Getting Green at Sustainable Cosmetics Summit

Posted on February 10, 2011 @ 09:39 am

Green formulations and sustainable supply chains are focal themes of the next edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Taking place in New York on May 12-14, the summit aims to address some of the major sustainability issues the beauty industry faces. With many cosmetic and ingredient firms still grappling with green formulations, the summit devotes a conference session and workshop to discuss technical issues. Key papers will cover natural and organic cosmetic formulations, including paraben-free preservative systems, replacing synthetic chemicals, natural actives and growing use of sustainable raw materials.

For the first time, the summit will bring together heads of leading natural personal care firms in a CEO Roundtable to debate key industry challenges. The CEOs of Burt’s Bees, Aubrey Organics, Weleda and Dr. Hauschka Skincare will be part of the CEO panel to discuss issues relating to sustainability, certification, ethical trade and consumer demand.

The summit opens by highlighting Pioneering Sustainability Initiatives in the beauty industry. Aveda, a leading natural personal care company, will emphasize the importance of sustainability to reduce the ecological and social footprints of beauty products. The global sustainability director of Procter & Gamble will share its game plan to meet the challenges of the triple bottom line. The global cosmetics company recently announced its environmental sustainability vision, setting goals for specific initiatives.

Also in the opening session, Henkel will state how it has been successful in receiving the Walmart Sustainability Award two years in a row. Rik Kutsch Lojenga, executive director of the Union for Ethical BioTrade, will highlight the growing importance of biodiversity, while another paper looks at how beauty companies can generate positive impacts.

Social impacts are emphasized in the second session on Sustainable Supply Chains. The Brazilian company Beraca will discuss the role of ethical sourcing in alleviating poverty and environmental stewardship. Using Shea butter as a case study, Dr. Peter Lovett from the USAID West Africa Trade Hub highlights the positive impacts sustainable sourcing can have on African growers. At the other end of the supply chain, a leading retailer shares its experiences in meeting consumer expectations for sustainable products.

John Replogle, CEO of Burt’s Bees, further elaborates on rising consumer expectations in his opening keynote on the second day of the executive summit. His paper will question whether natural and organic beauty products are meeting consumer demand for sustainable products. Other topics in the Marketing & Distribution Innovations session cover the potential of biodynamic cosmetics, sustainable packaging, retailing innovations and opportunities in mass-market channels. Future growth projections are given for the natural and organic personal care industry, while a leading research agency will share consumer insights. Findings on the adoption rates of natural and organic products will be given, as well as triggers and motives for purchases.

With standards continuing to garner high interest, the final session gives updates on North American natural and organic beauty standards, including NSF ANSI 305, NPA and OASIS. Precise details, as well as adoption issues, of the new USDA bio-based personal care standard will also be given. The implications of the new Safe Cosmetics Act to cosmetic and ingredient firms are also on the agenda.

The summit closes with an interactive workshop on Green Chemicals. Judi Beerling, head of technical research at Organic Monitor, will discuss the formulation issues associated with replacing synthetic chemicals, such as parabens, emulsifiers and fragrances. The range of green chemical alternatives is explored, as well as their related technical issues.

Organized by Organic Monitor, the fourth edition of this executive summit hones in on green formulations because of the growing need to develop ‘chemically clean’ products in North America. With growing pressure for natural and conventional brands to remove potentially harmful chemicals, the summit aims to tackle some of the major technical obstacles in using sustainable / natural raw materials. Sustainable supply chains are a major focus because of the growing prominence of ethical trade and sustainable sourcing.