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Sephora doesn't explicitly make universal claims about being a sustainable company. However, they do highly tout their natural line of products and their customer base does seem to highly overlap with the people that support the greening of consumer products. Here's a short piece I wrote about it: "Later this week I'll publish a post about advertising and government regulation. One of the more interesting discussions in that space is that cosmetic products are treated as the runt by the Food & Drug Administration and other US government agencies; although we use such products all over our bodies, cosmetics are poorly regulated when it comes to regulating "chemicals of concern." Numerous animal studies document their adverse impacts on developmental, metabolic, reproductive and other bodily systems. Many are environmentally persistent as well as bioaccumulative—meaning that they can build up in fat tissue. They also have been identified as endocrine disruptors. Some PBDES may potentially cause cancer. Of course human health is only one part of the equation. Material and energy use are two major greenhouse gas contributors, and are big factors in the our increasingly dominant online shopping culture. New research by The Institution of Engineering and Technology at Newcastle University in Britain shows online shoppers must order more than 25 items to have any less impact on the environment than traditional shopping due to resources required for shipping and handling. Really? 25 items? Wow. So why in the world is it necessary to use so much packaging (think about: volume of waste, even if said waste is recycled; amount of energy used to produce packaging; amount of energy to transport an oversized box)? This is even more alarming when it comes from a company such as Sephora that brands itself as a leader in the natural and organic products space (and fantastic products at that). Admittedly, human health and environmental health aren't the same thing, and I'm not going to try to convince you to care about the latter. But regardless of your position, you have to agree with this: Why should you have to take out the garbage and recycling four times more often than necessary? And more important, who wants to pay to haul four times as much waste? I'll continue to support Sephora and the numerous online retailers that I frequent. But I'll think twice before making an order for a single item, and I'll be sure to encourage retailers to use less packaging next time I get one of those customer surveys.


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