Being a responsible consumer is something that I’ve always been passionate about. In an ideal world, if you could choose between two products that were equal in quality and price, you would almost always choose the product that aligns it’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) to your values. This would entice brands to become more competitive by launching CSR initiatives resulting in more good done by more companies. The reality of it is that not all consumers choose their products with CSR in mind; however, responsible consumerism is a rising trend and it’s where consumers have a real superpower: the power to vote with their dollars.
Voting with dollars is gives consumers a say in what future consumer business looks like. If consumers were to disproportionately prefer brands with CSR over brands without, then more brands would be motivated to launch CSR campaigns.
I went through the full list of Sephora brands to find out which brands (sold online and in-store) go above and beyond to improve the world in some way. Brands on this list need to contribute a portion of their profits (not their COGS) to a charitable, humanitarian, or environmental cause as of April 2020.
What this list isn’t:
This list won’t highlight brands that are only vegan, clean, or cruelty-free if they don’t have another CSR initiative. Why? The vegan/cruelty-free thing has been around for a while. Furthermore, being vegan and cruelty-free doesn’t always mean that the brand is contributing a portion of their profits to CSR initiatives. This list also won’t include brands that say they go above and beyond to ensure their manufacturing process is safe and humane because, in my opinion, brands should already follow basic business conduct ethics and human rights guidelines. And lastly, this list is not going to include Sephora-sold brands that sell primarily appliances, fragrances, hair care, makeup brushes, or skincare. If it’s on this list, you have to be able to see the product on your face!
Let’s get started:
Aether Beauty donates 1% of their sales to environmental conservation initiatives. Previously, they have partnered with The Water Project, The Rainforest Foundation, and The Surfrider Foundation. Their packaging is also 100% recyclable, which is why you won’t find any mirrors or magnets in their packaging. This brand is clean, completely vegan, and big on sustainability.
Armani Beauty has two programs of interest. The first program is “Acqua for Life” which has provided 195,000 people access to safe, clean drinking water. In total, Armani Beauty has invested €7.7 million into the initiative and partnered with Unicef, WaterAid, and Green Cross to bring water to build over 365 water systems. The second program is “Solidarity Sourcing” which economically supports farming communities. Some of their ingredients sourced through this program are Madagascan vanilla, Guatemalan patchouli, and Brazilian mandarin.
bareMinerals has The Power of Good Fund which donates 1% of all sales to the Hopewell Fund, a fund that empowers women through education, mentorship, and entrepreneurialism. They have partnered with Girl Rising, Step Up, and Grameen America to make this happen. Following their slogan, “Full of what’s good, free of what’s fake”, this brand is clean and doesn’t make their products with any ugly chemicals. They are also cruelty-free.
blinc supports the following organizations: American Cancer Society, Children International, CARE, Doctors without borders, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Environmental Defense, and the Florence Fuller Foundation. All of their products are cruelty-free, and some of their make up is vegan.
Bobbi Brown has the Pretty Powerful Fund that advocates for women’s gender equality. This year, in 2020, they have partnered with She’s the First, a global organization that is fighting for a more gender-equal world and is dedicated to ensuring that every girl is educated, respected and heard.
Charlotte Tilbury pledged £1 million to the charity Women for Women International in 2019. The charity is dedicated to helping female survivors of war rebuild their lives. The year prior, in 2018, 15% of all sales on CharlotteTilbury.com were donated to Women for Women International.
Fenty Beauty‘s founder, Rihanna, set up the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012 in her grandparents names, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The foundation supports and funds education, health, and emergency response programs around the world. If you buy certain products, like the CLF Makeup Case, or the CLF Edition Killawatt Highlighter, 100% of revenues from that purchase goes to the foundation.
Hourglass Cosmetics donates 1% of hourglasscosmetics.com profits to the Nonhuman Rights Project, an organization that supports animal rights. Hourglass Cosmetics is a cruelty-free brand, and they’ve pledged to be completely vegan by 2020.
IT Cosmetics has an active partnership with The American Cancer Society’s Look Good Feel Better program that exists to help women face the effects of cancer with confidence. For every Brow Power pencil and Love Beauty Fully brush sold, they donate one to Look Good Feel Better.
Josie Maran has a partnership with Terracycle where you can send your empties to Terracycle for free. Each pound of waste you recycle will give you 100 points to donate to non-profit organizations of your choice.
Kat Von D Vegan Beauty‘s pro membership program donates $1 from every pro order to an animal rights charity. And, as the name says, Kat Von D’s line is 100% vegan.
lilah b. says that you can email the address, firstname.lastname@example.org to get a pre-paid shipping label that will let you send your empties back to the company. Once they arrive, lilah b. will work with their partners to recycle your empties.
Lise Watier has a the Lise Watier Foundation which helps Canadian women in vulnerable social or economic situations to achieve sustainable financial independence through their Let’s Start Up program. The program helps women who want to start their own business, pursue post-secondary education, and/or return to the workplace. In 2019, Lise Watier donated $126,988 to its foundation.
M.A.C. Cosmetics created the VIVA GLAM Fund and now all revenue earned from Viva Glam products is donated to causes that support women, LGBTQ, and the previous M.A.C AIDS Fund. Since it’s inception, the fund, formerly called the M.A.C. AIDS Fund, has raised over $450 million for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Sephora Collection – Yes!! Sephora’s own in-house brand has some feel-good vibes built into their products. Sephora’s CSR movement is called Sephora Stands and they donate make-up classes for confidence, sustainability, and inclusion, to name a few. They also have given $150,000 each to the Centre for Urban Families, National CARES Mentoring Movement, National Black Justice Coalition, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, NAACP. An additional $200,000 will be donated to up to 44 organizations that are to be nominated by their store teams.
Tarte looks for ways they can support the communities where they source their ingredients. They have a partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy that aids conservation efforts for local sea turtle populations. Any purchase from the Rainforest of the Sea collection supports the Sea Turtle Conservancy. The brand has also created #kissandmakeup, a cyberbully prevention campaign. In the past, Tarte has contributed to Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, and Step Up. They are also cruelty-free and gluten-free.
Not only does Sephora carry some amazing brands with great CSR, but Sephora is also being as sustainable as they can in balancing the needs of their balance sheets and the needs of their employees and distribution networks throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Sephora remains open for online orders while their North American stores are closed temporarily. Their April 6, 2020 update reads:
“During this difficult time of extended store closures, we are committed to driving the business forward as one SEPHORA team. During this challenging time, we are committed to protecting as many jobs in Canada as possible and have not made any layoffs in Canada. All corporate and store employees will temporarily receive 80% of their base pay, but will continue to receive 100 per cent of their existing benefits until late May or until stores reopen, whichever happens sooner. Canadian corporate employees will work a reduced work schedule of 32 hours per week during this period. In addition, we have also increased wages for all members of our third-party distribution team by $2 per hour until late May, an acknowledgement of their extraordinary efforts and dedication to our beauty community. With a strong future in mind, and an unwavering commitment to our people, we believe our decisions now will help ensure we are able to reopen our doors when that time comes.”
Without further ado, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your socially responsible online shopping!