AI-powered solutions could enhance sustainability in the beauty industry

AI powered solutions could enhance sustainability in the beauty industry

Sustainability has become a crucial aspect of product development in beauty, but the cosmetics industry faces significant challenges in addressing environmental impact from the design phase. As a result, some tech companies have developed artificial intelligence (AI) backed solutions to navigate the design process.

We spoke to Neil D’Souza, CEO and Founder of Makersite, an AI-powered platform to support manufacturers in “integrating multiple data sources to deliver analytics on compliance, EPDs, PCFs, scope 1,2 & 3, forecasts & should-costs,” according to the company’s website. D’Souza’s insights underscored the importance of early-stage sustainable solutions, highlighting how “the increasing complexity of modern products makes it hard to ensure transparent and sustainable operations throughout the supply chain.”

The importance of sustainable design

“With over 90% of a cosmetic product’s environmental impact determined by design and the materials it’s made from, the only way for personal care and cosmetics companies to address sustainability is to change how products are made,” shared D’Souza. He explained that many manufacturers struggle to weigh the implications of design and purchase decisions early on, leading to sustainability challenges that affect product development, profitability, and time to market.

Increasing sustainability regulations in North America and Europe, such as the EU Green Deal initiative and the Packaged Product Waste Regulations (PPWR), have increased pressure on manufacturers. These regulations promote waste collection, processing, recycling, and enhancing environmental product and packaging design.

D’Souza noted, “It is important that manufacturers adopt sustainable solutions for their products in the early stages to create a better pathway for optimized design and circularity going forward.”

Makersite’s approach to sustainability

Makersite’s technology utilizes AI in a platform that combines insights from various databases to offer a detailed view of global supply chains. The database includes over 36,000 industrial processes, 600,000 environmental impacts, and 100,000 materials and properties.

According to D’Souza, “Our solution enables product designers and engineers to find the most profitable trade-offs between recycled content, recyclability, and circularity in a matter of hours.” This efficiency aims to bring more sustainable and profitable products to the market faster, reducing the need for manual life cycle assessment (LCA) models.

The platform also enables supply chain transparency, crucial for achieving sustainability objectives in the personal care sector. Makersite’s platform aims to integrate transparency into supply chains and identify sustainable alternatives when needed.

Additionally, Makersite utilizes curated data sources verified by third parties to ensure accuracy and reliability. “Our fully transparent models continuously improve in terms of quality,” noted D’Souza. He further emphasized the necessity of reliable, audit-proof systems, and stated that “solutions like Makersite automate processes, freeing time for more difficult tasks.”

Use case studies & future developments

Lush, which aims to become “carbon neutral, climate positive” by 2030, currently uses Makersite’s platform to manage the company’s sustainability efforts. “Our platform provides precise, high-resolution data insights on their current impact across all raw materials, processes, and products,” shared D’Souza.

This visibility helps large-scale personal care companies like Lush make more sustainable design choices and understand their supply chains more deeply.

On a smaller scale, an example of Makersite’s application is seen with indie beauty brand Cosnova, which mapped its entire supply chain in two days to create a baseline for monitoring future improvements. Makersite is continuously evolving to meet the needs of cosmetics and personal care product companies across the industry, integrating AI to analyze more data and provide greater transparency.

For example D’Souza illustrated, “our AI-enabled Ecodesign Dashboard helps product designers make smarter design decisions considering environmental impacts and cost optimization.”

Advice for cosmetics & personal care companies

D’Souza advised cosmetics companies to examine their entire product portfolio when developing in-house capacities for leading sustainability initiatives. “It’s crucial to hire and/or develop a capacity in-house that leads this activity, given it’s not the same as corporate sustainable responsibility (CSR),” he concluded.

As the industry evolves, companies adopting these technologies will be better positioned to lead in sustainable product development.         

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