By  on April 29, 2009

Aveda, the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s 30-year-plus environmentally friendly beauty brand, has become the first beauty division to receive a Cradle to Cradle (C2C) sustainability endorsement, a recognition that applauds a company’s efforts in developing products with a goal of eliminating waste.

Aveda received Gold C2C designation for seven products and Silver C2C designation for its packaging. The Gold certified products are: Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo and Conditioner; Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner; Aveda Men Pure-Formance Shampoo and Conditioner, and Green Science Firming Face Creme. The endorsement comes from sustainability consultancy McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC (MBDC), the firm that pioneered the concept of Cradle to Cradle design, and Hamburg, Germany-based Environmental Protection and Encouragement Agency (EPEA), its affiliate.

Aveda’s president, Dominique Conseil, said in 2002 he opened up the company’s “trade secrets and formulas” to the EPEA to get feedback from a third party authority on toxicity, ingredients and packaging. While Aveda was praised for many of its efforts, for example its reuse of box comps to make company-branded folders, not everything was agreed upon, said Conseil. EPEA objected to the company’s use of a certain ingredient used in one of Aveda’s salon color products.

Objections aside — the ingredient remains in the hair color as EPEA has recognized no natural alternative exists — Aveda is indeed the first beauty company to receive such an endorsement, and only the third company overall. (A carpet manufacturer in Vienna, Backhausen Interior Textiles, and Method home and personal care products, are the other two firms that have also received the endorsement.) Aveda does not plan to market the endorsement on its products with a seal or notification. However, shelf talkers, for example, will point out the recognition.

“We want people to buy our products for what they do,” said Conseil. “It is part of the value proposition, not the selling proposition.”

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