Every month, Simon Pitman (Editor, Journalist) takes a look at what’s shaken up the industry. From acquisitions to launches and everything in-between, don’t miss the latest cosmetics news, only here at in-cosmetics Connect.
Kao Corp invests $136m into digital transformation
Japanese multinational beauty player Kao has been hard hit by the pandemic, leading company executives to take the decision to invest big in a digital transformation to offset declining sales. The company says it is investing $136m to create digital tools that will enhance the competitiveness of its cosmetics division in an effort to build on the value of its current portfolio offering, improve the user experience and reach new consumers.
Company executives want to engage the many consumers who have shifted to digital shopping during the pandemic, as well as tailoring its offering to significantly changing consumer needs and a number of key new trends that have appeared as a result.
“A good example of this approach is Kate Lip Monster, a lipstick launched in April,” said President and CEO Yoshihiro Hasebe.
“By effectively communicating its features, of not discolouring easily even when a face mask is worn and long-lasting moisture by using digital marketing, we succeeded in gaining its recognition and support among consumers. As a result, the product gained a high market share.”
Last month the company announced that it was ditching physical hair dye swatches, a measure that it estimates will reduce the amount of plastic it used by 56 tonnes a year. The swathes have been replaced with an augmented reality tool that stimulates hair colours using an app created by Taiwanese tech player Perfect Corp, together with the company’s YouCam Make-up App.
Kao says the new technology takes advantage of a new development that every hair colourant product in every shade can be tested using its HK Dye Technology to show different hair colours in all types of light angles. The investment in the new digital technology is part of the company’s aim to get its sales back on track after revenues fell by more than 5% during 2020 while operating income decreased by more than 17% on a like-for-like basis.
In particular, the company’s colour cosmetics sales performed particularly poorly, slumping by more than 20% in 2020, but this was counterbalanced by an increase in skincare products, driven by hygiene and hand soap products.
The company says it is also considering divesting a number of smaller beauty and personal care brands over the course of the next two years, although it did add that this will only include brands with a profit margin of less than 15%.
L’Orêal gets a full score for the 2021 Disability Equality Index
L’Orêal has received a full 100 out of 100 for its 2021 Disability Equality Index (DEI) rating, the fourth year in a row the company has secured a perfect score.
The DEI is the result of a joint venture between Disability IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a programme that aims to create full opportunities for people with disabilities as well as specific amenities to accommodate a range of disabilities in the workplace.
“At L’Oréal USA, we have a responsibility to create an inclusive and accessible work environment where individuals with disabilities feel supported and positioned for success,” said Angela Guy, chief diversity & inclusion officer, L’Oréal USA
“As a business leader with my own disabilities, I appreciate the encouragement to generate an open dialogue across the business and ensure we are always working to foster an inclusive workplace culture among our employees.”
The DEI was launched in 2015, rating corporations according to how well they accommodate disabilities employees using a score out of 100 that has been linked to a constantly evolving index rating that has been developed by the DEI committee and a voluntary group of experts over the course of the last six years.
In 2021 319 corporations enlisted to become involved in the DEI benchmarking efforts, evaluating participants according to nine different categories.
Those categories include:
- Culture & Leadership
- Enterprise-Wide Access
- Employment Practices (Benefits, Recruitment, Employment, Education, Retention & Advancement, Accommodations)
- Community Engagement
- Supplier Diversity
- Non-U.S. Operations
For 2021, the DEI was adapted to changing workplace conditions created by the pandemic, which meant the addition of weighted questions relating to advance digital and remote accessibility, as well as mental wellness benefits and flexible work options.
“The Disability Equality Index shines a spotlight on companies that believe they have a stake in creating a more equitable society for people with disabilities,” said Maria Town, President and CEO of AAPD.
“It is a conduit for our work championing disability rights for the 60 million Americans with disabilities and knocking down barriers to employment, technology and healthcare, and we’re thrilled to see the progress being made today.”
EWG partners with Amazon on Climate Pledge Friendly list
The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) verified products have been added to Amazon’s Climate Friendly list after the two organisations struck up a new partnership. Amazon’s Climate Pledge Friendly is designed to make it easier for consumers to buy more sustainable products. It works by ensuring that brands hold at least one or more approved certification seals that are a part of the Climate Pledge Friendly programme.
Amazon launched the initiative in 2020 and to date, it already includes more than 75,000 different products that have been able to meet the criteria. The programme has been made possible through Amazon’s partnership with a number of government organisations and non-profits that are responsible for distinguishing and certifying products that do not have a negative impact on the environment, therefore making them more sustainable.
By signing up to the Climate Pledge Friendly programme, the EWG joins a number of other leading certifiers also involved in it, including Carbonfree Certified, Certified Animal Approved, Climate Neutral by ClimatePartner, Fairtrade International, Cradle to Cradle Certified, Regenerative Organic Certified, EPA Safer Choice and Compact by Design, among others.
Compact by Design is Amazon’s own certification, created to identify products that incorporate a more efficient design, which, for example, might include the removal of excess air and water, or products that have been designed to have less packaging in order to make them easier to ship.
Both Amazon and the EWG state that their sustainability efforts have been vetted by experts within both Amazon, as well as third-party consultants.
“The EWG Verified mark is recognized as the gold standard for health and transparency,” said Carla Burns, EWG’s senior director of cosmetic science.
“EWG has long verified cosmetics and other personal care products, and recently expanded into household cleaners, baby diapers and ingredients. “Because of this new EWG partnership with Amazon, more consumers will learn about the rigorous science-based criteria we’ve developed to measure a product’s impact on human health and our fragile environment,”
Amazon customers can identify products that are a part of the Climate Pledge Friendly programme by the accompanying badge or by shopping on the dedicated portal. They then simply click on the badge to find out more about the exact certifications the products have complied with and what makes them sustainable.
As well as beauty and personal care products, the programme also extends to groceries, household, fashion and personal electronic products, among others.
Read more about the multinational giants accused of not tackling the root of the plastic pollution problem.