Redshift Technologies helps Estée Lauder increase sustainability and safety
Estée Lauder
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. The promise of the company is to uphold the finest standards of excellence and to offer skincare, makeup and fragrance products that are both gentle and highly effective.
Improve safety and sustainability of products

Committed to the safety of humans and the environment, the R&D department at Estée Lauder sought to reduce the risks and carbon footprint of its products. The objective was to use the safest most sustainable ingredients in product formulas, and to purchase these ingredients from the most sustainable suppliers.

The first step was to implement a system that gave R&D the ability to score ingredients based on their impact on the environment. This needed to include a comprehensive assessment of the ingredient from its manufacture all the way through to its transportation and even its packaging. The next step was to have the ability to measure the cumulative sustainability impact of all the ingredients in each product formula. Finally, Estée Lauder wanted to track safety and sustainability improvements.

With the appropriate decision support tools in place, Estée Lauder would be able to reformulate products and select vendors to improve sustainability.

Solutions provided by Redshift Technologies:
  • Supply Chain Sustainability
  • Compound Sustainability
  • Internal Sustainability
  • Assess toxicity and environmental impacts of purchases, packaging
  • Survey supplier conduct and governance
  • Review internal operations and monitor emerging issues
  • Provide decision support for vendor selection and product reformulation
Results over the last three years:
  • Know which ingredients are the safest and most sustainable
  • Increase the accuracy of supplier sustainability data every year
  • Able to roll up ingredient sustainability scores for each product
  • Continually reformulating products with more sustainable ingredients
  • Increasingly purchasing from the safest most sustainable suppliers
  • Tracking improvements which stimulates further commitment
Selected for technology, domain expertise and customization
Though in-house development was considered, it was deemed too risky and costly. Estée Lauder selected Redshift for its expertise in developing best-in-class custom data gathering and analysis solutions, and its experience with curation and harmonization of sustainability data and data sources. An additional important factor was Redshift’s expertise in the domain of scientific research.
Redshift Solution for Supplier Sustainability Reporting

Working closely with the R&D department, Redshift developed a data gathering website for suppliers to report on metrics regarding the manufacture of each ingredient they sell to Estée Lauder. Questions asked include complex supplier social and environmental metrics such as production, transportation, packaging, and use and disposal practices used to manufacture the ingredient.

Each supplier accesses a password protected and private online portal to enter the required metrics regarding each ingredient. The intuitive interface leads suppliers through a list of questions with pull-down options that facilitate completion and increase accuracy by avoiding misinterpretation. For each metric, suppliers are required to explain how they arrived at that number (for example an invoice, an estimate or a meter). The system also requires suppliers to disclose formula changes in existing ingredients and certify they do not contain materials that are prohibited within Estée Lauder. Gathered supplier data on ingredient sustainability is seamlessly merged with the existing legacy supplier management system.

The next phase of the development allowed Estée Lauder to merge sustainability metrics for each of the ingredients in a product formula, to then measure the total sustainability impact of all the ingredients.

Measure and Track Sustainability
  • The supplier survey has been conducted once a year for three years and the data collected has become more reliable with each round. Estée Lauder can identify unusual changes in metrics from one year to the next and will contact the supplier to question the accuracy of the data—which keeps vendors honest.
  • Analysis tools score, track and trend individual suppliers based on the sustainability of each ingredient, and those with the best scores have become the supplier of choice.
  • To encourage suppliers to continually improve their scores, the system allows them to benchmark their performance against best practices to identify areas for improvement.
  • Analysis of aggregate supplier sustainability scores over time, allow Estée Lauder to identify suppliers who are striving to follow best practices.
  • Estée Lauder can trace material content down to the supplier sourcing the original compound.
  • Marketing is now able to roll up all the ingredient sustainability scores for any product based on the ingredient sustainability metrics.
  • As sustainability increases over time, Estée Lauder can track product sustainability improvements from a supplier and product formulation perspective.
Safer More Sustainable Products
  • Increasingly reformulating products to incorporate more sustainable and safer ingredients
  • Increasingly purchasing from the safest most sustainable suppliers
  • The Corporate Sustainability Report tracks sustainability performance improvements which in turn encourages more commitment to improvements.
Estée Lauder has been so pleased with the results that the company is now looking to expand the program to measure and monitor internal sustainability metrics for the production of its own products, such as logistics, distribution, manufacturing and packaging. In addition, Estée Lauder wants to measure the impact on sustainability of loss that results from expiration dates, returned products or quality control deficiencies.
At Redshift, we take on challenging and interesting projects that impact human lives and the environment.