The price of the Probiotic Hydraglow Cream Oil is $59 for 30ml, and the price of the Calming Restorative Treatment is $94 for 30ml, which is on the very expensive side of skin care. This makes this less accessible, though they are accessible on their FAQ page. A question asks, “are GLOWBIOTICS products recommended for skin of color?” and their answer is that the anti-inflammatory nature of the products makes them “uniquely suitable for skin of color”, which shows that this is something that the company thinks about when making its products and makes it accessible. However, when asked about accessibility and inequality, GLOWBIOTICS states “I don’t think this really applies to us”, which shows a lack of information on their part about how to best integrate accessibility into their sustainability practices. It is great that they have changed a lot of their process due to COVID-19 and workers can work at home which saves utilities, gas, waste, and bills, but it seems as though their main priority is profit and that sustainability comes last on their list of priorities.
The product is made of metal and plastic, along with the outer packaging that includes a box in a shipping container with bubble wrap. For marketing, they use printed brochures and samples that do not contribute to a sustainable product, but they do use cloth bags rather than plastic sometimes. They claim to not use recyclable plastic because of its costs as they are a small company, but there are many small beauty companies thriving when using sustainably sourced materials rather than plastic. Their cardboard boxes and paper are recyclable, and they ensure sustainability in regards to human health by doing thorough quality control on all ingredients and do not put any toxic substances in their products. They are a “clean beauty brand”, and using ingredients that come from natural sources but do not seem to have sustainability on the forefront of their mind when looking at what the product is made of outside of the actual formula.
Glowbiotics’ products are not tested on animals, which is sustainable, and they do most of their business online which helps prevent excess waste. Their product formulas are made in the United States, but the packaging is made in China. They do ship internationally, but majority of shipment is in the US by USPS which does save air fuel but is still a substantial environmental contributor. They use suppliers in numerous countries which is not very sustainable as the travel time, lack of transparency about where factories are located and the ethics of them, and use of international rather than local sourcing contributes to a lower planet rating. It seems as though Glowbiotics is very focused on using the suppliers with the cheapest minimums and are only focused on finding “a bottle of tube that works for the product”. There is not much transparency in their supply chain, and their bottles and tubes are both made in China, with lack of knowledge about factory conditions. They do fortunately have weekly and daily check-ins with the vendors but it is unclear whether sustainability comes up at these check-ins. In terms of re-commerce, they use the same packaging for several products which cuts down on pollution and excess waste.
The company is located in Arizona and there are two founders, both of whom are white, who created the brand with entrepreneur-background founders. Christine Watson, one of the founders, is a two-time cancer survivor, who wanted to create a brand that was friendly to folks with skin concerns and sensitive skin and did not contain toxic ingredients. The company is committed to “being clean, safe and effective and never formulating with parabens, phthalates, sulfates, artificial dyes, mineral oils, toxic or hormone-disrupting ingredients” in any of their products. They donate 1% of website sales to Bring Change to Mind which supports and changes the stigma around mental illness. The company does not have corporate ESG scores as they are not a public company. Every member of the company is involved in the incorporation of sustainability within their organization, though they do focus more on economy than environment and say that “environment is the one pillar that isn’t focused on much because of the cost that’s involved to change anything.” With a small company, this is understandable, but it is important for them to recognize that sustainability can be achieved at smaller, cheaper scales as well and is important to focus on as a pillar of any business. They try to use the least amount of packaging, but are not transparent about what this means or the steps they are taking to do this.