By  on September 2, 2014

They are direct rivals, but Target and Wal-Mart on Sept. 4 are co-hosting the Beauty and Personal Care Products Sustainability Summit in Chicago.Organized by Forum for the Future, the one-day meeting of some of the best minds in sustainability is designed to establish a road map for the beauty and personal-care category. “Personal care is particularly relevant [to sustainability] because people put these products on their skin,” explained Rob Kaplan, director of product sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores. “Consumers shouldn’t have to choose between affordability and sustainability.” Kate Heiny, senior group manager of sustainability for Target Corp., emphasized how providing greener options is growing in importance across all levels, from product production to the retail shelf. “Our desire to co-host this summit comes from the want and expected leadership from our guests,” said Heiny. “Ninety-seven percent of our guests buys some natural or organic product, and that is growing.”Attendees handpicked by Forum for the Future represent a cross section of the industry, from retailers — CVS, Walgreens and Ulta — to manufacturers, including Unilever, Givaudan, L’Oréal and Estée Lauder. Members of academia, packaging companies, consumer groups, chemical producers, waste management firms and nongovernmental organizations are among the companies rounding out the list of 80 expected attendees.Among the topics to be discussed are ingredients, packaging and consumer behavior, and how to communicate advancements to shoppers. “This is really about working together to go beyond our four walls and start the conversation. Transformation is a journey — it won’t change tomorrow, but we are working toward a goal,” concluded Kaplan, whose company embarked on its own sustainability program more than 10 years ago.

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