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Is Love Beauty and Planet Greenwashing?

Love Beauty and Planet has become a well-known personal hygiene brand. It is loved for its natural formula and sustainable ethics. It has created an almost cult-like following because of this. However, what if they aren’t telling their consumers everything? Could Love Beauty and Planet not be very natural or sustainable? Could they be greenwashing? (Greenwashing is a type of marketing that uses sustainable and green marketing, words, and images to deceive consumers into0 thinking the brand or product is environmentally friends, when it isn’t). Or is the brand and company as earth-friendly as they sound? We shall do our investigation focusing on the shampoo and conditioner (the brand is most known for their hair products), and the brand.

               With a quick look over the bottle we can see that it has an attractive floral pattern, showing off the earth’s beauty. On the front of the shampoo and conditioner bottles, it reads “sulfate-free” and also has a shortlist of natural ingredients. The bottles are also made from some recycled plastics and are recyclable!

               To learn about the brand, I decided to check out their website. Love Beauty and Planet says on their website, they have a goal for net-zero emissions and 100% biodegradable ingredients by 2030. They also have a list of sustainable achievements including 195,000 products donated and about 8 million plastic bottles kept from the ocean. The brand even has a grant fund to give to high-achieving students with a desire and ideas to impact the planet! The website also includes a list of natural ingredients that are used in a variety of their products. Also, a list of fragrances that are said to be ethically sourced. Love Beauty and Planet brand is certified vegan and cruelty-free.

               So far so good! The brand gives to people, has proper certification, has some data, and goals I can get behind. However, I am not yet convinced. Taking what I have learned from my sustainability college classes and from some research, I continue to dig. I must say, I do find some disappointing information.

So where do they go wrong?

Their claims

Love Beauty and Planet claim to have natural and organic ingredients, but they do not have an organic certification. So, sadly I can not fully believe this claim as the brand lacks backup, support, and evidence. Love Beauty and Plant also claim to have “100% recycled and recyclable bottles.” This is found many times on their website, however, it is misleading. If you go to the website and look under the “Our packaging story section,” it reads “while most of our bottles are post-consumer recycled, a handful of our plastics aren’t.” Sadly, there is more. They claim to promote fair-wage jobs and ethical sourcing, but they lack a fair-trade certificate. Love Beauty and Planet does not explain it much further. They have claimed and promised their consumers that they will track and publish their greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water footprint but they do not go into much detail on the report. While reading over the report (which can be found through Love Beauty and Planets website) I found on page 7, they say that they are unsure of what their current footprint is. That does not sound like the trusting words of a brand that promised consumers transparency. To add to this, Love Beauty and Planet’s “certified sustainable sources” does not refer to themselves or all the places they get ingredients from. It only refers to their fragrance partner, Givaudan. Love Beauty and Planet only buy some ingredients from them. This means About 1% of Love Beauty and Planet’s product composition “is from sustainable and fair-trade sources.”

Their Ingredients

               Love Beauty and Planet uses some harmful perfumes that can cause health problems. To see a full list of the problems they can cause, I suggest downloading the Think Dirty app onto your phone and looking up the brand. Some of the health problems listed are allergic reactions, possible carcinogens, and respiratory irritation. The brand also does not have as many natural ingredients as advertised. It actually consists of many chemicals. You can check the labels to see. If you are in the severity of the chemicals on your body, I suggest clicking this link.

Their Parent Company

               Love Beauty and Planet is owned by Unilever. Unilever is known for being unsustainable and unethical. Unilever tests on animals and is one of the largest contributors of plastic waste. They are “estimated to produce 70,000 tons of pollution per year.” But that is not where their bad actions end. “The Indian subsidiary of Unilever, dumped toxic mercury waste in Kodaikanal, India.” This action resulted in the death of many people, including workers, women, and children. Unilever is also a huge user and supporter of the palm oil industry. This industry is well known for causing deforestation and forced labor.

               Why should we care about the parent company? Well buying Love Beauty and Planet indirectly benefits the parent company. It keeps them running and gives them profit. Without even knowing it, consumers are supporting the actions of this company.

The Verdict: Love Beauty and Planet does Greenwash

                Sadly, Love Beauty and Planet is not as green as they appear and advertise. Many of their claims are misleading and they contradict some of their goals. Also, buying Love Beauty and Planet indirectly supports and profits their unethical parent company.

               3 Pillars of Sustainability (Where Love Beauty and Planets unsustainable actions fall).

  1. Social Impacts: Chemicals and ingredients that are harmful to people which can hurt the health of many. Love Beauty and Planet does not have a fair-trade certification and their parent company has been involved with the unethical treatment of people/workers.
  2. Environment Impacts: Do not use many natural ingredients and instead uses chemicals that can cause harms to our ecosystem. Parent company creates a lot of pollution and also contributes to deforestation with their use of palm oil.
  3. Economic Impacts: Greenwashing could cost Love Beauty and Planet a lot of money due to loss of brand loyalty and consumers feeling lied to. Could also result in lawsuits.
Amanda Fiucci

Coastal Carolina '23

Amanda is a communication major with a concentration in interactive, multimedia journalism. She is also minoring in photography and getting a certificate in sustainability from Coastal Carolina University. She is the assistant editor of TEMPO magazine and is involved in many clubs and organizations around campus. She loves the outdoors, arts, writing, reading, and interacting with many people.
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