MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s beauty industry and the Environment Ministry — Semarnat — have teamed to promote sustainable manufacturing and consumer practices as Latin America’s second-largest industry looks to boost sales with socially conscious shoppers.

The move is part of Semarnat’s Special Sustainable Production Program to build a more environmentally friendly economy in Mexico, which is leading the region’s climate change battle.

The scheme will see top industry lobby Canipec and personal- and home-care trade group A.C. collaborate with Semarnat on a number of initiatives to increase recycling, save water and educate consumers about sustainable products.

To kickstart the program, Canipec will launch to help Mexicans make better informed home-care and cosmetic-product purchases.

“We want to teach consumers to read labels and understand how products work, how to use them safely and correctly to gain the most from them,” said Canipec spokeswoman Giselle Segovia.

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She added Canipec is exploring a number of strategies to cut and recycle manufacturing waste and residues, introduce more eco-friendly packaging and cut the sector’s CO2 footprint. It hopes to replicate internationally successful consumer and environmental sustainability projects to bring best practices to Mexico. In turn, Semarnat hopes the “special program” will help firms make better use of natural resources to help fight global warming.

Segovia would not say how much the industry has invested in sustainability but boasted a number of companies are making the practice “part of their social and economic DNA.”

One such firm is Unilever, which is working to run its Cuernavaca personal-care factory outside Mexico City with wind power. The plant is equipped with waste residue and water recycling units, according to skin-care line manager Didier Chanove.

“We have various environmental and social sustainability projects,” he said.

Chanove added Mexico was also one of the first countries to launch a 100 percent recyclable can for Unilever’s Axe deodorant brand.

Asked how beauty firms operating in Mexico, the bulk of which are foreign, will benefit from the trend, Chanove said “there is no immediate tangible benefit, but more of a long-term gain” in reputation and, eventually, sales.

He said the government could be doing more to drive companies into the sustainability game, including introducing fiscal benefits in common with some countries.

Retail must also be developed.

“Consumers are willing to buy products that support the planet,” Chanove said. “However, we need to see more of these products at the point of sale in Mexico, special sections like we have for organics or other categories, for sales to begin rising.”

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