Sustainability, as defined by the United Nations Brundtland Commission is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” . It is the art of maintaining balance between the environment, society and the economy. 
India, with its diverse culture and dynamic economy, faces the challenges as well as promises of sustainable practices. As one of the most populous nations globally, its consumption patterns have intensified due to factors like urban sprawl, industrial growth, and an expanding middle class. This makes the pursuit of sustainable practices not just a choice but also a necessity.  Recognizing this, various Indian sectors, including the government, are progressively adopting sustainable measures, aiming for a harmonious blend of growth and environmental stewardship. 
In the Indian context, the personal care industry stands out. These products, which span from skincare, haircare, cosmetics, and more, are daily essentials for every individual. Yet, traditional personal care goods have faced scrutiny for their environmental repercussions, packaging jeopardy, unsustainable resource consumption as well as animal cruelty.  The buzz created around sustainable personal care products is due to the focus on reducing the harmful environmental and health impacts, be it through green ingredients, waste-minimizing packaging, or ethical supply chains. 
The significance of personal care items in daily life is evident. They’re not just about hygiene but also play a role in self-confidence and overall wellness. As consumers evolve, there’s a clear move towards products that meet personal preferences and also align with wider environmental and ethical values. This change is seen in India’s growing sustainable personal care brands, which provide options that are effective and environmentally friendly.
As regards to the growing importance of sustainability, the team of Earth5R decided to explore the variety of sustainable personal care brands available, evaluate the awareness of sustainability within personal care, identify the motivations behind sustainable selections, and discerning whether such choices influence sustainability in other aspects of an individual’s life.
Materials and Methods
To conduct this study, two sources of materials were employed.
Online Literature: A comprehensive review of existing literature was conducted to ensure the survey captured relevant facets of sustainable personal care awareness and choices. Various online databases, verified websites, and publications were accessed to understand the prevailing trends, key terms, and critical topics in sustainable personal care products. This literature review served as the foundation upon which the survey questions were formulated, ensuring they were pertinent and in-line with current research topics.
Google Forms: It was chosen as the primary tool for data collection due to its user-friendly interface, accessibility, and real-time response tracking capabilities. This platform enabled us to design a structured questionnaire.
An important component in conducting this survey was the utilization of the Earth5R app developed by Earth5R’s founder, Mr. Saurabh Gupta. The platform aims at creating an ecosystem of environmentally aware citizens motivated to effect positive environmental change. The app is instrumental in creating a platform where individuals can engage in environmental challenges and provide crucial, on-the-ground data.
The app users are engaged in exploring and acting upon pivotal environmental issues, merging in-depth research with outdoor activities to foster a holistic understanding and hands-on experience in environmental science. They navigate through diverse issues, such as pothole surveys, understanding UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, conducting urban plantations, analyzing energy consumption, studying waste hotspots and waste management, etc., and contributing critical, real-time data directly from various localities. The amalgamation of theoretical insights and actionable, ground-level data from the app users not only enriched our research but also underlined the tangible impact and wide-scale involvement facilitated by the app.
Survey Design and Distribution
To conduct our research on Sustainable Personal Care Products, Google Forms was used. Google Forms allowed us to design a structured questionnaire that was easy for participants to understand and respond to.
The survey aimed to gather valuable insights on various aspects of sustainable personal care products, including awareness, preferences, and purchase behaviour. It was designed to be simple and straightforward, ensuring that participants, regardless of their background, could easily complete it.
For conducting the survey, Google Form link was shared on the Earth5R App.
The survey was made available to a diverse group of participants, including individuals from different age groups, educational backgrounds, and regions. Participants were provided with clear instructions on how to access and complete the survey via the Earth5R App. Additionally, we ensured that data collection adhered to ethical principles, respecting participants’ privacy and confidentiality.
We received a total of 35 responses and performed a thorough analysis of these responses. Data analysis included quantitative methods to identify patterns, preferences, and trends among participants. We used simple statistical techniques to analyze and then summarize collected data.
We embarked on a survey endeavor driven by commitment to sustainability, aiming to shed light on sustainable personal care brand options in India, the degree of awareness surrounding them, factors driving consumer decisions, and any possible ripple effects on broader sustainability practices.
Demographics and Respondent Background:
Predominantly, the survey saw participation from young adults, specifically college students aged between 18-24.
Geographically, all participants hail from India, with a noticeable 11.4% based in Mumbai. A gender distribution reveals that a majority of 62.9% were female respondents.
Awareness & Adoption of Sustainable Products:
A promising 91.4% displayed a clear understanding of the term ‘sustainability.’ Furthermore, 91.4% were informed about the existence of Sustainable Personal Care Products, and an impressive 60% had already incorporated these products into their purchasing habits. Significantly, when faced with a choice, 80% expressed a preference for sustainable products over their conventional counterparts.
Perceptions and Preferences:
Diving deeper, while a vast majority (97.1%) acknowledged the eco-friendliness of sustainable personal care products, a discrepancy arose when only 28.6% deemed it crucial to their purchasing decision. Moreover, affordability remains a point of contention: only 31.4% believe these products to be cost-effective, while 40% remain ambivalent on the matter.
Factors guiding their purchasing decisions majorly revolved around perceived environmental impact. This was closely followed by health benefits and recommendations from their personal network.
Brand Recognition and Sources of Awareness:
In the realm of brand awareness, ‘Mama Earth’ reigned supreme, followed by ‘Himalaya Naturals’, ‘Biotique’, ‘Khadi Naturals’, ‘Lotus Herbals’, and ‘mCaffeine’. It’s noteworthy to highlight that social media emerges as the foremost channel fostering awareness about these products, underlined by advertisements, word-of-mouth recommendations, and in-store displays.
Influence on Broader Sustainable Practices:
An intriguing facet of our findings was the potential influence of sustainable personal care products on broader lifestyle choices. A significant 71.4% affirmed that their exposure to these products nudged them towards adopting more sustainable practices in other areas of life. However, a non-negligible 17.1% remained uncertain about this ripple effect.
The survey showcases a good awareness and uptake of sustainable personal care products by young adults in India, driven largely by the perceived health advantages and positive environmental impact. It would benefit brands to tackle the prevailing concerns about affordability. Moreover, with social media standing out as a significant driver, there’s ample opportunity for brands to intensify their presence on such platforms. Finally, the ripple effect of these products on overall sustainable behaviors’ suggests fertile ground for further research and promotional efforts.
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