ABIC Shares Stance on Sustainability

The Aesthetic and Beauty Industry Council has always been committed to the continued education and improvement of our industry. It strongly believes that sustainability, and implementing eco friendly protocols within businesses, is a big part of this. ABIC CEO Stefanie Milla chats to Anita Quade about the importance of sustainability.

Sustainability has been growing in prevalence within the beauty, hair and aesthetics sectors for the past several years. This may be attributed not only to the fact that we are beginning to recognise just how much waste we produce collectively, but because we understand that many consumers are now actively searching for more environmentally conscious brands and businesses. So, why is it so important that we continue to grow our knowledge and support of sustainability within our businesses, and what can we do to become a part of this movement?

Beauty produces a LOT of waste

“Hundreds of billions of units of packaging are produced annually on a global scale, and this contributes significantly to continued deforestation. A recent Victorian Government report demonstrated that Australia alone is responsible for more than 78 million tonnes of waste per year. Excess waste and pollution can wreak devastating havoc on our environment, our wildlife, and as we have witnessed first-hand recently – on our weather, resulting in flooding and bushfires that decimated thousands of homes and businesses. Consider how much waste we are producing in hair and beauty businesses. We not only have our plastic product bottles, but our disposable hair nets, headbands, cotton tips, fibrella, cotton pads, spatulas, wax strips, bed roll, gloves, foils, plastic wrap – the list goes on. This adds up FAST, and while there are several excellent waste management programs dedicated to our industry, that are still very much under-utilised.”

Never underestimate your power

“The statistics around waste and the consequences we are being presented can leave us feeling as though the sustainability problem is too big, too overwhelming, an absolute mammoth that no recycling of cotton pads or bed rolls could resolve. But the reality is that no change is insignificant – individuals and small businesses are capable of making tangible change.

Here’s a great example – in 1997, just 1.5 million tonnes of waste was recycled in Australia. In 2019, that number has now grown dramatically to more than 31 million tonnes, due in large part to the dedication and hard work by Australian businesses. If many individuals and businesses unite to collectively make small, sustained changes, they really do add up.

It is also about so much more than just the direct outcomes of recycling. While they may seem like ‘just a few bottles’, it is often
the effort behind the action itself that can make the most powerful difference. It’s the psychological theory of the ‘lone nut’ – just that one lonely person that decides to take action and do something a bit out of the ordinary. And then comes ‘the first follower.’ This person also takes a risk by following their lone leader in their unique actions, making themselves vulnerable in order to also go against the grain. However, it takes the lone nut and the first follower to inspire a movement. One by one, a third person joins, and then a fourth, and then a fifth, and eventually a crown. This can take time, but every individual who joins the fold will inspire more to follow. So, even when the results of your actions alone are small, the act of doing them can inspire others to join you and make those results HUGE.”

The Aesthetic and Beauty Industry Council has always been committed to the continued education and improvement of the beauty industry.

What you can do to help

“Sustainability is one of the core values of The Aesthetic and Beauty Industry Council. We have made it our mission to partner with organisations, companies and brands that embrace high sustainability standards and are leading by example in this arena. As a result, ABIC can then provide better guidance for those in the industry wishing to make earth-saving changes. These partners inspire us all to do more, for the betterment of our industry and our planet.”

Recycling programs

“Already partners both with Professional Beauty and ABIC, Sustainable Salons have been pioneers in salon recycling since their inception, in an effort to reduce the millions of kilograms of annual waste created by salons in Australia. For those who aren’t yet familiar, the SS team implements plans to sort, collect and responsibly recycle (or consciously dispose of ) your salon waste. For your membership fee, they provide a selection of coloured bins and train your team on how to use them to dispose of various materials. They then come to your salon to collect the waste from your bins, transporting them on for correct allocation. Many participating salons choose to pass this membership cost onto their clients in the form of a $2 sustainability fee per visit, which most clients are happy to pay in order to contribute to the greater good of our planet.”

Make online orders eco friendly

“Do you sell online? How much plastic and/or non-recyclable materials do you use in the process? There are so many wonderful options available now, from recycled tissue paper and paper bubble wrap, to non-plastic stickers. Companies like Hero Packaging and Heaps Good Packaging offer compostable mailers that break down in landfill or can be popped into a garden bed or worm farm. And if you invest in a label printer, you can sign up for an Australia post account, pay for the postage online via your account, and print out the label generated on compostable label stickers before attaching them to your online orders.”

ABIC’s New ECO solution

“It can be really difficult to implement these changes into your business, either because of a lack of resources, or a lack of time action them all. This is why ABIC has been working hard to develop their new ECO initiative. Set to launch within the next 12 months, this is a first of its kind sustainability initiative that will provide everything that a salon or clinic needs to become environmentally responsible and sustainable, all in the one location. Through ABIC ECO every Australian salon and clinic will have the ability to gain access to fast and easy guidance on the implementation of sustainability protocols; from staff training to a directory of trusted and vetted ABIC ECO sustainable partner businesses and organisations.”

This article is sponsored by ABIC.
This article originally appeared in the May-June 2022 issue of Professional Beauty.

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