Some of the most popular beauty brands and companies have a long-standing history of unethical product sourcing along with transparency of the ingredients that go into their beauty products. Thanks to technology a shift is happening in the way consumers shop and also for what they look for when voting with their dollar. Rising ethical consumerism and the need for resource efficiency are making cosmetic companies – small, independent firms to global giants – take steps towards sustainable development. Environmental, ethical and sustainability initiatives are all taken into account when examining the ethical sourcing of a product. Awareness has increased due to the Internet, forcing companies to become transparent in order to stay in the running. “Consumers read ingredients or notice if packaging is not recyclable and they will call brands out on it, (source).” First let’s define ethical sourcing:
Ethical Sourcing: is the process of ensuring the raw products being sourced are done so in a responsible and sustainable way. The workers involved in making the raw goods are safe, treated fairly and the environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration during the actual sourcing process.
This has become increasingly important “as the wellness trend continues, we’re increasingly aware of what we’re putting on our faces, as well as into our bodies, and there is greater demand for ethically-made cosmetics than ever before, (source).” This demand from consumers has translated into “a growing number of cosmetic companies are implementing ethical sourcing programs, especially if they are getting raw materials from developing countries, (source).” There are many ways to be “ethical” as a beauty brand: from using organic- and non-animal-derived (vegan) ingredients, to not distributing products in China (where it’s a legal requirement for imported cosmetics to be tested on animals), and even creating solid beauty products to avoid wasting water.
There is still room for improvement as few have gone further and invested in equitable customer-supplier relationships and social investment. “The one area that needs most attention is the economic impact: indeed, not many companies could respond to the question: “how is your company having a sustainable economic impact?”, (source).” Economics with profits are too often put hand in hand and these areas don’t bond well with sustainability. However, there are many ways companies can address their economic impacts with a great example being how you can share wealth creation with stake-holders – and not just share-holders.
Here at designHouse, we have a strict policy and strict buying guidelines for the beauty products that we bring in to sell or use on our clients. This attention to sustainability and ethical sourcing means we look for companies that pay attention to the raw sourcing of ingredients and are invested in those people’s lives. In our opinion ethical sourcing really matters and as consumers we have a responsibly to be aware of the products we’re buying and also hold the companies we trust accountable for their business practices. Contact us at or pop by designHouse for a full array of ethically sourced ingredients and beauty products!