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Canadian Clean Beauty Industry Paves the Way for a Plastic-Free Future

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

A brown bottle beside a stack of soap bars with green succulent stems around

The clean beauty industry’s growing market is a reflection of changing consumer values as the demand for natural ingredients and sustainable brand ethics increases. With 46% of consumers looking for brands to take the lead on creating change, more companies have aligned their operations with emerging standards to incorporate environmentally-responsible practices.

Within the global green beauty market, Canadian brands are leading the way in implementing sustainability through:

Bird's eye view of gloved hands using a mortar and pestle, with other ingredienrs and containers around

Creating their own path in the clean beauty landscape, companies like Newfoundland and Labrador’s East Coast Glow and Vancouver’s Satya Organic have embraced a commitment to exclusively using all-natural and certified organic ingredients. East Coast Glow makes sustainable, plant-based skincare by hand-foraging and harvesting wild, seasonal ingredients, including iceberg water. As well, Indigenous-owned Satya Organic only uses 5 USDA Organic Certified plant-based ingredients for their fragrance-free formula.

As we approach Plastic-Free July, a global movement to reduce plastic waste, let's explore how homegrown brands are driving change, making a positive impact and championing corporate social responsibility across the globe.

1. Environmentally-responsible manufacturing processes

Eco-conscious brands recognize the importance of reducing their environmental impact through innovative solutions in their operations including production, sourcing, and shipping strategies. In manufacturing, key elements include:

  • adopting energy-efficient technology

  • implementing waste reduction efforts

  • inventive resource management

Vancouver’s Sappho New Paradigm takes it a step further by manufacturing a significant portion of its products in a zero-carbon footprint facility.

Green EV car charging logo painted on the road

In the shipping process, sustainable practices aim to optimize logistics, reduce fuel consumption, and incorporate alternative energy sources, including electric/hybrid vehicles and route optimization. As a respected leader in Canadian clean beauty, Toronto’s Graydon Skincare ensures carbon-neutral deliveries by calculating shipping emissions and employing high-quality carbon removal methods. These brands not only deliver exceptional products but also set an example for others in the industry, pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in reducing their ecological footprint.

2. Ethical sourcing of natural ingredients

Organic and ethically sourced products now represent about 40% of the Canadian skincare market due to a higher demand for natural, organic, and cruelty-free cosmetic products. As a fundamental pillar of clean beauty, companies understand the importance of sourcing natural ingredients and actively supporting fair trade practices. This commitment resonates with consumers, with 89% wanting more transparency and 81% looking to understand the source of their product ingredients.

Organic and ethically sourced products now represent about 40% of the Canadian skincare market.

Manitoba-based Pure Anada embodies this ethos by:

Bird's eye view: 2 rows of different natural infredients in round bowls
  • carefully researching supply chains

  • utilizing ethically sourced ingredients from around the world

  • producing natural, clean formulas

  • working with a women's co-op in West Africa for their shea butter

  • collaborating with a Mica supplier in India

  • ensuring child labour-free mining practices

With their focus on partnering with local communities and sustainable suppliers, they ensure transparency in their ingredients and uphold the welfare of workers, providing effective and safe products while setting a positive example in promoting well-being and environmental health.

3. Conscious packaging choices

Another area of focus is prioritizing greener packaging choices and plastic-free alternatives by utilizing recyclable and biodegradable materials. Every year, the global cosmetics industry produces an estimated 120 billion units of packaging, most of which are not recyclable. Through innovative solutions like refillable containers and compostable materials, planet-first brands strive to reduce single-use plastics and promote a circular economy.

Glass and natural wood containers

With 77% of Canadians considering environmentally-friendly packaging as an important factor in their purchasing decisions, clean beauty brands lead by example, inspiring consumers to make more sustainable choices, and ensuring that their packaging is as sustainable as the products inside.

Every year, the global cosmetics industry produces an estimated 120 billion units of packaging, most of which are not recyclable.

Companies like Kitchener’s Cocoon Apothecary and Montreal’s BKind set the standard for sustainable packaging practices, inspiring other sectors to adopt similar approaches. Cocoon Apothecary has implemented a bottle return program that promotes closed-loop packaging. Through this program, empty bottles are returned and reused, while pumps are sent to recycling partners PACT and TerraCycle, where they are transformed into other useful materials.

A row of 7 bottles with a year and bottles returned on each, from 2016-2022

Similarly, BKind’s commitment to sustainability includes the use of:

  • recycled ocean-bound plastic in some of its tubes and bottles

  • biodegradable materials for shipping

  • 100% recyclable packaging

  • and offering bulk purchases or package-free options for shoppers

Another notable brand, Toronto’s Nudestix, creates minimalist and multi-purpose makeup. Their Save-a-Tin program encourages customers to refill, reduce, and recycle used packaging responsibly with a postage-paid bag sent to a recycling facility. Additionally, their Nudeskin line features eco-friendly packaging, including biodegradable cartons and recycled tubes. These initiatives not only demonstrate the brands' dedication to sustainability but also inspire consumers to actively contribute to a greener future for the beauty industry and the planet.

4. Collaboration with environmental companies

Environmental certifications and partnerships with planet-first organizations are powerful ways for clean beauty brands to amplify their corporate social responsibility efforts, enhancing the collective impact and accelerating positive change. It also demonstrates a brand's dedication to meeting rigorous standards and upholding environmentally responsible practices through a multi-step verification process.

B Corp logo

Certifications like Ecocert, Leaping Bunny, or BCorp provide consumers with confidence that the products have met stringent criteria in terms of environmental impact, animal welfare, and organic sourcing. Collaboration with environmental companies validates the brand's sustainability efforts and allows them to continuously improve their practices based on expert guidance, valuable resources and industry benchmarks.

PUUR Ingrid from Alberta has obtained certifications from four of the most important gold standards for personal care including:

CertClean logo
  • CertClean - ensures that the products do not contain any ingredients that may pose a risk to the body

  • Leaping Bunny and PETA Vegan - guarantee that no animal testing was conducted in any phase of development

  • EWG VERIFIED™ - Environmental Working Group recognizes products that meet their strictest health standards, which means full transparency and no chemical concerns

Graydon Skincare, on the other hand, has partnered with:

Ocean Legacy logo
  • Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF) - a globally-recognized, non-profit organization based in British Columbia, committed to ending ocean plastic waste

  • Ecologi - a climate-positive environmental organization that funds responsible tree planting and carbon offsetting projects, while supporting local communities and employing local workers

This allows them to make meaningful contributions to reducing ocean plastic waste and supporting responsible tree planting. These partnerships help brands gain valuable expertise and resources to further enhance their sustainability practices, going beyond their own operations and extending to the broader community.

Hands refilling a glass jar from a larger pump container

The clean beauty industry is undergoing a remarkable and transformative shift, driven by evolving consumer values and growing demand for natural ingredients, and sustainable brand ethics. This shift is driving Canadian brands across the nation to adopt innovative approaches and integrate eco-friendly practices throughout their operations and beyond, empowering local communities and driving positive change on a worldwide scale while supporting programs that enhance collective impact.

Through their innovative approaches, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and collaborative efforts, Canadian clean beauty brands are not only reshaping the industry but also setting an inspiring example for the global beauty market - paving the way for a greener and more responsible industry.

Ready to join the movement this Plastic-Free July? Check out our Shop and Services to support local businesses that champion sustainable practices. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram @goodearthgifting, and TikTok to learn more!

Each company we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our team. Should you make a purchase from the included links, we may earn a small commission.


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