Ugly Truth About The Cosmetic Industry
We only notice the glow we acquire and the stylish compliments we get in return when we apply the highlighter that’s popping on our cheeks. But we seldom consider whose blood and work gave us the gleam that makes us happy.
We never read the labels on cosmetic products to be sure what components and substances have been employed to give us the desired shining results. I used to be one of those naïve individuals who just desired the latest makeup trends that complemented my skin tone not all that long ago. However, there is no turning back once you have educated yourself about unethical beauty products.
The majority of beauty products contain silicate mineral mica to give them a sparkly pop, which is a crucial element of the global beauty business. Despite the fact that China produces the majority of the world’s mica, India is thought to have the greatest deposit due to its cheap labour and the prevalence of clandestine mining that takes advantage of the desperate, ignorant, and jobless.
The majority of mica is produced in the Indian states of Jharkhand and Bihar through illicit mining activities because of limitations on mining in forested areas. This prohibition aided in the development of the “mica mafia,” the underground market for this burgeoning business.
As a result, those who are poor are compelled to labour in hazardous conditions that greatly increase the risk to their health and even their mortality. Children as young as five are forcibly exploited in such intensive illegal mining activity for long hours and paid eight cents per kilogramme, but the price varies from AUD1000 to AUD2000 per kilogramme on the global market.
This exemplifies the cheap labour that the opulent beauty industries are slyly taking advantage of and deliberately abusing, whether intentionally or unknowingly. Additionally, it involves the violation of human rights and the depletion of environmental resources.
In a recent investigation, Senior Legal and Investigative Correspondent of NBC News Cynthia McFadden presented proof of widespread child labour in another location. Child labour abuse is widespread in Madagascar, where this supposedly mystical mica is mostly obtained for the automotive sector.
An agreement about the traceability and transparency of mica usage was obtained during the Responsible Mica Sourcing Summit in Delhi in 2016. Due to the globalisation of the mica supply chain, which sees several transfers of ownership from the miner to the customer, beauty companies like L’Oreal and Lush have taken the initiative to buy mica from reliable suppliers. In fact, very few businesses in the cosmetics industry are aware of whether or not their supply chain is “cruelty-free.”
Given that mica is essential to many mine employees’ livelihoods, boycotting it is not the best course of action. Therefore, if mica is supplied properly, experts claim that eradicating child labour, bonded labour, and human rights violation will be conceivable.
Nevertheless, political favouritism is a significant factor in the continuous illicit mica mining because most mineworkers are engaged as bonded labourers. Therefore, the reduction of such exploitation may be achieved by aggressive government engagement and openness. Additionally, mine employees’ pay has to be increased so they can support their families and provide their kids access to an education, which might reduce child labour.
Additionally, since customers are paying for these things with their money, they must hold the businesses responsible. This may be done by contacting the human resources departments of the businesses, spreading information on social media and other networking sites, etc.
Even though it is commonly recognised that achieving such a goal would be an unrealistic dream given the mica industry’s explosive growth, some self-education and knowledge about unethical cosmetic products won’t do any damage.
Additionally, we can feel attractive without feeling bad the next time we look in the mirror.
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