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Product Responsibility

As the leader in prestige beauty, we are focused on creating the world’s most beloved products. We are committed to providing consumers with exceptional performance and luxury coupled with uncompromising safety and quality. Our products are developed to ensure they meet our high standards for safety and efficacy. The process by which we bring our products to market is multifaceted, with a wide range of experts contributing their knowledge along the way—from formulation to packaging. We seek to be transparent about this process and to embed sustainability throughout our product value chain.

Product Formulation

Our innovative product formulations enable us to stay at the forefront of the prestige beauty industry. We create breakthrough, high-performing products by tapping into the deep expertise of our scientists and researchers. We strive to meet consumer preference and need by providing a broad range of products, including those geared to consumers looking for natural or vegan ingredients, formulations free of specific ingredients or specially formulated for their skin.

Over the past decade, consumer interest in beauty and personal care product ingredients has soared. Consumers want to know what is in the products they use, what purpose those ingredients serve and if they are safe. We have always believed that increased dialogue with our consumers on our product formulation benefits everyone. We furthered this commitment to transparency by establishing a goal for our brands to develop glossaries of key ingredients by the end of calendar year 2025. We invite you to explore a few of our brands’ glossaries:

Product Safety Philosophy & Process

Consumers around the world trust our brands to deliver the best beauty performance and to do so safely. The Estée Lauder Companies considers this our highest priority and work every day to deliver on that promise. We evaluate each product for safety throughout its development. We employ a sophisticated testing plan which incorporates a selection of relevant tools, including, for example, a suite of tests such as stability, sensory, safety-in-use and clinical tests, as well as ophthalmologist and dermatologist testing. Our integrated global research and development (R&D) network constantly works to advance modern, scientific cosmetic testing methodologies. To read more, visit our Ingredient and Product Safety and Testing Viewpoint.

Green Chemistry

We are proponents of green chemistry and have built a solid foundation to advance our objective of embedding green chemistry principles throughout the product-development process. We aim to integrate these principles not only into our products, but into our thinking, setting ourselves up for a future where all chemistry will be green chemistry and sustainability and product formulation go hand and hand.

At the heart of our approach is our Green Score Program, which was developed in partnership with experts from a leading university and officially launched in fiscal 2020. The program provides a quantifiable method for our formulators to benchmark and inform their formulation choices based on the principles of green chemistry, specifically through the lenses of human health, ecosystem health and the environment. All The Estée Lauder Companies active ingredients and formulas have been assigned a green score1. We have implemented robust training programs across our formulation teams on the Green Score Program.

1Excludes ingredients and formulas manufactured by Third-Party Manufacturers.

Sustainable Luxury Packaging

A product’s packaging often delivers the first High-Touch moment for our consumers, providing a sense of prestige and luxury right at their fingertips. At the same time, packaging must protect the product inside, which requires that it be sturdy and durable. Prestige packaging presents a tremendous opportunity for innovation because it plays such an important role in consumer experience. Incorporating more sustainable concepts into packaging designs is a strategic imperative, and we believe our creativity and ingenuity can help advance solutions for our brands and for the personal care and cosmetics industry at large.

Sustainable Packaging Guidelines

We are focused on reducing potential environmental impacts of a package across its lifecycle. In fiscal 2020, we launched Sustainable Packaging Guidelines for our package developers, marketers and procurement teams. The guidelines contain an overview of our approach, definitions, material selection guides and FAQs. In addition, the guidelines provide direction for design that enhances packaging sustainability. They outline our priorities, which include:

  • Reducing and removing packaging where possible
  • Designing for reuse and refillability
  • Building designed-in recyclability
  • Increasing amounts of Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) material in packaging
  • Replacing petroleum-based plastics with bioplastics (if the bioplastic can be recycled and does not contaminate the traditional recycling streams)

Reducing Plastic Use

We have developed internal plastic guidelines to help drive the reduction of virgin and nonrecyclable plastic across our business. The guidelines aim to advance our commitment to incorporate more sustainable concepts into our packaging, products, offices, retail stores and other facilities. To read more, visit our Plastics viewpoint.

Sustainable Luxury Packaging Partnerships

We approach packaging with a spirit of collaboration and innovation. We engage with companies, academia and consortiums to help further our collective understanding of sustainable packaging for the benefit of everyone involved.

Sustainable Packaging Initiative For Cosmetics (SPICE)

We are members of the Sustainable Packaging Initiative for CosmEtics (SPICE), a cohort of organizations in the cosmetics industry collectively shaping the future of sustainable packaging. Our membership allows us to maintain voting rights, ensuring we have a voice in important discussions, co-creating methodologies and tools to drive the future of sustainable packaging for cosmetics.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

We are also members of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which brings together leaders and innovators in business, governments and academia to contribute to society’s transition to a circular economy. Through our membership, ELC employees have access to a portfolio of educational trainings on the importance of shifting to a circular economy and how industry can help expedite that shift.

Association Of Plastic Recyclers (APR)

In fiscal 2020, we joined the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), the North American trade association representing companies who acquire, reprocess and sell the output of more than 90 percent of the post-consumer plastic processing capacity in North America. Becoming a member of the APR provides us access to industry experts to better understand how to design plastics for recyclability.

Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC)

We are proud to be a founding member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), which brings together businesses, educational institutions and government agencies to collectively strengthen and advance the business case for more sustainable packaging. Through the SPC, 250 of our package developers and marketing and creative designers are utilizing the online learning platform, accessing training courses on topics such as the essentials of sustainable packaging, composting, bioresin, ocean plastic and advanced recycling, which is the chemical breakdown of plastic waste into basic components to rebuild new polymers.

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