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Fighting Against Green Beauty Roadblocks in Asia

Posted: August 13, 2014

With a growing population and burgeoning middle class, Asia has one of the fastest growing markets for beauty, cosmetics and personal care products in the world. However, cosmetic and ingredient firms in the region are coming under pressure to reduce their environmental footprints. What practical steps can Asian companies take to lower their environmental impacts? What can be done in terms of raw materials, formulations, production processes, packaging and distribution? What are some of the best-practices in footprint measurement and reduction?

Such questions will be addressed at the Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Taking place in Hong Kong on November 10 and 11, 2014, the summit will discuss environmental impacts in the context of sustainability metrics, natural ingredients and marketing best-practices. For the first time in Asia, a summit will discuss the various ways beauty and cosmetic brands and ingredient firms can take practical measures to reduce their environmental footprints.

A dedicated workshop will explore the various factors influencing the environmental footprint of cosmetic products. Details will be given on the impact of ingredients, manufacturing, distribution, consumption to post-use. Various metrics will be given for each stage of a cosmetic product’s lifecycle. With the use of case studies, advice and guidance will be given to beauty and ingredient firms looking to lower their environmental footprints to become more sustainable enterprises.

Kurt Nuebling, CEO and co-founder of Primavera, will kick off the conference with an opening keynote on green innovations. With some beauty brands shying away from sustainability because of concerns about higher costs and low innovation, he will explain how sustainability can spur creativity. In another seminar, Nuebling will give details on how Primavera has built a carbon positive facility in southern Germany.

Leading beauty firms and retailers will also share their experiences with sustainability at the summit. Sa Sa, a chain of over 270 cosmetics retailers in Asia, will give its perspectives on CSR and corporate governance: what are the key priorities of the beauty retailer? In another paper, a multinational beauty firm will highlight the major ecological and social challenges it faces in the Asian region.

Baby care also is one of the fastest growing categories in the Asian natural and organic personal care products market. Concerns about synthetic chemicals in baby care products are driving market growth. Robin Brown, CEO and founder of Erbaviva, will state the difficulties in building distribution in the disparate Asian region. Erbaviva is one of the few natural baby care brands with products carrying the coveted USDA Organic seal.

Formulating with natural and organic ingredients will be featured in a dedicated workshop and conference session. Oriflame will state the pitfalls and opportunities provided by certification; the Swedish company has developed the first line of certified natural and fair trade cosmetics. It is expanding sales of its Ecobeauty line to about 100 countries.

One of the major formulation issues associated with natural and organic beauty products and cosmetics is preservatives, specifically replacing parabens. Judi Beerling of Organic Monitor will conduct a workshop on the major green preservative options.

The Asian region is also experiencing ingredient fraud. Rising prices of natural raw materials have led to a number of incidents of mislabeling and adulteration. Using tea tree oil as a case study, details will be given on analytical techniques to authenticate cosmetic ingredients. Other papers will cover green emulsifiers and surfactants, natural actives and skin whitening ingredients.

By focusing on environmental impacts, this fourth Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit aims to tackle one of the major sustainability concerns of cosmetic companies in Asia. According to Amarjit Sahota, president of the summit organizer Organic Monitor, “Many Asian companies are lagging in terms of sustainability because they are not addressing their environmental footprints.” By putting the spotlight on this important topic, Asian companies should start making greater strides towards sustainability.