Just over two years ago I posted about the, at the time, newly launched Herbal Essences Bio:Renew haircare line. This post has been one of the most popular throughout the last couple years. Likely due to the fact that Herbal Essences is such a readily available product.
I’ve decided to follow up and see if Herbal Essences has substantiated their claims regarding “Bio:Renew” and whether they have any true certifications which might remove the idea of greenwashing from their product.
New Information on Herbal Essences
Since publishing in 2017, Herbal Essences has stated that their product is manufactured within a zero waste to landfill facility powered with renewable energy credits. They have managed to power 14% of manufacturing plants with renewable energy. According to Procter and Gamble:
Out of their 35 plants is about 5 in total. With a goal to have 100% renewable by 2030.
Along with that 85% of their plants are zero waste to landfill.
The dark side of zero waste to landfill
Although zero waste to landfill sounds exciting. It’s a bit of a concerning statement. Herbal Essences is diverting some of their waste from a landfill to be incinerated and produce electricity.
It’s hard to say whether burning waste is better than allowing it to pile up in a landfill…
More information on Bio:Renew?
Herbal Essences still fails to be more detailed in regards to their patented bio:renew formula. Their website has an article stating that bio:renew technology developed from botanical sources helps prevent oxidization and free radicals. However, I cannot speak to the scientific efficacy of such claims.
Herbal Essences has partnered with the Royal Botanic Gardens
Another change since 2017, is that Herbal Essences has partnered with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to verify the ingredients are naturally derived. It’s hard to tell whether this means that the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew supplies their plant-based ingredients or whether they are sourced elsewhere.
Let’s talk about sourcing
When we’re discussing plant-based ingredients we need to keep in mind where they are from. I worry that there’s no certification on sustainable farming. Herbal Essences is a huge company. They provide products around the world and if something is being produced to that scale, surely it would make an impact on the environment in some way shape or form. We need to know where these ingredients are coming from and how they are sourced.
Where can Herbal Essences Improve?
Whilst Herbal Essences has made tremendous steps toward transparency of their ingredients. They haven’t really been open and honest about their sustainable and ethical practices. On their website we see that they are working towards renewable energy, reduced manufacturing waste and water reduction. But we don’t know how. Or the year to date improvements.
So, do I believe that Herbal Essences Bio:Renew is greenwashing?
Yes and no. Clearly they are trying to work toward appeasing their customers by sharing a bit more behind the brand. The partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens is huge. However, from a sustainable standpoint I am truly underwhelmed.
For a company this large to be so negligent about sharing more information behind their manufacturing processes makes me uncomfortable. Therefore I won’t be purchasing anything by Herbal Essences anytime soon.