Plastic or Paper?


innisfree, a skincare brand under Amorepacific, the world’s 12th largest cosmetic company, was accused of #greenwashing after a customer’s complaint about its packaging and “misleading” label went viral online. In a post on a Facebook group, a customer shared photos of what is inside the package after cutting the bottle in half. Despite the label reading “Hello, I‘m Paper Bottle,” the product turned out to be a plastic bottle simply wrapped in paper. The brand has since acknowledged that the label may be misleading. 


“We used the term ‘paper bottle’ to explain the role of the paper label surrounding the bottle,” Innisfree said in a statement. 


However, Innisfree underscored that the plastic bottle is recyclable and eco-friendly as it uses 51.8 percent less plastic than conventional packaging.


As a consumer brand, this mis-step from Innisfree could have eclipsed Amorepacific’s sustainability agenda as the first Korean beauty company to join the global RE100 initiative. It has a goal to source 100% renewable energy to power all of its production sites and offices by 2030. 


In  addition, their ‘2030 A MORE Beautiful Promise’ is rooted in 2 guiding principles: ‘moving forward together with customers and society’ and ‘co-existing responsibly with nature’:  


  1. Reduce the ‘environmental footprint’ of all new products through technological innovations in green chemistry.
  2. Incorporate values of diversity & inclusion when developing beauty products and campaigns.
  3. Use 100% renewable energy at all production sites globally and convert all distribution vehicles used in Korea to eco-friendly vehicles.
  4. Use recycled or bio-based plastics for 30% of all plastic packing and provide more refillable products and services.
  5. Invest in biodiversity conservation efforts and increase the use of RSPO-certified palm oil to 90% or more by 2023. 


So as brands & corporates commit to their sustainability goals, it is crucial to work harmoniously because consumers do not live exclusively in either of those worlds. They live in a hybrid world and are influenced by voices from social platforms. 


Actions speak louder than words and citizens and consumers are definitely watching, and openly sharing – be a force for good, not a greenwasher!