Luxury beauty brand partners with the International Space Station (ISS)


What if the next great discovery to improve our planet came from research off the planet? The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS),  manager of the ISS National Lab, is holding a sustainability challenge in partnership with leading global prestige beauty brand Estée Lauder.

@International Space Station (ISS); @ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge

Plastic waste is highly prevalent on the Earth. It is in the land, the sea, and the atmosphere. Today, the ISS National Lab, in partnership with Estee Lauder, announced an opportunity for YOU to help find a solution!

Estée Lauder will be an exclusive partner of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics. This marks the first time a beauty brand has partnered on a research and development opportunity for innovators to propose concepts leveraging the ISS National Lab to advance sustainability research for plastics alternatives. As part of the prestige brand’s commitment to support research that can help drive sustainable packaging innovation, Estée Lauder will provide funding for the awarded proposals.

The ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics will unite innovators on an important mission to address plastic waste and enable scientific or technological advancements that help improve Earth’s environment. Such research has the potential to unmask new insights into cost-effective and innovative avenues for environmentally responsible biopolymers or plastics alternatives.

The objective of the Sustainability Challenge is to use the unique ISS environment to develop, test, or mature products and processes that address at least one of the following goals:

  • Reduce plastic waste introduction into the environment;
  • Seek alternative feedstocks and pathways for polymer production beyond petrochemicals;
  • Reduce virgin plastic manufacturing.

“We are proud to be the exclusive partner of the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge, funding research for future-thinking plastics alternatives,” said Stéphane de La Faverie, Global Brand President, Estée Lauder & AERIN, and Group President, The Estée Lauder Companies. “As a global leader in the beauty industry, we are committed to furthering scientific research and innovation for more sustainable business practices. We are excited to be part of an initiative that could be truly transformative for our brand, our beloved consumers and the future of our planet.”

As the exclusive partner of the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge and founding member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Estée Lauder reinforces its commitment to long-term science research for more sustainable practices. In addition to ingredient transparency, responsible sourcing, and energy and emissions efforts, sustainable packaging is a key part of Estée Lauder’s sustainability strategy. The brand has implemented robust measures to drive the reduction of virgin and non-recyclable plastic and has committed by 2025 that 75-100% of Estée Lauder packaging will be recyclable, refillable, reusable, recycled or recoverable.

“We are excited to collaborate with Estée Lauder as we seek novel advancements through space-based research and development to mitigate plastic pollution on our planet,” said Christine Kretz, vice president of programs and partnerships for the ISS National Lab. “We thank Estée Lauder for its enthusiastic support of the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics, and we look forward to working alongside researchers as they propose science that will improve the environment of our beautiful planet.”

The ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge is an open solicitation for U.S.-based entities to propose projects that leverage the orbiting research platform for applied research and technology development. Applicants must first submit a concept form to ideally address a whole-of-life design approach to production of virgin polymers through sustainable feedstocks or the biodegrading or upcycling of end-of-life of polymers. A subset of applicants with the most promising concepts will then be invited to submit a pre-recorded “pitch” video describing their concept in more detail.

The projects will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges, and on March 19, 2022, a Sustainability Challenge event will be held at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex where the finalists’ recorded presentations will be showcased and live streamed to a global audience. For more information, please visit the ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge webpage:

@ISS National Lab Sustainability Challenge