Eco-Friendly

Is Sephora Eco-friendly?

6 Mins read

When talking about sustainability, Sephora gets a lot of attention.

For example — is Sephora a green company?

Is Sephora green enough? More importantly, is Sephora eco-friendly?

Is Sephora Eco-friendly?

Sephora, like many companies in the beauty industry, does not have a company-wide policy for sustainability.

However, it is a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. The SPC has been around since 2006 and helps companies make better decisions about their packaging.

A few years ago, Sephora went through an initiative to get rid of unnecessary packaging materials. Some examples include:

  • Separating the facial mask package into two components: 1) a recyclable paper outer sleeve and 2) a non-recyclable plastic mask tray
  • Introducing refillable products with paperboard carton packaging that’s recyclable instead of laminate pouches that are non-recyclable

Is Sephora Packaging Eco-friendly?

At this time, no. The Sephora Collection and most of its products are packaged in plastic, which is not recyclable.

But Sephora is trying to change that! They’ve set a goal to make 100% of their packaging recyclable, refillable, reusable, or compostable by the year 2030.

This includes making sure all products are packaged in ocean-safe materials and using alternative materials like paper and glass instead of plastic where possible.

It’s also important to note that Sephora has already begun working on reducing the amount of packaging they use.

For instance, if you buy lipsticks from brands such as Bite Beauty or Fenty Beauty at Sephora, they will be packaged in cardboard instead of plastic tubes!

Does Sephora Offer Sustainable Beauty Products?

One of these sustainable beauty products is Sephora’s very own “Clean at Sephora” line.

These products are made without the skin and hair harmful chemicals mentioned above.

This line features 10 different products, including mascara, a blush palette, and an eyeshadow palette.

The “Clean” collection also offers two types of makeup brushes: a face brush set and an eye brush set. You can even find organic lip gloss from this line!

Sephora also has eco-friendly makeup made by other brands in its store.

They have several products that are formulated with natural ingredients such as marula oil, argan oil, and aloe vera juice extract.

Additionally, the beauty retailer sells plenty of cosmetic products that are cruelty-free and gluten-free (for you or your friends who have allergies.)

Is Sephora Cruelty-free?

You’re probably wondering if Sephora is cruelty-free.

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Fortunately for you, the answer to this question is relatively simple.

Sephora does not test on animals and neither do its brand partners.

This means that all of the makeup, skincare products, hair products, and fragrances sold in their stores or on their website are cruelty-free (meaning they weren’t tested on animals).

It also means that none of these brands sell in China.

This news will come as a relief to many because oftentimes one of the biggest barriers to shopping cruelty-free is being able to easily identify the animal testing policies of various companies.

Moreover, many people enjoy shopping at Sephora because it’s a one-stop shop where you can find nearly any beauty product imaginable from various brands all in one place.

Being able to know that every single product sold there is guaranteed to be cruelty-free makes Sephora a great option for those who care about animal welfare and want to shop ethically.

What Does Sephora Do to Reduce Its Environmental Impact?

Sephora has an official sustainability strategy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, Sephora Stands.

The CSR program is broken down into three pillars: Beauty for a Better Life, For the Love of the Planet, and Empowering Beauty.

Sephora’s environmental goals are to reduce energy use at stores by 15%, reduce water use in its operations by 20%, and divert 100% of Sephora’s solid waste from landfills by 2020.

Sephora already has a number of initiatives in place that support these goals.

These include: outfitting stores with energy-saving LED lights and motion detectors; installing low flow sinks and toilets that reduce freshwater use; replacing paper receipts with customers’ emails; using recycled plastic bags; offering shoppers reusable shopping bags for purchase; recycling cardboard boxes; partnering with manufacturers to produce eco-friendly products that are easy to recycle or refillable (like perfume bottles); creating partnerships to recycle old makeup; donating expired or returned products to charities like Dress for Success, Share Your Soles, National Network for Abortion Funds, New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), One Moms World, Project Glimmer and DonorsChoose.org

How Does Sephora Help the Community?

Sephora has a program called Sephora Stands.

This program focuses on giving back to the community in various ways.

Their four main areas of focus are:

  • Empowering women through education and entrepreneurship
  • Supporting diversity in beauty and leadership
  • Building the next generation of leaders through STEM learning opportunities
  • Supporting those impacted by domestic violence
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In addition, Sephora gives customers an opportunity to donate their Beauty Insider points to charity.

At the time of this writing, customers can donate their points to Dress for Success or Girls Inc.

What Is Sephora’s Sustainability Strategy?

In 2014, Sephora made a commitment to reducing its environmental impact by 20% by 2030.

They call this commitment “Greening the Supply Chain,” and it’s divided into three parts: carbon emissions, waste reduction, and sustainable packaging.

Sephora has made some impressive strides toward its goal of improving sustainability throughout its supply chain, particularly in the area of carbon emissions reduction.

They have reduced energy use at all of their stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices around the world; they also offset remaining emissions through investments in renewable energy projects like wind farms and solar panels.

According to Sephora’s 2018 Responsibility Report, these investments decrease Sephora’s overall carbon footprint by 90%.

The company even partnered with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) to develop a standardized carbon inventory reporting methodology for cosmetic companies around the world — meaning that Sephora isn’t just working on improving its own sustainability efforts; it’s helping other companies do so as well!

How Does Sephora Create Business Value From Its Sustainability Strategies?

Sephora’s sustainability efforts are two-fold.

It has made a commitment to creating products and packaging that are environmentally friendly.

Furthermore, it supports the local community in which the company operates.

Sephora’s sustainability efforts promote eco-friendly products and packaging.

In 2020, Sephora launched Sephora Favourites Give Me More Lip Set, an eco-friendly special edition collection of lipstick and lip balm minis from its top brands.

The collection is packaged in a 100% recycled aluminum case that can later be refilled with other lipsticks or used for storage.

In addition to these efforts for sustainable product creation, Sephora also uses its own stores as “laboratories of change” by implementing initiatives such as reducing plastic waste and eliminating single-use plastics.

It adopted this dual strategy to create business value because it wants to differentiate itself through environmental stewardship while also leveraging the “eco-chic” trend of sustainable fashion in order to satisfy customer demand for ethical brands.

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Does Sephora Have a Plastic Recycling Program?

Sephora is currently working on a recycling program in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

In 2018, they started a pilot project to collect and recycle packaging in four stores in Paris.

The goal is to have a fully functioning recycling program by 2023.

How Does Sephora Use Recycled Materials?

Sephora uses recycled materials in its products and packaging. Sephora’s products contain at least 10% recycled materials.

This percentage is much higher than most other beauty brands, which don’t have a minimum requirement for the amount of recycled content used in their products.

This makes Sephora’s green-washing claims more credible because the brand actually has proof that it’s using recycled materials in its products.

Sephora also gets EcoCert certification for many of its products, which means that each product meets the EcoCert standards for recycled materials, sustainable manufacturing practices, and ethical sourcing.

Does Sephora Use Any Sustainable-certified Materials or Processes in Products or Packaging?

Sustainable-certified products:

  • Sephora Collection Luxe False Lashes, which are made from bamboo fibers;
  • tarte’s Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Concealer, which comes in a tube that’s 50% composed of PCR (post-consumer recycled plastic); and
  • Biossance’s 100% Squalane Oil contains sustainable-certified squalane (a lipid molecule that’s naturally found in the body), which is produced through a process known as biotechnology. This process involves marine life in the form of sugarcane and ingredients like algae.

Sustainable-certified packaging:

  • Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Mattifying Primer comes in a tube that’s 50% composed of PCR (post-consumer recycled plastic).
  • This means it’s manufactured with a higher percentage of already used plastic, taking pressure off our landfills. For example, this type of tube could be made by collecting plastic beverage bottles and cutting them into small pieces to be melted down and formed into new tubes for various products.

Final Thoughts

Sephora is not known for being eco-friendly, but it isn’t out of the picture just yet.

Though the brand is a major player in the beauty industry, it hasn’t done much to make itself a leader when it comes to eco-friendly initiatives.

There are some efforts for Sephora, but nothing that tops this list of makeup brands doing good. Its practices aren’t really great right now.