Love Beauty and Planet is a brand owned by Unilever, which was launched in 2018 with hair and skin care products. Originally, products were only sold in the United States and Canada, however, this has now grown to 50 different countries with the addition of home care to the product range. On the packaging of every product there is a list of claims which the product supposedly encompasses (as seen in the picture at the start of the review). Not only do Love Beauty and Planet have these claims on product packaging, they also heavily promote their 5 goals to obtain “a better future and a better planet” on their website, these are as follows: sourcing ingredients responsibly, reducing waste, counting their footprints with honesty, the planet project, and finally bravery and benevolent beauty. In addition to this, they also promote their four labours of love, one of which is called “carbon conscious and caring”, whereby they appreciate all businesses will have some carbon footprint and therefore they attempt to quantify CO2 emissions throughout production and tax themselves to achieve goals (the money they tax themselves gets donated to third-party programmes reducing landfill waste and carbon emissions).
However, despite this consistent push to show consumers their attempts at being sustainable there are hints of evidence across their website to indicate these claims could potentially be greenwashing their consumers, and therefore raises concerns as to the true impacts of Love Beauty and Planet.
The bottles used for all Love Beauty and Planet products, not just those within the Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower collection, are 100% recyclable as well as being 100% made from already recycled plastic bottles, hence why bottle isn’t completely transparent/clear. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the caps of the bottles, these are not currently recyclable but Love Beauty and Planet state that it is supposedly one of the next things they are looking into on a route towards sustainability, which is questionable seeing as they launched 3 years ago and are still yet to achieve this.
The two key ingredients within this collection are coconut water and mimosa flower. However, this being said those exact words cannot be found on the ingredients lists, as well as the proportions of how much of each ingredient is used within each product. But these ingredients are claimed to be sourced ethically and therefore gives the impression that the suppliers rights and wellbeing have been considered and catered to. On the contrary, the coconut water, although provides numerous benefits for hair and being a natural ingredient, is sourced from Hawaii and therefore unless Love Beauty and Planet factories are located in close proximity to the supplier this is adding huge mileage onto a product before it has even been shipped to factories for production and then shipped to sellers. The mimosa flowers, despite being another natural ingredient and ethically sourced, are grown and harvested in Morrocco, once again meaning that the second key ingredient for this collection is not within close proximity to factories and where the products are sold. Unfortunately, information surrounding the companies carbon footprint is not publicly accessible which is interesting as this company want to appear fully transparent to their consumers but will not share these numbers, so potentially put themselves in a position of greenwashing. This is further supported by Love Beauty and Planet not sharing what their sustainability goals specifically are, as well as not even suggesting that they would like to become carbon neutral in the future, instead they think that sharing information on how they ‘tax themselves’ for carbon is sufficient enough to withhold all this other information consumers would find useful.
Due to Love Beauty and Planet products being available within 50 different countries, you would have thought that a company who so publicly indicates that they want to be as environmentally conscious as possible, would be trying their hardest to reduce the amount of mileage being associated with each product and overall reducing the carbon footprint of each product. This being said, it is better to have started improving the company’s sustainability through ethically sourcing than doing nothing.
Despite the easy access to information on Love Beauty and Planet’s environmental/sustainability goals as well as the ingredients included within products and the materials used for packaging, the same cannot be said for clues as to how the Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Shampoo is made, or any product of theirs for that matter. Although claiming that numerous ingredients for products are ethically sourced, with 93% being derived from nature and so have had no alterations from their natural state which indicates that ingredients are not being overly processed, although still provides no true insight into the production processes used to create the Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower Collection. Additionally, although Love Beauty and Planet convey to consumers at every opportunity that their bottles are made from recycled plastic, there is no indication of where they obtain this material and how it is created which is why this section cannot be rated any higher than 1.9 out of 3. However, I personally think using this material in the first place is leaps ahead of many competitors within the cosmetics industry and lays a great example on how other companies should be considering the environment more.
The parent company of Love Beauty and Planet is Unilever, and so all production must meet/abide by their standards and rules. Unilever operates with their suppliers under a ‘Responsible Sourcing Policy’, which means that they must complete business functions with workers who are all of an appropriate age (they define this as 15 years old), allocated reasonable hours of work, are self-volunteered for employment, and are paid a fair wage. However, following these rules seems to be rare for Unilever. Unilever is renowned for failing to respects their workers rights time and time again, with regular occasions of poor labour practices, wages insufficient to allow people to make savings and employees working illegal overtime hours, not to mention numerous scandals like the mercury waste poisoning which was only compensated in 2016 which was 15 years after the occurrence. The continual allegations against Unilever, almost completely oppose all the terms they set out in their ‘Responsible Sourcing Policy’; therefore, it could be assumed that this treatment of workers is happening to those who work for Love Beauty and Planet. In addition to this, the requirements which suppliers must abide by to work within the lines of the ‘Responsible Sourcing Policy’ is nothing above and beyond, in fact it is almost what you would assume to be a bare minimum for considering workers rights and wellbeing. Due to this, and the lack of readily available information on specifics of who makes Love Beauty and Planet products as well as who farms and supplies their ingredients, is why this section of the review cannot be scored any higher than a 0.5 out of 3.
Overall I rate Love Beauty and Planet’s Coconut Water and Mimosa Flower collection a 1.5 out of 3. The company have made clear efforts to become more environmentally conscious, and this is made abundantly evident from their recycled and recyclable bottles, as well as the environmental goals they have made for themselves as a company. Furthermore, this product is very accessible to consumers due to its presence in numerous countries all over the world and being at reasonable prices which does not break people’s banks. Although sustainable and environmental positives are seen throughout Love Beauty and Planet’s products and business operations, there is still a lot of uncertainty with their manufacturing processes and the specifics of how their workers are truly treated and looked after. Not to mention the slight deceit to consumers by making claims to that their next step towards sustainability is to eliminate their non-recyclable bottle caps, however, this statement was released when the company was launched 3 years ago and since then there has been no evidence of this occurring. Therefore, this gives the impression that potential greenwashing could be taking place and the truth of how sustainable their practices are, needs to be publicly released.