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A Deeper Shade of Green

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: August 31, 2011, from the September 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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According to Stewart Warburton, global marketing director of the home and personal care division for Rhodia Novecare, headquartered in Cranbury, New Jersey, “Rhodia has a sustainability policy called the Rhodia Way, which requires Rhodia manufacturing sites and business units to conduct self-assessments of their practices and establish plans to promote continuous progress.” As a result of the initiative, Rhodia has been recognized as one of only nine chemical companies worldwide to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, listing the most efficient companies in the area of social and environmental responsibility.

GAR Labs, a private label cosmetic manufacturer in Riverside, California, has also been cleaning up the act by cutting its factory water use in half by incorporating a 4 Stage Deionization system that removes 99.9% of all the impurities and minerals from GAR’s water supply for water used in manufacturing, as well as cleaning the equipment and machinery used in the production process. Additionally, GAR Labs has completed the installation a 100,000 watts of solar energy, covering 11,000 square feet and preventing 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere. “Today GAR’s customers want to be assured that the materials used in the products they sell are safe and that their products are produced in an environmentally responsible way,” states Tom Raffy, owner and founder of GAR Labs. “My commitment to minimizing GAR’s energy footprint which will help keep our customers competitive in today’s global economy.”

Measurable Results

Once these initiatives are in place, it’s time for suppliers to deliver results that will attract brands and ultimately, consumers.

Improving the production process of their offerings, whether they’re related to a beauty product’s ingredients or packaging, is a great place to start. “Specifically, we can point to the fact that since the 1990s, our sustainability practices have led us to eliminate more than 31 million tons of greenhouse gases and reduce the impact of organic waste in the water by 46%,” says Warburton. “One of the key achievements to date has been the installation of an environmentally friendly vapor degreaser utilizing a next-generation solvent, which has enabled Anomatic to greatly reduce the company’s overall fossil fuel dependence,” says Ormiston. “This latest innovation is capable of recovering more than 90% of the petrochemical lubricant used in the preceding process of metal fabrication for direct reuse by advanced filtration technologies.”

Going Local

Savvy consumers know that an organic claim doesn’t always mean eco-friendly; for example, a face cream may contain organic acai berries but its carbon footprint, when accounting for the energy used to transport it to the supplier alone, can be way off the charts. More and more, consumers are looking for products made from local resources to minimize environmental impact. Monadnock Paper Mills, based in Bennington, New Hampshire, has a long history of using sustainable and local sourcing for its production processes. “More than 40% of our electricity is hydroelectric, produced right by our plant,” says Dave Lunati, Monadnock’s director of marketing, of the facility owned by the mill since 1904. Additionally, all of Monadnock’s graphic arts printing and packaging papers are made using 100% renewable electrical energy and are manufactured carbon neutral.