Case Study

A Personal Care and Cosmetics Brand Charts a Course for Sustainability

We helped BeautyCo build a roadmap to product circularity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions

Leaders can now clearly see how near-term actions contribute to the company’s overall sustainability future.

Leaders can now clearly see how near-term actions contribute to the company’s overall sustainability future.

The Story

A leading global producer of cosmetics, fragrances, and toiletry products had publicly committed to ambitious sustainability goals, including achieving full product circularity and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But, while BeautyCo had launched multiple initiatives, it wasn’t sure these efforts would be enough to reach its targets. Setting priorities was a complex task. So the company turned to us for help in developing a strategy.

Over 10 weeks, we helped BeautyCo build a roadmap. This required forecasting what sustainability would look like in 10 years across the company’s different regions and product categories. In each case, we showed BeautyCo’s leaders various industry scenarios and what kind of progress to expect from a tailored set of initiatives, many of which involved its approach to packaging.

A focus on sustainable packaging

BeautyCo had long striven to package its products in the least wasteful way possible, yet packaging remained the biggest contributor to the company’s carbon footprint and waste generation. While ambitious, its plans for further reduction weren’t enough to fulfill its commitments.

We studied the markets in three large countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, to develop a nuanced point of view of the current status and future trends of packaging in each region. And we interviewed sustainability experts and business leaders, as well as BeautyCo’s full executive team, to better understand their positioning.

To guide our analysis, we developed a framework to account for the variables that complicate sustainability goal setting. These fell into four interdependent categories: Legislative and regulatory changes; Infrastructural requirements; Consumer preferences and behaviors; and Technological breakthroughs and their adoption.

Using this “LICT” framework allowed us to quantify the projected effects of sustainability initiatives across BeautyCo’s global operations. We modeled the potential impact of the company’s efforts in different markets, showing which programs were more promising where, and showing how they all added up. Finally, BeautyCo could measure the impact of its ESG investments.

Aligning a company around a clear and unified vision

Armed with the insights from our LICT analysis, we ran a two-day workshop to align BeautyCo’s leadership team on a strategy. More than 50 company leaders attended, along with independent environmental experts. We modeled future scenarios for waste generation and GHG emissions in various markets, showing leaders where BeautyCo’s packaging initiatives were helpful and where they were insufficient or misguided.

These sessions generated a list of priorities—programs that needed support, rethinking, or acceleration. Every executive and business unit leader at BeautyCo could now understand how the company’s near-term actions could contribute to the company’s overall sustainability future.

A roadmap for an uncertain future

Our work created a shared understanding, across BeautyCo’s many regional and business unit leaders, of what where the company stood on sustainability. Now there’s consensus about the priorities to both reduce GHG emissions and achieve full circularity. This baseline knowledge helps the company understand the implications of its decisions and commit to the initiatives it’s putting in place.



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