Social sustainability

Hands holding paper cut out family

The cosmetics industry starts from a good position when considering social responsibility because it plays an essential role in everyone’s life. Each day, 450 million Europeans use a variety of cosmetic products such as

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant or antiperspirant
  • Conditioner
  • Shaving cream
  • Toothpaste
  • Skin creams or cleansers
  • Perfume
  • Make-up
  • Sun products


In a competitive and stressful world that demands vitality, energy and good health, these products not only help us maintain good hygiene, they help us maintain high levels of self-esteem.

Personal confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance are underpinned by confidence in one’s appearance. There are numerous examples of this and, in 2004, as part of a research project commissioned by The Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA) with the independent think tank, Demos, consumer polling revealed that just over half of women rated their looks as a very important factor. Since then, the CTPA has re-commissioned the poll to see what, if anything had changed. We found that the figure had risen significantly to nearly three-quarters of women* indicating that the relationship between appearance and self-esteem is becoming ever more significant.

Our strong sense of social responsibility is reflected the cosmetic industry’s worldwide initiative “Look Good Feel Better” ( This cancer support charity helps women manage the visible and emotional side effects of cancer treatment through the use of cosmetic products, boosting confidence and well-being. Workshop sessions for cancer patients are held regularly in over 60 locations throughout the UK, in hospitals and cancer care centres. The Look Good, Feel Better programme is now available in 21 countries.

A strong and competitive industry also contributes directly to the wealth of the communities in which it operates by providing employment and paying taxes. In addition, companies often encourage staff to take part in community activities, provide money to help fund local events and provide staff to take part in local or national initiatives on business or social development. These can be in areas such as education, family or culture. Business often has useful skills that contribute to the success of these programmes.


* YouGov survey among 2013 UK adults aged 18+ carried out between 1-3 April 2009