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Opportunities and Advantages in Green

By: Sara Mason
Posted: January 19, 2011, from the January 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 7

Arch Personal Care Products is focusing heavily on natural ingredients and preservatives, specifically for controlling microbial growth. Consumers don’t appreciate the importance of preservatives, and pressure to regulate and remove effective preservatives could potentially harm them. Effective preservatives capable of ensuring microbiological safety with few reactions have been demonized without serious scientific support, according to some experts. “Infections. Contamination. These are not things that should be taken lightly,” Gruber explains. “There are ingredients on the label for a reason: to maintain the integrity of the product.”

It is an opportunity, however, for suppliers to meet consumer needs in innovative ways. Arch’s Mikrokill ECT was created in response to a growing market need for a cosmetic preservative with wide global regulatory acceptance. The patent-pending, paraben-free and formaldehyde-free preservation system features an antimicrobial blend of widely accepted ingredients that provide broad-spectrum activity on bacteria, yeast and molds: benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, glycerin and sorbic acid. “We’re still looking for alternatives to benzyl alcohol, but otherwise we are working our way to a completely natural and efficacious product,” says Gruber.

Arch is also looking into extracts from natural products that have preservation qualities to meet this new demand within the regulatory environment. The company does its own challenge testing in-house, taking a finished product and introducing microorganisms to see if it’s able to withstand them. “We are screening a number of natural ingredients for use as preservatives,” Gruber says.

Balancing Act

Yet, some innovations can’t be replaced with biotechnology. “There is a balance required,” says Gruber. “Relationships with indigenous cultures, the idea of making sure the people harvesting the crops are receiving sustainable contributions, is going to play a critical role moving forward.” Arch Personal Care Products has the ability to source botanical extracts through several global distribution partnerships with indigenous people in Africa, South America and China. The company’s alliance with the Centroflora Group of Brazil, for example, will afford Arch a sustainable organic botanical extract portfolio comprising products from Brazil offered with full traceability of the produced extract, guaranteeing the safety and quality of raw materials.

Natural and organic ingredients supplier Beraca recently has been recognized as a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) as it aims to develop its sustainable use and supply of ingredients from the Brazilian biodiversity, as well. Beraca’s primary goal: developing the sustainable use and supply of ingredients from the Brazilian biodiversity following environmental, social and economic criteria. Beraca aims to be completely transparent, to assist consumers in proving their acquisition of natural ingredients is carried out in an ethical manner. “Green” products do not necessarily refer to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity but to biodiversity-based products and processes—which are increasingly subjected to patent protection. This raises critical questions on how access to the resources and associated traditional knowledge took place, and how derived benefits are shared.