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Sephora Unveils Two Global Sustainability Seals for Products

PARIS — Sephora unveiled two global sustainability seals on Monday at the ChangeNow summit, which is taking place in the Grand Palais Ephémère here.

The world’s leading prestige omnichannel beauty retailer lifted the veil on its “Clean at Sephora” and “Planet Aware at Sephora” seals, which will start appearing on products in April. They’re meant to harmonize and give more transparency to how the retailer communicates on formulas and environmental commitments across its worldwide markets for consumers off- and online.

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Sephora’s Guillaume Motte, president and chief executive officer; Deborah Yeh, chief marketing officer, and Priya Venkatesh, global chief merchandising officer, made the announcement.

Only one-third of Sephora’s carbon emissions come from its own operations, with the rest generated by the products it sells.

“What is it that we want to do? We believe at Sephora we are in a unique position where we can actually bring together three superpowers,” said Motte, referring to Sephora’s clients, brand partners and its own store operations. “As the global beauty leader in retail, we want to build a more responsible offer that’s working hand-in-hand with our brand partners.

“But we also want to offer more transparency for our consumers, so that they influence and can help us build a more responsible beauty industry,” he continued. “Our ambition here is to harmonize and come up with a collective and common vocabulary across all regions.”

The retailer developed the seals with external environmental and scientific experts over two years.

“We want to inspire more responsible beauty,” continued Yeh, who explained Sephora has been working on the topic since 2018. “However, we’ve done it regionally.”

The Clean at Sephora label.
The Clean at Sephora label.

The push began with a label in the U.S. “We worked with a lot of experts to come up with our own standards,” said Venkatesh. That was followed by labels in Europe in 2020, then other regions. The sustainable assortment since then has grown more than threefold at Sephora.

Consumers are helping drive the shift.

“Consumers are voting with their wallets, and they’re demanding more transparency from the beauty industry,” said Yeh. “But of course, it’s hard to navigate the beauty category. So how do they go about finding and search for products that meet their personal preferences and values?”

Thus the advent of the two seals.

“Clean at Sephora” includes brands with effective formulas that meet global regulatory standards and avoid certain ingredients. There will be 133 that make the grade at launch, such as Drunk Elephant, Fenty Skin, Gisou, Haus Labs, Ilia, Kosas, K18, Merit, Tatcha and the 7 Virtues.

To be granted the “Planet Aware at Sephora” seal, Sephora-set criteria must be met for ingredient sourcing and formulation, packaging, corporate commitments and consumer transparency. Specifically, 32 required criteria need to be obtained across those four pillars. When the seal is launched, 40 brands will carry it.

Venkatesh noted all of these brands are starting to globetrot and represent each beauty category.

So far, 39 brands have ticked the boxes for both seals. These count among them Amika, Biossance, Briogeo, By Rosie Jane, Caudalie, Glow Recipe, Saie, Skinfix and Unbottled.

The Planet Aware at Sephora label.
The Planet Aware at Sephora label.

The two seals will start appearing in North America, Europe and the U.K. in April, followed by the Middle East in May, and Brazil and Mexico in September. The rollout for China is scheduled for 2025.

Sephora hopes the seals will encourage beauty brands to make responsible choices in their product development and corporate commitments. Brand partners can use a custom-vetting tool, available in conjunction with Novi Connect, to assess their products against the two seals’ criteria.

“We believe we can play a role in building an even more responsible beauty industry,” said Motte.

ChangeNow, which hosts conferences and company stands focused on sustainability, runs through Wednesday.

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