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Sobriété hydrique: a guide to best practices published by Febea

To mark World Water Day on Friday March 22, Febea has published a reference guide to water efficiency for all players in the cosmetics industry.

In its guide entitled "Sobriété hydrique: enjeux et bonnes pratiques du secteur cosmétique" ("Water sobriety: issues and best practices in the cosmetics sector"), the French federation of beauty companies, details the challenges faced by manufacturers and solutions for responsible water management throughout the cosmetics manufacturing process. The aim is to help companies reduce their water footprint, minimize waste and make a positive contribution to preserving the planet's precious water resources. 

In all, some 57 best practices are shared in the guide to enable all players in the cosmetics industry to seize the opportunity. Febea provides all companies in the sector with tools and examples of innovation, and offers a checklist of 11 concrete recommendations (adopting water-efficient ingredients and formulations, establishing good cleaning and maintenance practices, implementing advanced wastewater treatment and recycling, training and raising team awareness, etc.).

"These best practices illustrate the commitment of cosmetics companies to limiting the environmental footprint of their activity. We hope they will inspire all companies in the sector seeking effective, innovative solutions. It is by sharing our know-how and acting together that we will be able to achieve the environmental efficiency we are all aiming for".explains Emmanuel Guichard, General Delegate of Febea.

Measuring your water footprint, an essential step

As "you only manage what you measure", prior knowledge of the quantity of water a company needs for its activities, as well as the volumes available locally, are key steps in assessing its sustainability and water-related risks (water stress, environmental impact, water quality).

This approach makes it possible to optimize the use of water throughout the product life cycle, distinguishing between direct consumption (covering the various functions of water in the cosmetics formulas themselves) and indirect consumption (relating to the production of raw materials and packaging, the manufacturing processes for cosmetics formulas and the product use phase).

Three main areas for action in favor of water

After measuring their water footprint, companies need to limit their impact on water resources. Febea's guide focuses on three main areas, with concrete examples illustrating actions along the entire value chain.

In the formulation and sourcing of raw materials, companies are working to develop new formulas and presentations for cosmetics that consume less water during use (no-rinse, solid or soluble) and are more respectful of aquatic environments (by meeting ecotoxicity and biodegradability tests). In addition, sustainable agricultural practices help to reduce the water footprint of ingredients.

As far as process water is concerned, manufacturers can take action to reduce water use and wastage in a number of ways: rainwater recovery, optimization of cleaning equipment and dry operation, closed circuits for heating or cooling stages, etc. Some plants implement the reuse of treated water through innovative circular processes. Some plants are implementing innovative circular processes to reuse treated water.

Water is also crucial in industrial and tertiary sites for domestic needs. From sanitary facilities to the upkeep of green spaces, a number of solutions exist: rainwater harvesting, the establishment of wild fallows that do not require watering, nature-based solutions (such as the creation of wetlands to regulate flooding and protect water resources during droughts).

The Febea guide also highlights sponsorship initiatives and initiatives to raise awareness among employees, suppliers and consumers, as well as actions taken by hairdressing and beauty professionals to reduce water consumption in salons and spas.

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