Dove

overall rating:

2

planets

Georgia Powell
3/5/2022
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Dove is an American personal care brand owned by Unilever that specializes in hair, body, and skincare products. They started a project in 2004 called the Dove Self Esteem Project, consisting of online content and workshops, reaching 60 million people worldwide.

What it's made of:

1.5

In terms of the actual product produced by Dove, they have stated that if they can’t source the quantities of natural ingredients needed in a sustainable, ethically sourced way (or if the natural sources contain too many impurities), they use nature-identical versions synthesized in laboratories for maximum purity and safety. They use mineral oils in their products, which are extracted as part of the petrochemical industry, are non-renewable, and add to the exploitation of the earth for fossil fuel. They also have a low biodegradability, so any waste or excess mineral oil will not be able to decompose naturally. Dove’s products also contain phenoxyethanol, which is created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium that all react to form a pH-balanced ingredient. There are concerns about the toxicity of this product. Silicones are also incorporated into many of their hair formulas, which is a sustainable and ethical ingredient that’s abundant and biodegradable. In terms of the surface surfactants used, the role of surfactants in the environment is ambiguous: they can cause serious environmental pollution with toxic effects on living organisms; otherwise, they can promote the decomposition and/or removal of other inorganic and organic pollutants from the environment. They additionally don’t test on animals, although their products are not certified vegan.

Dove also has an initiative to reduce plastic waste by reducing the manufacture of more than 20,500 tonnes of virgin plastic a year. This will be done by making their Beauty Bar packaging plastic-free globally, as well as launching 100% recycled plastic (PCR) bottles. They also will be trialing refillable deodorants that will radically reduce plastic use.

How it's made:

2.5

Dove has decided to increase their use of renewable energy in manufacturing, with the aim of reducing its carbon footprint and becoming carbon positive by 2030. To help the fight, Unilever has set sustainability goals; most importantly, a science-based target to halve the greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of their products across their lifecycle by 2030. Currently, Dove’s USA and Germany sites already use 100% renewable energy through wind and solar sources, and their Indonesian site is switching to sustainable biomass. Furthermore, Dove’s Aguai factory, making their deodorants for Brazil, has been built to maximize natural light. It is powered by renewable energy, sends zero non-hazardous waste to landfill, and collects and purifies rainwater to meet 60% of the factory’s needs. On their website, Dove also claims that they use Innovative technology, lower-emission fuels, and switch from road to rail are just to reduce their environmental impact and create more sustainable production. For over 25 years Dove has worked with Unilever’s Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) to develop and refine the best ways to reduce environmental impact. Scientists work alongside their Research and Development teams to ensure the safety and environmental sustainability of their products and help protect the planet. They implement renewable energy sources, reduced water use, and zero non-hazardous waste to landfills, proving a commitment to sustainability. They have said on their website that they are dedicated to halving the environmental footprint of their products across our entire supply chain, from the sourcing of our ingredients to how their products are used and disposed of. Dove has also has a Responsible Sourcing Policy and Sustainable Agriculture Code, meaning they only work with suppliers who adhere to their own environmental policies, including policies on workers’ rights and protecting land rights.

Who makes it:

2.5

Their parent company, Unilever, uses an app to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It matches companies needing transport for products with trucking companies that have spare capacity. As many as half of the lorries managed in Europe by Dove benefit from this app. Dove is also ensuring that the trucks used are more environmentally friendly too. By switching to liquid nitrogen gas (LNG), a lower-emission fuel, they aim to reduce emissions like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide by a huge amount compared to traditional diesel fuels. As part of this, Dove has begun building five new LNG stations to support more trucks. One is near to their Dove factory in Mannheim, Germany. This reduced the overall carbon footprint associated with transport.

 

Dove has partnered with fragrance house Firmenich and Givaudan. Their responsible sourcing and social sustainability programs make sure the naturally derived ingredients used in Dove products are farmed in ways that benefit the local communities where the crops are grown. Examples of sustainably sourced ingredients include Vetiver, an oil taken from a plant root, is used in some Dove men’s products. The best quality vetiver comes from Haiti, but while the price of vetiver has increased, the farmers’ access to basic needs is still quite low. Therefore, Firmenich has helped to develop a responsible project focusing on social sustainability. Farmers are therefore supported through premium prices and have improved access to healthcare and education. Used in their Nourishing Secrets range, green mandarin is found in Brazil — and that’s where Firmenich has partnered with Biocitrus (a member of Naturals Together) for both exclusive and sustainable sourcing of green mandarin. Reforestation is a huge part of that, which is why Firmenich donated 15,000 native seedlings to be planted on riverbanks, and 3000 new Cai Mandarin trees. It’s a fantastic project that helps to make farming more inclusive and profitable so that the next generation will be able to stay in the industry — and the environment will benefit, too. Patchouli is an ingredient used across many Dove products. This is sourced by Givaudan’s Sourcing for Shared Value approach. They source the raw material close to its origin, giving greater transparency and traceability of the supply chain, ensuring they can build trust and solid relationships with the local smallholder producers. Givaudan has had its own collection network on the Island of Sulawesi since 2013. They buy patchouli oil from hundreds of producers and local suppliers, contributing to a more stable income for the producing communities.

 

Overall, Dove is committed to sourcing ingredients sustainably, and have many pledges to improve their current environmental footprint. They have acknowledged that what they currently have in place is good, but more can be done, and have benchmarks for improvement.