New Zealand’s Beauty Brands Are Setting The Standard For Sustainability

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In New Zealand, the quality of life is high, the health care is universal, and the best-selling beauty brands are environmentally conscious by default. The country's track record on climate change isn't perfect — research shows that precious few of its top 30 corporations report their contributions to or efforts to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions — but initiatives to change that are underway, beginning with the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act announced in 2019.
One look at Piha Beach or Aoraki/Mount Cook, and it's not hard to see why New Zealanders take such pride in its abundant natural resources — and want to keep it that way. "Protection of the environment and our native plants is high on our government’s agenda," says Elizabeth Barbalich, CEO and founder of cult-favorite skin-care brand Antipodes. "[New Zealand] is extremely lush, biodiverse, and rich in supply of exciting ingredients. We're therefore immersed in living and breathing a clean, green approach to nature and life."
Finding inspiration in the North Island's rolling hills and the South Island's snow-capped mountains is easy. It's committing to sustainability in all aspects — like harnessing the beauty benefits of those natural resources without exploiting them, and using packaging that won't end up part of a different kind of mountain in a landfill — that's a challenge, especially with the very definition of "sustainability" as ill-defined as "clean" or "natural."
Ahead, these five companies prove it's possible to build a beauty brand without contributing to the climate crisis. All it takes is a little innovation — and a lot less plastic.

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