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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 7 of 8

Cognis subjects its sites to regular audits, monitoring standards of safety, health and environmental protection. These eco-inventories allow the provision of environmentally relevant facts and figures to its customers—again providing those customers with more for their sustainable back story for consumers who now look for and expect this story line.

“Generally, consumers’ needs and expectations have changed considerably over the last few years,” says Denise Petersen, marketing manager skin care, care chemicals North America, Cognis Corporation. “Whereas in the past, going ‘green’ meant making sacrifices; today, it is seen as something that actually enriches peoples’ lives. The ‘green’ market, for example personal care and cosmetic products based on natural ingredients, is no longer a niche, but very much part of the mainstream.”

Natural and organic are important components of many sustainable efforts, particularly for ingredient and specialty chemical suppliers, and perhaps that’s why they can also be the catalyst and impetus for more encompassing efforts.

“The ‘twinkle’ [for sustainable development] was green ecologists who saw a future in organic growing techniques for agriculture,” says Alban Muller, president, Alban Muller International. “They were trying to change the way people would live in a renewed society: natural products and no chemicals, bicycles and no cars, etc. In other words, back to nature and to a simpler way of life. It might not have been ‘sustainable’ in today’s terms, but it was a philosophy against ‘super consumption’ way of life, and it had its supporters.

“One of the greatest visions of our group was to use plants to offer phytocosmetics in a time when collagen, elastin and [animal] extracts were the one and only fashionable cosmetic actives. I decided to go against the tide because I did not feel animal extracts would last forever, and, moreover, I had always been fascinated by the beauty of plants and flowers. And as plants were our raw material, we could not imagine using them without protecting them. Without even knowing it, we have pragmatically built a sustainable way of working, which today constitutes the philosophy of the group.”