan-friendly products are such breath of fresh air, not only do they have a zero-tolerance policy on animal testing but also pledge not to export their products to any other market which legally requires animal testing.
It is precisely ZAO’s supply chain transparency that really sets them apart from their competitors in such an oversaturated market. While ZAO’s sustainable business model is by no means seamless, they listen to consumer feedback and try to address areas that need improvement like their plastic pumps which have attracted some criticism. In fact, ZAO’s Research and Development Team clearly shows that the company embraces change, they seem committed to seeking out new solutions to create a more sustainable future for everyone <3
Kudos to ZAO!