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Defining the Future: Part Two in Our Ongoing Web Series

Posted: March 5, 2008
GCI magazine’s interview with natural and organic cosmetics and personal care brand owners and suppliers turned up more answers than we could print in our March 2008 issue. Here is a second major topic we explored. Stay tuned, as this is part of an ongoing series of discussion topics.

GCI: How important is it to go green at your company, and how does producing a natural or organic brand further the eco-friendly vision you have?

Nick Koutsianas, Founder, APIVITA S.A., www.apivita.gr: Actually, this is the most important element in our philosophy and definitely something that we supported long before it became a trend in the market. Our vision was and still is the use of renewable sources of energy, the holistic approach in resolving everyday health and beauty problems and not just the treatment of symptoms, [but] striking a balance of body, mind and soul, [while] protecting the environment. Our new “go green” approach includes one of Greece’s first, bio-climate type production plants, which is going to be ready for APIVITA next October. State-of-the-art filters will be used in order to keep gas emissions as low as possible. Also, a standard unit of biological cleaning will be set up for the liquid waste whose water is going to be used for the garden around the plant. Solar systems will be implemented in order to utilize renewable sources of energy and reduce the levels of energy loss. The whole plant is designed to be of low nuisance to the community and hopefully an inspiration for the people towards a more natural way of life. Apart from that, through APIVITA’s participation in a new company named Holophyton, we will ensure the traceability of our raw materials. Holophyton will be cultivating aromatic and pharmaceutical plants and will also produce bee products. Through its collaboration with Universities and Research Institutions, Holophyton will apply fiducial methods of cultivation in order to achieve the maximum percentage of active ingredients in the products.

Mike Indursky, Chief Marketing & Strategic Officer, Burt’s Bees Inc., www.burtsbees.com: This company was founded on two simple and profound beliefs: natural products work in harmony with our bodies to promote balance and well-being; and we should respect, preserve and improve the precious resource of our environment. To effectively operate at the highest levels of sustainability, we have set 2020 Sustainability Goals and key performance indexes regarding waste and energy reduction. In fact, all employee bonuses are tied to performance in sustainability. Specifically, here are some of the ways we’re reaching our goals. We have offset all of our energy use through Renewable Choice Energy until we have access to alternative energy sources for our operations in N.C. We are partnering with the Pollinator Partnership to raise awareness of declining honeybee health, an issue near and dear to us. We produced a PSA on the subject which ran before Bee Movie (first two weeks of launch). The PSA encouraged consumers to sign up for bee-friendly seeds on our Web site, and millions of flowers have been planted as a result. We are dedicated to environmentally sensitive packaging as outlined above. We use LEAN manufacturing processes to ensure that we operate our facilities with the least amount of energy, water and waste. We’ve forged a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, which to start, has resulted in a completed home in the first low-income green community in North Carolina, Hope Crossing. Over 160 employees dedicated nearly 2,000 hours to help build the home and have supplemented the company’s sponsorship with their own resources to provide additional green features, such as solar panels. The new Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation will extend our philanthropic effort through a giving program funded by a percentage of sales that will support local and national organizations working in the areas of our Greater Good model—natural (well-being), environmental (sustainability) and humanitarian (social responsibility).

Curt Valva, General Manager, AUBREY ORGANICS, Inc., www.aubrey-organics.com: For us, being green is not new. It has been a way of life for many years. Being green is not just about what is contained in the product. It is about manufacturing methods, sourcing, up-and-downstream critical decisions, and we take those very seriously. We do not release toxins into the air, land or water. What is refreshing is that others are catching on. Manufacturing a green, sustainable product has been at the forefront of our mission for many years. It is just too bad it took a fad for others to get on the bandwagon, but we are happy as it is the best thing for our planet.