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Green Convergence

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: June 5, 2007, from the June 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“The International Standard for the Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) offers the first program of its kind, which attempts to establish a universally certified protocol for ethical wild crafting,” said Mike Irwin, director of business development, Draco Natural Products. He notes that while Draco is not the only company that practices ethical wild crafting, it works with a large number of different raw material suppliers that do, and its product line consists of a large percentage (70%) of ethically wild crafted botanicals. “This makes Draco one of the largest suppliers of ethically wild crafted botanicals extracts,” said Irwin. In addition, the company never harvests more than one-third of an individual stand of plants, and if possible, the spot is reseeded.
There are, however, no universally accepted or certified ethical wild crafting practices in place; the practice is left to environmental organizations found in the country of harvest.

Finished Products with Natural Appeal

The industry abounds with natural, organic/natural and synthetic blend options whose appeal is unmistakable to the growing legion of healthy beauty converts, and savvy marketers recognize the desire for natural products and look for innovative ways to open product niches. JASON Natural Personal Care Products, for example, utilizes healing herbs, organic ingredients and innovative manufacturing techniques in the creation of its product lines. The company’s Wild Yam Deodorant Stick, 70% Organic, is formulated with green tea and valerian extracts, plus vitamins B5 and E, and was created to deliver comforting freshness during PMS and menopause. Natural Skincare also believes its customers should benefit from nature and be educated to care about the ingredients in their skin care, just as they care about the ingredients in their food. Zia, also owned by the Hain Celestial Group, is committed to creating beauty products using whole foods, pure essential oils and healing botanical extracts. The brand combines the company philosophy of natural skin care with a practical social corporate conscience. As a result, this brand appeals to its consumers’ sense of physical and mental well-being.

At the same time, brands can appeal to consumers through the philosophies and policies behind their products. Liz Earle Naturally Active Bodycare was created by an active proponent of the “green lifestyle,” Liz Earle, who began her career as a health and beauty editor of Woman’s Journal magazine in the U.K. The company, which is nicknamed The Greenhouse, is run on green principles—including a ground source heat pump and rainwater harvesting system, which collects rain from roof panels. Her skin care products are not tested on animals, do not contain mineral oil, but are made with plants and botanicals, providing an eco-friendly alternative to petro-chem synthetic ingredients. The company employs two ethnobotanists who source the safest ingredients, as well as measure environmental impact. Living up to green philosophies through manufacturing practices demonstrates a commitment appreciated by a growing market segment.

Growing innovation in both sourcing and marketing naturals and continued positive response from consumers will continue to strengthen the links between nutrition, well-being and beauty. Marketers would do well to ride the unstoppable green wave to continue engaging consumers with growing choices.