USA: Green formulations and sustainable packaging

Source: Organic Monitor


The North American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit aims to tackle some of the major sustainability issues in the beauty industry. Hosted in New York on 17 - 19 May 2012, the 3-day summit focuses on green formulations and sustainable packaging. Other key topics on the summit agenda are sustainability metrics and marketing innovations. For the first time, a summit will showcase popular techniques to measure the environmental footprint of personal care products. With research showing raw materials and packaging comprise the highest environmental impact of personal care products, the summit hones in on these key areas. Dedicated sessions and plenary workshops cover green formulations and sustainable packaging. An update will be given on the palette of green ingredients available to formulators, whilst the gamut of sustainable packaging options will be highlighted, Organic Monitor reports. (Picture: Sustainable Cosmetics Summit 2011 in New York City)

Titled Sustainability Best-Practices, the opening session highlights the various ways cosmetic companies are measuring and reducing their environmental and social footprints. Joby Carlson from the Sustainability Consortium will give an update on Life- Cycle Assessment methodologies for cosmetics. Susan Arnot Heaney, Global Director of Corporate Responsibility of Avon, will show how the company’s raft of sustainability programs is improving corporate efficiency. The company is reducing its environmental impact by investing in green buildings, undertaking sustainable sourcing and decreasing material usage. Natura Cosmetics, the leading Brazilian cosmetics company, will share its experiences in carbon management tools. To meet its goal of becoming carbon neutral, it is implementing a number of techniques to measure, reduce, and offset its carbon emissions. Harriet Hentges from Ahold USA will give a retailer perspective on sustainability and how it relates to personal care products. Other papers will discuss the use of sustainability metrics to measure environmental footprints and performance indicators.

The growing use of plant-based feedstock for cosmetic ingredients is highlighted in the Green Formulations session. Jari Alander from AAK compares the environmental footprint of vegetable oil-based ingredients with those derived from petrochemicals. Evonik discusses the application of green chemistry principles in novel processing techniques for cosmetic ingredients. Other papers tackle some of the major formulation issues associated with sustainable (natural & organic) cosmetics. Details are given of new emulsifiers and surfactants for natural personal care products. Judi Beerling (picture), head of technical research at Organic Monitor, discusses the alternatives to parabens in cosmetic formulations in a dedicated workshop. Ms. Beerling will go through the various options available to formulators looking to replace this contentious group of preservatives. Other speakers will cover the challenges of formulating functional natural skin care products, novel actives from developing countries, and natural ingredients for anti-ageing.

With growth in the North American sustainable cosmetics market slowing, brands are exploring new growth openings. The Marketing & Distribution Innovations session looks at two popular growth routes: new distribution channels and new country markets (exports). The opportunities in TV shopping channels are outlined, whilst a leading Australian organic skincare brand discusses the potential of the Asian market. Although the size is a fraction of the North American market, the Asian market for natural & organic personal care products continues to show double digit growth. The burgeoning middle-class in countries, such as China and India, are creating demand for ‘chemicallyclean’ cosmetics. The natural food retailer PCC Natural Market will share its experiences in selecting and merchandising natural personal care products. Other papers cover mobile technology and consumer behavior towards green cosmetics. The final session of the conference reviews the range of sustainable packaging options available to cosmetic brands. The opening speaker looks at the influence of materials and design on the environmental footprint of cosmetic packaging. Other papers cover novel re-usable materials, upcycling & recycled packaging, eco-design, and the potential of bioplastics. Procter & Gamble and Hain Celestial will share their experiences in tackling the packaging conundrum. Following on from the last session, Dr. Ramani Narayan, Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, will give a practical workshop to cosmetic companies looking at adopting sustainable packaging solutions on day three of the summit.

Organized by Organic Monitor, the program of this seventh edition has been devised to help personal care companies overcome some of the major technical issues associated with green formulations and encourage sustainable packaging. The summit delves deeper into environmental footprints than previous editions. "By placing emphasis on metrics, we want to show how environmental impacts can be measured and quantified for positive change", states Amarjit Sahota (picture), President of Organic Monitor. More information is available from



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