Estee Lauder Makes Progress on Sustainable Packaging Goals

Estée Lauder just released its 2021 Social Impact and Sustainability Report, which includes 2021 fiscal year updates on its packaging goals.

GOAL: Increase the amount of post-consumer recycled (PCR) material in packaging by up to 50% by the end of 2025, from a baseline of 8.7% PCR in fiscal year 2019.

PROGRESS: Estée Lauder has already exceeded this goal. As of the end of FY2021, its packaging contains 15% of PCR material.

GOAL: By the end of FY2025, 100% of forest-based fiber cartons will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

PROGRESS: In FY2021, 89% of the company’s forest-based fiber cartons were certified by the Forest (FSC), increasing from just 28% in FY2019.

In FY2021, Estée Lauder redesigned its new product launch process to weave in more sustainability. Brands now must incorporate one of the 5Rs — recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled, or recoverable — into new product packaging at the beginning of the design phase so progress can be tracked from the start.

This is for primary, secondary, and tertiary packaging, according to the report: “For example, many brands now use dissolvable packaging peanuts in their shipping boxes and have reduced the amount of paper used in mailers. In our Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, new shipping boxes are free of plastic, tape, and unnecessary paper, and branded inner boxes have been replaced with plain carton packaging that is FSC certified.”

In FY2021, and as a “first” for the prestige beauty market, Estée Lauder developed recycled tube packages for its Origins brand. The tube for the brand’s best-selling mask, Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, is made from previously-difficult-to-recycle post-consumer mixed plastics.

Aveda’s plastic packaging saw advances from a recycled content perspective. According to brand owner Estée Lauder, “80% of Aveda high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bottles use a minimum of 80% PCR content and more than 85% of Aveda’s skin care and styling PET bottles and jars contain 100% post-consumer recycled materials. In fiscal 2021, Aveda also launched a new 350 ml mono-material tube with 65% PCR content (PP plastic), which is the highest percentage we have developed to date in a mono-material tube.”

New for 2021, Estée Lauder plans to reduce the amount of virgin petroleum plastic in its packaging to 50% or less by the end of 2030. Additionally, according to the report: “We have developed internal plastic guidelines to help drive the reduction of virgin and nonrecyclable plastic in our packaging, products, offices, facilities, and retail spaces. Our guidelines include options such as pursuing more sustainable alternatives to single-use virgin plastic packaging, replacing plastic applicators used in our retail stores with paper or wood versions, reducing plastic water bottles and cutlery in our spaces, and reducing virgin and nonrecyclable plastic used in our visual merchandising.”