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5 Beauty Brands that take CSR Seriously in India

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The Indian cosmetics and beauty products segment has been witnessing steady growth over the years. It is primarily categorized into five major categories – body care, face care, hair care, hand care and makeup. The Indian beauty and personal care industry is estimated to be worth US $28.9 billion. The swift growth of the beauty business has not only impacted Indian firms to encourage competition in the space but also encouraged foreign players to enter the market. This is good for sustainability. Beauty brands are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainability in their sourcing, packaging and supply chain as well as corporate social responsibility initiatives for social good. Let’s look at the most active players in the Indian beauty business who are taking CSR seriously.

The Body Shop

This global brand’s association with India goes back across decades. Desi fairtrade company Teddy Exports has been The Body Shop’s first Community Trade supplier since 1987 and continues till date to craft wooden massagers and organic cotton tote bags. Since 1987, Community Trade has helped Teddy Exports grow from 5 employees to 600 craftspeople from over 30 villages. This CSR initiative has helped provide vital employment and empowerment to the marginalized community including women, HIV positive patients and disabled members. Teddy Exports also supports training, education and health schemes benefiting the community holistically.
In 2019, the holistic skincare brand launched the first-ever Community Trade Recycled Plastic from Bengaluru city. The CSR initiative highlights the lesser-known, human side of the plastic crisis. Through this campaign, The Body Shop wants to fight more than plastic pollution — it wants to drive social change and help empower women at the same time. The project’s community trade partner Plastics for Change are a for-profit organisation that partners with local NGOs Hasiru Dala and Hasiru Dala Innovation (HDI) to provide Bengaluru’s waste pickers with a stable income and better opportunities. These partnerships help integrate marginalised waste workers and waste pickers into organised waste management by utilising their expertise. For HDI, their main focus is improving the livelihoods of waste pickers so that they can boost their entrepreneurial skills.
The Bio Bridges programme in Garo Hills is another key environment project. In 2017, the brand pledged to protect the endangered Indian Elephant and Western Hoolock Gibbon with this CSR project in the State of Meghalaya. The programme is part of the brand’s existing commitment to protect and regenerate 75 million square metres of habitat through Bio Bridges around the world.
Bio bridges are an innovative way to create protected corridors of biodiversity that allow the wider forest to flourish and its inhabitants to breed and thrive. In addition to protecting the environment, this project also catered to improving health and sanitation facilities for the Garo community. Poor access to medical healthcare and sanitation facilities has been a concern for the communities of Garo Hills. The Body Shop, partnering with Wildlife Trust of India, provided modern healthcare equipment at Siju and Baghmara. It extended support to upgrade the Asanang Health Centre by construction of public sanitation facilities.

Oriflame

Since its foundation in the year 1967, Oriflame has been involved in activities centred on corporate social responsibility. The brand believes that by supporting the most vulnerable in society – children and young women – they can turn dreams into reality for many. The company does all its CSR work under one umbrella – The Oriflame Foundation.
Oriflame believes that any investments made in the education of a girl, translates directly and quickly into better health care, poverty reduction and better overall economic performance of the family. Girl Child education has a wide-ranging impact on many aspects of human survival and development. Thus, ‘Oriflame Girl Child’ project is an endeavour to spread the message that a community’s development is incomplete without the education of girls. Under this project, Oriflame has sponsored education of 1,000 girls from the NGO Deepalaya in Delhi. A grant of approx. Rs. 4 crores was given to Deepalaya for the ‘Oriflame Girl Child’ project. The contribution has facilitated education of selected girls in the age bracket of 4 to 17 years.
‘Contribute Warmth’ is the brand’s campaign with NGO Goonj to emphasize the positive impact that donating can have on society. In this cause, Oriflame Employees and organisation leaders support the foundation in their mission to provide independence and dignity to people in the community.
Every child has a right to a childhood, to security, joy, playfulness and curiosity about life. Sadly, many children are devoid of these fundamental rights. The World Childhood Foundation, founded by HM Queen Silvia of Sweden and co-founded by Oriflame, helps the most marginalised children around the world. Through this foundation, the beauty brand reaches out to vulnerable street children, sexually abused children and children in institutions.

L’Oréal

The L’Oréal India For Young Women in Science (FYWIS) Scholarship programme is a countrywide CSR initiative that encourages and supports young women to pursue their careers in science. This CSR programme was instituted in 2003. A scholarship of Rs. 250,000 is awarded to each of the promising young women and covers their college fees. By providing them financial assistance to pursue scientific education, FYWIS reinforces the vocation of women in scientific disciplines. The FYWIS scholarship encourages women, who would probably otherwise discontinue their education, to purse the study in their chosen field.
The L’Oréal school at its Baddi factory, in partnership with the NGO Nirmala Niketan, provides free education to about 200 students in the age group of 6 to 14 years.
Beauty For A Better Life is another flagship CSR programme that was established by L’Oréal India in 2009. The main objective is to create livelihood opportunities for young women from disadvantaged sections of society. The programme trains them in beauty services, providing them a means to gain employment and sustenance, thereby improving their quality of life.
Beauty For A Better Life consists of two agendas; Beautician training, and Beauty Advisor (BA) training. While the former tutors and prepares women for a role in the salon industry, the latter coaches them for role in the beauty retail industry. To execute the beautician-training module, the brand collaborates with Sambhav Foundation, an organisation specialising in vocational training in beauty and hair care. The curriculum, which is developed by L’Oréal trainers, includes 2 months of classroom training followed by a mandatory 3-month internship in a professional salon, before graduating. This provides the women the opportunity and confidence to work in beauty salons or start their own enterprise. The trainings are available through eight skilling centres in seven cities across the country (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata and Gangtok).
The beauty advisor training is run in partnership with the NGO, Tata Strive. Taught by passionate beauty experts, this programme provides high quality, tuition-free training in the field of beauty advisory and subsequent placement in retail stores. In the decade that the Beauty For A Better Life programme has been running, it has trained over 8,000 women across both platforms, many of whom have been placed in the industry or have started their own homegrown beauty salons. Additionally, the programme also partners with the Directorate of Vocational Education & Training (Government of Maharashtra) for training beauty trainers from five Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) across Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

Nykaa

The e-commerce platform and beauty brand has donated to the PM Cares Fund to help relieve the suffering of millions of Indians whose health and economic security is under threat. They also encouraged customers to donate towards the fund’s efforts to enhance research, provide essentials to medical staff and build capacities for quick emergency responses. The brand matched the amount donated by customers.
P.R.I.D.E. India’s Beauty and Wellness Course creates employment opportunities for rural women, specifically girls who drop out of school. Nykaa supported P.R.I.D.E.’s initiative during the Joy Of Giving Week and donated money towards the Beauty and Wellness Course. So far, 180 women in rural areas have been trained in basic and advance beautician courses.
Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action (SNEHA) works with women and children from birth to adulthood to break the inter-generational cycle of poor health and gender-based violence. With programmes across 20 communities in greater Mumbai, these initiatives have also been scaled across Maharashtra and other states. On Women’s Day 2020, Nykaa tied up with SNEHA to make a difference to the lives of those who are of utmost importance in the world – women. The brand asked online customers to join the cause, matching every donation received toward the betterment of these women’s lives.
Unprecedented heavy rainfall in 2019 caused flooding in many parts of the country, claiming hundreds of lives. Nykaa wanted to help raise funds to give the flood-displaced a chance at a new beginning by focusing on immediate relief, food, hygiene kits, shelter and child protection. Customers were encouraged to donate to the cause and the brand matched their contributions. The 2018 floods in Kerala caused unimaginable havoc. With their customers’ support, the brand contributed to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to help the disaster afflicted. Customers were encouraged to donate to the cause when they shopped on Nykaa and we matched their contributions, helping the displaced to rebuild their lives.

Garnier

Garnier has been committed to a world against animal testing since 1989. It is one of the largest brands Cruelty Free International has ever approved under the Leaping Bunny programme. Leaping Bunny requires brands to forensically investigate their entire supply chain, including all raw material and individual ingredients, for any cases of animal testing. Approval must be given to all of a brand’s finished products – individual products or items cannot be approved in isolation. For Garnier, this was a case of securing a declaration from more than 500 suppliers, who source more than 3,000 different ingredients from across the world.
Garnier’s new initiative Green Beauty is a complete end-to-end approach to sustainability. In addition, the brand has partnered with Plastics For Change to help with the social impact of plastic pollution. Through this association, Garnier will support the holistic development of waste picker communities in India.
As part of the global initiative, the skin and hair care brand has also partnered with Ocean Conservancy, an NGO working against ocean plastic for more than 30 years. Garnier has joined Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance. The Alliance was created in 2012 and unites scientists, conservationists and the private sector to find real-life, impactful solutions to the ocean plastic crisis. This partnership will identify innovative ways to reduce/redesign plastic packaging and stop the flow of plastic pollution into the oceans.