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Garnier survey showed 90% Indians want to be more sustainable: Zeenia Bastani

Findings indicate that 2020 was a significant wakeup call for many to protect our planet.

MUMBAI: With the world waking up to new realities amid the onslaught of the pandemic, the year gone by seems to have accelerated the agenda for a greener and cleaner Earth. Sustainable living and environment-friendly actions are top of the agenda for brands and consumers alike across the globe. A Garnier commissioned international survey found that a substantial proportion of global consumers expect brands to facilitate this.

Recently, the global beauty brand launched its transformative Green Beauty initiative set to radically reduce its carbon footprints and global environmental impact, while also declaring that all its products are now officially cruelty free. In the wake of the announcement, Garnier India General Manager Zeenia Bastani spoke to’s Anupama Sajeet, where she revealed what inspired the brand to go all-out green, the company’s growing investment in the digital space and takeaways from the past year that it would like to build on in the future.

Edited excerpts:

On what the brand hopes to achieve through the Green Beauty initiative.

Covid2019 has accelerated interest in sustainability conversations and urged consumers for a sustainable transition. While Garnier as a brand has been committed to sustainability for years; producing more natural formulas, using sustainable and fair-trade ingredients, even being the first to bring certified organic products to the mass skincare market, with the launch of its sustainability program Garnier Green Beauty, we want to go further, to shift the way the beauty industry operates and lead the change for all of us.

The Green Beauty initiative is a complete end-to-end approach to sustainability and through it we aim to achieve the following goals:

·         Plastic & Packaging:

-       By 2025, Garnier will aim to use Zero Virgin Plastic in packaging, saving 37,000 tonnes of plastic every year. 

-       By 2025 all packaging will also be either reusable, recyclable or compostable.

·         Product & Formula:

-       By 2022, all plant-based and renewable ingredients will be sustainably sourced.

-       By 2025, 100 per cent of Garnier’s new products will have an improved environmental profile.

·         Factories & Manufacturing:

-       100 per cent carbon neutral industrial sites by 2025, using renewable energy.

-       The CO2 emissions of industrial sites have already been reduced by 72 per cent.

·         Solidarity Sourcing:

-          By 2025 Garnier will have empowered 800 communities worldwide as part of our solidarity sourcing programme.

We are also delighted to receive the stamp of approval from the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny programme, the leading organisation working to end animal testing and the cruelty free gold standard.

On the findings of the Garnier commissioned international survey on global consumers.

Garnier’s One Green Step Report showed how much consumer mindset is progressing when it comes to sustainability. The findings indicated that 2020 was a significant wakeup call for many for the need to take further green steps to protect our planet. While the research looks at eight countries, across four continents, referring to the India statistics – we saw over 90 per cent of those surveyed want to be more sustainable in 2021 whereas 77 per cent cited a reduction in their use of plastic products as their number one green priority in 2021. In addition to this, over 53 per cent feel differently about their actions and behaviours because of this year's pandemic and 51 per cent of those surveyed in India said that Covid2019 had made them re-evaluate their priorities.

On Garnier’s marketing strategy during and post-Covid.

Our strategy has always been consumer focused, and that is what we continued to do during the pandemic; paying attention to what the consumer needed and wanted.

For example, the pandemic has resulted in increased washing of hands, leading to dryness issues, which is why we responded with a hand cream. During the lockdown, since salons were closed, people needed their self-care solutions at home, which is where we emphasized DIY hair colour solutions and sheet masks for a facial like glow in the safety of their homes. With increased screen time and video calls, we understood the need for more attention to eye care and launched our eye masks.

On the key learnings from the past year.

However challenging 2020 was, it also taught us a lot. The interlinked trends we see that will continue to deeply influence business in the future are –

- Digitisation and e-commerce: As we have all witnessed, the need for a low touch economy saw the boom of digitisation and ecommerce. This digital and e-commerce revolution is bringing with it an awareness of global beauty brands and trends. Today, a young India has access to global brands, bypassing the hurdles of traditional distribution.  Online purchasing habits are evolving, presenting new opportunities for brands. 18 per cent of people bought personal care or beauty products online for the first time during this crisis.  

-BeautyTech: With the fast adoption of digital and tech, came the awareness and development of BeautyTech – beauty augmented by technology. As a beauty tech company committed to digital transformation, we have been focused on deploying new technologies to enhance our products and customer experiences. For example, Garnier ColorMatch is a virtual try-on tool that allows our consumers to virtually try on different hair colour shades to enable her to choose her hair colour.

-Consumer behaviour/awareness: The last year saw an acceleration in consumer awareness and behaviour, be it for a better brand experience via BeautyTech, more socially and environmentally responsible products, brands with a real purpose or more representation of what beauty stands for.

Young Indian consumers have made a significant shift to digital media in the last few years. Digital has always been an integral part of our media plans even pre-Covid and will continue to be so.

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