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Starting Point: Is It Easy, Going Green?

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: December 10, 2007, from the December 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

As we prepare to punctuate the sentence that is 2007, we venture once more into the story that has captivated people everywhere: Going Green. We ask ourselves all the same questions you do about the subject, both as we plan our editorial coverage for the global beauty industry and as we go about the daily work of publishing magazines: Are we in the midst of a sea change in thinking about humanity’s place in this world and our impact on it? What can we do now and in the future to conserve resources, build sustainability into our efforts, and create functional, safe and even healthful products that meet changing consumer demand?

Here at the office of GCI magazine, we have recycling and energy-saving initiatives in place, and work with our suppliers to make changes to our products that reflect our concerns for the planet. For example, the paper GCI magazine is normally printed on contains some percentage of recycled paper content; the cover stock contains 10% postconsumer waste and the inks used are soy-based. This issue is printed on a different paper than usual, one that contains even more recycled content, including the 10% postconsumer waste ordinarily used only for the cover. This greener paper is more expensive than that which we normally print on, a factor of going green that you have no doubt experienced. The new reality is that we will now always ask ourselves whether or not we are doing enough.

For many personal care consumers around the world, natural is all they know. In her story, “Green is Mainstream in India,” Priyanka Bhattacharya tells us green has always been “in” in India. The country’s Ayurvedic heritage places an emphasis on using natural products and herbs for beauty care.

From ancient roots to modern use, natural products have captured our imagination. Red Thalhammer takes a look at packaging those products in “Natural Product Packaging: Reflecting a Contemporary Philosophy.” She proposes that because consumers seeking organic and natural products look for brands that speak to their lifestyle, the packaging of such products must appeal to a contemporary mind-set. See what you think.

With news from France to India and all points between, we can’t forget to mention the folks close to home in the U.S. Midwest. I met recently with makeup artist and cosmetics entrepreneur Michael Perich, who has a thriving business in the Chicago area and an active e-commerce site. His Camp Cosmetics, one of a small number of cosmetics marketers in the area, grew, in part, out of his desire to brand something fabulous out of Chicago, a little “Chicago Chic” as he calls it. With a broad range—including color, skin care, hair care and two unisex fragrances—and a growing following, he is looking to expand into additional sales channels. In his shop, he’ll apply a customer’s makeup for a special occasion and educate her about cosmetics in the process: “A good day for me is getting to teach a customer something. That’s what will make me successful.” We wish him and all the other entrepreneurs in this industry every success.