ChemFORWARD, a science-based, nonprofit organization, announces “Know Better, Do Better,” the first-of-its kind collaboration of industry-leading beauty companies Sephora, Ulta Beauty, Credo, Beautycounter, and The Honest Company, as well as ingredient designer Inolex and the global nonprofit organization Environmental Defense Fund. These stakeholders are banding together to promote the use of safer chemistry and improve chemical hazard data to enable informed decision making.
In the US, cosmetic chemicals are not required to have hazard (or safety) data in order to come onto the consumer market. The $91 billion U.S. cosmetics industry uses thousands of unique chemicals to create formulations and packaging for skin care, hair care and makeup products. While the cosmetics industry is ahead of several other sectors on ingredient safety testing and disclosure, data gaps still exist. ChemFORWARD found in its 2022 analysis that nearly 50% of the in-market ingredients analyzed were “unknown,” meaning chemical hazard data is minimal or not available. These data gaps create risk for brands, retailers, and consumers.
To date, much of the cosmetics industry’s focus on chemicals has been on reducing and eliminating potential concerns, which are often identified by individual brands and retailers, and added to restricted substances lists.
Christina Ross, Credo Beauty's Senior Scientist commented, "With comprehensive chemical hazard data generated by this work, Credo and our brand partners can avoid replacing one bad actor chemical with another, which is called ‘regrettable substitution.’ This holistic approach is part of Credo’s clean beauty commitment.”
Carley Klekas, Global Director of Product Sustainability at Sephora added, “Vetting potential alternative ingredients to continue to improve health, safety, and sustainability is critical for the industry. The Know Better, Do Better Collaborative will be a valuable resource and help to inform key decisions in the future so we can go further together.”
The name of the collaborative comes from the poet Maya Angelou, who said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” These industry leaders have joined together to fill priority data gaps that have been identified utilizing data analytics. They are encouraging ingredient suppliers to verify their trade name ingredients so that the companies—and their customers—can make informed, safer choices. A unique data-sharing model and digital platform enables broad access, and continuous improvement.
“Democratizing hazard data is critical for accessibility to safer, more sustainable products. This joint work supports Honest’s thoughtful formulation choices while also helping to ensure the entire industry is making more informed, science-backed decisions," added Steve Winchell, EVP Supply Chain and R&D, The Honest Company.
“Access to sound scientific safety data is a baseline responsibility for all of us in the personal care industry. ChemFORWARD’s Know Better, Do Better collaborative is a powerful accelerator to create pull through in the supply chain. Together with like minded pilot partners we’re helping fill data gaps and bring transparency of chemical safety information to the forefront for everyone,” says Lisa Gandolfi, Ph.D., VP Marketing, Inolex
ChemFORWARD’s assessments are based on leading chemical hazard assessment methodologies, including human and environmental impacts, and are conducted by certified toxicology firms.
“Clean beauty is bigger than one voice, one brand or one supply chain. We are thrilled to participate in this collaborative—an initiative that seeks to identify science-based, safer ingredient options the whole industry can leverage,” says Jennifer McPartland, Ph.D., Senior Director of Safety & Stewardship, Beautycounter.
“We believe collaboration and partnership are critical for the entire beauty industry to create a meaningful, positive legacy for our world,” said Ame Igharo, Senior Director Sustainability Strategy, Ulta Beauty. “Ulta Beauty is excited to partner with the Collaborative on this groundbreaking initiative that brings ingredient suppliers, brands and retailers together in service of safety and consistency for the entire beauty industry.”
These beauty industry leaders kicked off the Know Better Do Better collaborative in April 2023, and welcome additional like-minded ingredient suppliers, brands and retailers to join the collaboration. Please contact ChemFORWARD to learn more.
ChemFORWARD is non-profit, science-based, data trust dedicated to creating broad access to chemical hazard data and safer alternatives. ChemFORWARD's infrastructure enables rigorous assessment of ingredients and data sharing. The staff provides content expertise, data analysis, and convenes members to share learnings and identify opportunities for collective impact.