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The Future is Here

By: Sara Mason
Posted: March 3, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 7

Without sustainability, making greener choices is irrelevant because there wouldn’t be any plants left to utilize. Biological processes that use enzymes or other natural elements to create the reaction to manufacture specific ingredients allow high-tech to merge with natural. It’s also critical to have new natural formulating ingredient options for emulsifiers, preservatives, solvents, etc.

The plant stem cells from different plants can be produced by a biotechnological approach, for example, to provide large amounts of active principles for cosmetic use without destroying the entire plants. There is no concern necessary about endangered plant species. “Today’s products require constant inno

vations, continuously moving toward natural and sustainability, respecting the environment,” says Roberto Ascoli, Symrise. The ingredient supplier is one of many vendors who has taken steps to move in this direction, not only through its BioActives division—including the recent addition of Actipone superfruits—but with alternative processing and manufacturing. Ascoli suggests goals for the industry should be innovation that is safe for the consumer and fully respecting a life cycle concept—natural source, respecting biodiversity, biodegradable, sustainable, in renewable packaging and with a low carbon print. In a market driven more and more by consciousness, not marketing, there is an ever-growing concern for keeping the planet for your children. “[Notably] younger consumers have built this as part of an ethereal world being, which has become intrinsic in their purchase choices,” he explained.

YG Labs’ Gadberry also emphasizes that as the industry delves deeper into biotechnological advances, more testing is needed to ensure products are safe, not just from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standpoint. Targeting cells, be they stem cells or other types, one must always make sure of the absence of foreseeable risks; the more potent the substances, the more important this aspect becomes. “What we put on the human body, if it can penetrate and have cellular activity or cause a chemical to be released that has cellular activity, can affect the human genome,” she explains. With the study of epigenomes, how lifestyle choices and even the products you use can affect the way the genome is expressed, the industry is beginning to see how genetic expression can change not only in a person’s lifetime but in a few days or weeks. This impacts individuals and the planet, and therefore succeeding generations.

“We need to ensure that our products are safe, more so than according to the FDA or through one ingredient supplier,” says Gadberry. “The responsibility falls on us to ensure claims and validate safety.” Products tend to be tested as stand-alone items, but consumers have multiple exposures from more than one product in a single morning. On top of that, not all genomes are the same, so what’s safe to one person is not necessarily safe for another.