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The Future of Beauty

By: Leslie Benson and Jeff Falk
Posted: October 9, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 8

In his book Minding Your Business, Horst Rechelbacher, who founded Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients, provides a summation of sustainability and sustainable business: “Sustainability is not an eco-Band Aid, a luxury for affluent Westerners, nor pie-in-the-sky idealism. It is the necessary life-blood of a new era of enlightened capitalism. A successful sustainable business involves ethical transactions or energy exchanges in the form of services, products and money that benefit all parties—the company, the clientele and the greater community of which they are a part.”

This broader stroke look says nothing about components, ingredients or processes, but implicitly suggests the foundation of what these issues are and how deep that foundation must run, the extent to which it is ingrained for ongoing and far-reaching success in these endeavors.

As noted previously, many beauty industry suppliers also hold leadership roles in sustainability. The efforts of Diamond Packaging and Curtis Packaging are well documented, with both building business practices and processes year-on-year toward a level of eco-consciousness and sustainability that would serve as admirable benchmarks in any industry. And though their efforts may currently be among the most prevalent, in the packaging segment, they are not alone. Efforts by ingredient and chemical suppliers, too, have clearly ramped up over the last few years—and there’s, with a seemingly constant battle against labels generally denoted as “dangerous,” may be the most significant within the short term in that “efficacious” can’t be sacrificed in the quest for “not dangerous.” This quest also brings more complicated issues of sustainability—sourcing alternative ingredient choices, for example.

Ingredient supplier Alban Muller International and speciality chemical company Cognis Corporation base their activities on principles of sustainable development.

“In 2002, Cognis launched a wide ranging program under the general heading 25 by 2012,” says Ulrich Issberner, senior marketing manager, personal care, care chemicals North America, Cognis Corporation. “Wishing to make a meaningful contribution to reducing environmental impact, Cognis’ aim in instituting this project is to achieve a 25% reduction in all the major indicators—that is to say specific energy consumption, emissions and wastewater, among others—by the year 2012. Being successful as an enterprise, of course, is the top-most priority of Cognis and its management and staff. All our business and corporate activities are, however, based on the principles of sustainable development—achieving a sensible balance between economic, ecological and social needs without, in any way, compromising the development opportunities of future generations,” says Issberner.

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