The cosmetics industry is actively shifting toward reducing its impact on the environment. Companies are developing innovative formulations, eco-friendly packaging, reducing waste and carbon emissions, conducting research of alternative materials, as well as investing in the social and ethical aspects of the beauty world. Although sustainability has been widely used in branding strategy in various industries, it still lacks theoretical knowledge and there has not been yet extensive academic research on the topic. This study aims to contribute to sustainability scholars by focusing on its role in branding. It explores the methods of integrating sustainability in branding strategy. It focuses particularly on niche cosmetics brands that actively promote sustainability on Instagram. Unlike the big cosmetic brands, these brands normally have a smaller market share, but enjoy a higher level of loyalty and a lower level of penetration. Moreover, these brands tend to be more transparent with their audience, and, therefore, can serve as a great example for the entire industry. Firstly, five in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with brand representatives, followed by the content analysis of Instagram posts of the same brands. The data was then analyzed qualitatively, via thematic analysis. The findings of the study indicate that the key to the successful integration of sustainability in branding strategy lies in full disclosure of all the processes in a way that is clear to the audience. Overall, the brands seemed to agree that Instagram is an essential tool for sustainable development that can potentially lead to a 100% circularity of the cosmetics industry.

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Lund, F.
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Martynenko, Anna. (2021, November). Cosmetics Brands and Sustainability: More than just an image? A qualitative analysis of sustainability integration in the branding strategy of niche cosmetic brands. Media & Business. Retrieved from