The Arkive journey: join the movement

by Anush Bichakhchyan

Because you're worth it! Beauty slogans, so loud and inspiring, make people buy products and feel better. The more the brands produce, the more the consumers demand, and this vicious circle brings over 75% of the cosmetic product destroyed every year. Part of the products are sold in the gray market (unauthorized sales), and the other is destroyed. Even the stable destruction numbers don't make big players cut the production, and over and over again, we face environmental issues. Those employees who tried to report the situation to organizations were fired; the rest were silent. 

Overproduction is a disease of many industries, including fashion, food, and cosmetics that are not essential commodities but mostly luxurious products with fancy packaging. To test the theory, open your beauty kit and check how many products have run shelf life and which ones you need to throw away. 

Another darker side of the beauty industry is the gray market and fake products that are absolutely out of control producing tons of cheap and dangerous products. Not capable of starting a dialog with brands, we also have to think of the gray market growing danger. And again, the employees are threatened, and they are silent. Arkive and similar organizations fighting overproduction and linear consumption need support. Who takes responsibility for this because the factories, the brands, the resellers, and the government do not feel responsible? Humanity is the victim of it. Far too few people, and it is time for more awareness. Beauty is about loyalty!


The failure and rejection didn't stop us, and being rejected by Green Deal was another door that opened to a new collaboration perspective. Green Deal has become a valuable network asset that took us to the more significant organization, Versnellingshuis, assisting organizations who needed voice and help to speak out the problem and raise awareness. And yet another rejection. Versnellingshuis sent us to Het Groene Brein, dealing with sustainability and circularity issues on a state level. For Arkive, the new connection was "that door" we had been knocking for so long. We faced rejection from big companies who shielded themselves with high revenue and didn't want to change anything. At that point, it seemed a little closer and realistic to start a dialog with them.

To make our proposal and mission more tangible, we still missed numbers. The brands strictly hide the numbers of production and destruction, and the employees are not allowed to speak out. Nevertheless, we have approximate numbers taken from Burberry study, the upmarket British fashion brand, that had destroyed products costing over £28.6m in 2018. "The reason they are doing this is so that the market is not flooded with discounts. They don't want Burberry products to get into the hands of anyone who can sell them at a discount and devalue the brand," said the company representative. It means they'd rather destroy products than cut the production numbers or support anti-waste initiatives. Het Groene Brein is already working on getting the exact numbers of destruction by brand, and that way raises awareness and helps people understand the scales of global issues. 

Finding and gathering like-minded people and organizations around Arkive and its philosophy is somewhat complicated, but we also had difficulty raising social awareness among consumers. Finally, getting support from other organizations and partnering with brands willing to cut destruction numbers, we still had a user engagement problem. So why do people mostly refuse to recycle or support sustainable beauty? We are now trying to bring the consumers to the level where they realize the responsibility of taking action. And if each of them makes a move, it will have an impact. 

Today's direction of Arkive is with Het Groene Brein that had organized another awareness event and talked about Arkive. It got viral and made a lot of noise around the ideation and mission of promoting a circular economy. On our part, we continue being persistent because there is nothing more valuable than the planet we are living on. We fight today to have a better world in the future, for the future generation.


With love, 


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