Last month Greenpeace East Asia released an updated report on how the multinationals had reacted to growing evidence about microbead pollution and the mooted ban in countries such as the U.S., Canada and Australia.
But the study findings found that there were wide interpretations of microbeads and their applications, which had led to a number loopholes that could weaken efforts to rid waterways and the marine environments of this type of plastic pollution.
The report findings put many of the world’s major cosmetic and personal care players in the spotlight, forcing them to make a clear indication on where they stood with respect to eliminating microbeads from their formulations.
Procter & Gamble and Estee Lauder respond
In last month's study Greenpeace assessed the top 30 cosmetic and personal care players in the world according to their action to rid formulations of microbeads, and US player Procter & Gamble did not fair too well.
Responding to the Greenpeace report, the company said that it was its “goal is to remove plastic microbeads from all our cleansers and toothpastes by 2017.”
Another U.S. giant, Estee Lauder, said it would voluntarily remove microbeads by the end of fiscal year 2017, while Amway said the only product in its portfolio that used microbeads was its Artistry Essentials Polishing scrub, which will be replaced with jojoba and natural ingredients.
Asian players come out from hiding
Japanese giant Shiseido’s response in the weeks following the publication of the report was to declare that it would remove and replace all plastic microbeads from its products no later than 2018.
Previously Shiseido has not disclosed any information to the public about its commitment to eradicating microbeads.
Meanwhile, the other Japanese giant, Kose, has, since the publication of the latest Greenpeace report, said it had been committed to phasing out microbeads since 2014 and will have completely eradicated their used by June 2018.
Korean giant LG Household and Healthcare, also released this statement, following the publication of the report:
“LG H&H agrees to opinions of global NGOs and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that marine pollution, caused by microbeads, may destroy marine ecosystem and also potentially affect human beings.”
Greenpeace pledges to keep up the fight
However, while Greenpeace has acknowledged the moves by these companies to broaden their commitment to eliminating microbeads, it says it that all the major players in the industry need to move faster.
Citing the fact that the pollution is already showing up in the stomachs of many of fish and other marine life that end up on the dinner table, the environmental group points to the fact that these plastics can leach and be released into this important food source.
The organisation also underlined the fact that it will continue to monitor the progress being made by these companies and will be particularly addressing the issue of transparency, to ensure the companies are doing as they say.