Every year an impressive array of eco-conscious brands compete for the chance to gain industry-wide recognition for their sustainability accomplishments by entering CEW’s Beauty Creators Awards. The prize is a highly coveted CEW Sustainability Excellence Award, one that was established to encourage and celebrate beauty brands taking actionable steps towards reducing their carbon footprint within the industry. Brands are selected based on innovative usage of sustainable ingredients and packaging; demonstrated positive environmental and social impact; and internal or external initiatives, such as green business practices and community give-back programs.

The award reflects the highest standards of sustainability values—so it makes sense that it’s sponsored by Firmenich, which established its sustainability mission more than 30 years ago. As the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and taste company, in 1991 Firmenich signed the International Chamber of Commerce Business Charter on Sustainable Development. Today, Firmenich’s commitment to sustainability remains unwavering, whether it’s innovating for well-being, being part of shaping a new sanitation economy, or protecting the environment through its #NaturalsTogether program.

“We are proud to sponsor this award in partnership with CEW and celebrate the brands who stand up to the future of our people and our planet,” said Ilaria Resta, President of Perfumery, Firmenich. “Our company and employees live for our fundamental values and purpose. This category is particularly special to us, as Firmenich is a family business with a unique legacy of responsible vocation.”

In October, a Voting Committee will meet to select a grand prize winner, who will be announced at the CEW Beauty Creators Winners Celebration on November 3The committee is comprised of:

  • Muffy Clince, Director, Emerging Brands, Ulta Beauty
  • Giorgio Dell’Acqua, Consultant, Chair, Scientific Committee and Scientific Blogger, NYSCC
  • Carlotta Jacobson, President, CEW
  • Alissa Fitzgibbons, Senior Director, Communications NA Haircare, P&G Beauty, and co-leader of the North America sustainability and citizenship platform
  • Gary Myer, VP, Global Packaging Engineer, WWP (World Wide Packaging)
  • Dara Quinlan, VP, Fine Fragrance Development, Firmenich;
  • Melanie Verhille, Creative Director, and Green Team member, Firmenich
  • Lucy Shea, CEO, Futerra Sustainability Communications

“The finalists in this category all have a similar view on doing business in a sustainable and traceable way, making them agents of change, helping to shape the way our industry progresses,” said Ilaria. “Each of the finalists exemplifies a genuine approach to creating real impact and investing in sustainability as a multifaceted ecosystem. We applaud these brands for their honest interest in accountability, and congratulate each of them for their long-term commitment to transformative actions and investments in the future.”

Read all about the eight Finalists for the 2021 CEW Sustainability Award below. Click here to attend CEW’s November 3 event to see who will take home the grand prize. CEW members have the option of a ticket upgrade to receive a beauty bag valued at more than $300 containing a selection of full-size Iconic Beauty Award products.

Ace of AirAce of Air is the first and only 100 percent circular beauty and wellness brand, which is also zero waste, vegan, clean, cruelty free, and fair trade. It practices carbon neutral shipping, extended producer responsibility and is B Corp certified. The products include topical skin care and supplements powered by superfoods, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Ace of Air’s products are packaged containers designed to be used up to 100 times. The brand is on a mission to put an end to single-use packaging — manufacturing less, reusing more and providing consumers the opportunity to recycle the right way when it’s time to retire a package. To incentivize consumers to send back their reusable shipping and product containers, the brand awards consumers with ‘Planet Points’ for each good environmental deed, which can be gifted to one of the three charities that Ace of Air supports: Ocean Conservancy, Peconic Land Trust, and 5 Gyres.

Aveda: Aveda manufactures innovative plant-based hair care, skin care, makeup, and lifestyle products. Today, Aveda is sold in more than 40 countries with over 9,500 salon and spa partners; it operates 64 institutes and has nearly 50,000 artists worldwide. In keeping with the company’s caring philosophy of beauty, Aveda engages in fair compensation practices with all suppliers and uses organic, plant-based, sustainable, and renewable ingredients whenever possible. Aveda was the first beauty company to use 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials in packaging and co-creates breakthrough solutions with suppliers to reduce dependency on plastic and global plastics pollution. Aveda was also the first beauty company to manufacture its products using 100 percent wind power at its primary facility in Blaine, Minnesota, through renewable energy and carbon offsets.

Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics INC: Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded, digitally-native, Canadian cosmetics company established in 2016 by Jennifer Harper. Products include lip, eye and complexion products made with biobased, fair-trade ingredients and green chemistry. The packaging materials used are biodegradable, plantable (seed paper), refillable and feature vegetable-based inks. The brand has published a diagram on its website to educate consumers on proper disposal practices.

Eva NYC: A line of cruelty-free, vegan, clean hair care products and tools, including shampoos, conditioners, treatments, dryers and more, Eva NYC is 100 percent recyclable in partnership with TerraCycle, and is the only masstige brand with a portfolio of infinitely recyclable aluminum as its packaging. All of the ingredients used are responsibly sourced and have their own unique story.  For example, the aloe in Eva NYC’s Just Glisten Hair + Body Shine Mist is sustainably sourced from farms in Guatemala. The aloe is grown in a polyculture farming system, meaning it grows with other types of crops that helps with water conservation, reduces pollutants, and makes land more habitable. Leftover aloe rinds are used to help improve the soil and grow more aloe for the next batch. By, 2022 Eva NYC is aiming to achieve B-Corp certification by 2022 and 100 percent free of virgin plastic.

Grove Collaborative: Launched by Grove Collaborative in 2020, Peach is a plant-based, plastic-free beauty and personal care line on a mission to eliminate plastic from the beauty and personal care routine. The colorful line has reimagined the bar of soap with 10 vibrant SKUs for hair, face, and hand and body. In addition to using powerhouse natural ingredients that are known for their benefits, Peach also ensures ingredients are sourced responsibly without negative impacts to ecosystems, workers and local communities. Peach face and body bars use Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Oil which is responsibly grown and harvested under rigorous environmental and social standards. Peach bars also use ethically-sourced mica (for a natural shimmer), which was mined responsibly without any child labor.

Mustela: Mustela’s products are clean and effective skincare essentials for babies, children and pregnant women. As a certified B Corp the brand is seriously committed to sustainability and CSR, vowing to carbon neutrality by 2030. The company sources plant-based ingredients in compliance with the UEBT and uses 100% green electricity in the production process. Mustella ensures all their containers are recyclable and, whenever possible, that the formulas are biodegradable. The products’ environmental impact is identified at each stage of their lifecycle, and actionable steps are taken to lessen it through strategic eco-designing. The hero ingredient used in its products is avocado. To combat food waste, the brand processes entire avocados (including the pit) that normally would go to waste and upcycles the fruit into oil and powder.

Noble Panacea: Created by Sir Fraser Stoddard, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, Noble Panacea utilizes a green production process, sustainable packaging, and clean formulations to deliver effective skincare. The brand’s Active Daily Doses are 100 percent recyclable through a partnership with TerraCycle and they have a refills program to extend packaging life and minimize waste. The skin care line’s core technology, Organic Molecular Vessel (OMV), offers a time-release delivery system that allows for high absorption of pharmaceutical-grade ingredients into the skin. The OMVs are developed using a renewable process that creates no waste, and they are biodegradable, renewable and edible.

Unwrapped Life: Unwrapped Life, a plastic-free beauty brand, is on a mission to prove that product quality and packaging are not mutually exclusive. Founded in 2016, they offer a variety of high-performance, no-waste options for hair and body, including shampoo and conditioner bars. Unwrapped Life uses recyclable and renewable materials as well as fully-compostable packaging. Reduced carbon footprint is achieved through less product weight as a result of its waterless formulas, resulting in a lower net volume, then shipping in the smallest box possible. The brand doesn’t accept returns, which they say contributes to the 5 billion pounds of waste created annually by reverse shipping. Each bar prevents 3+ single-use plastic bottles from making their way to landfill.