Green Means Go

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | June 4, 2012

Organic Monitor hosts its North American edition of Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York City.

The natural personal care consumer is looking for more in his or her products, and sustainability is the next frontier for marketers to conquer, according to presenters at Organic Monitor’s third annual North American edition of its Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Held in New York City at the Intercontinental New York Barclay on May 17-19, focal themes of the conference included green formulations and new ideas for packaging.

Technical issues of formulating green cosmetics (natural and organic) were covered in an interactive workshop too. All in all, there was something for everyone in attendance looking to learn a little more about the burgeoning green marketplace.

The North American market for natural personal care products has reached $5.4 billion in value, according to Organic Monitor. Most revenue increases are from outside the traditional channel of natural food shops. Burt’s Bees and Yes To brands have grown considerably in drugstores, while premium brands like Dr. Hauschka have become popular in beauty retailers. J.R. Watkins is focusing on multi-level marketing, while brands like Eminence Organic are targeting hair salons. Natural brands are also making inroads in mass market retailers, encouraging supermarkets to develop private label ranges, Organic Monitor said in its findings.

The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is a series of international conferences that focus on the leading issues the beauty industry faces concerning sustainability, natural, organic, fair trade and ecological products. The aim of the summit is to encourage sustainability in the beauty industry by bringing together key stakeholders and debate these major issues in a high-level forum, according to the London-based marketing and information services company that organizes the event.

Weleda’s Calendula field in Germany.
“Hot trends in the industry include the use of food ingredients, certified organic ingredients as well as novel ingredients,” Amarjit Sahota, president of Organic Monitor, UK, told Happi. “In terms of novel ingredients, we are seeing ethnic ingredients being used such as Amazonian oils like copaiba and inchi, acai berries and goji berries; African ingredients like shea butter, ximenia oil and babussa oil; as well as Australian bush spices. We are also seeing more plant-based ingredients used in place of synthetic ingredients—think green emulsifiers, paraben-free preservative systems and biodegradable hair polymers.”

Hello Green Tomorrow
Besides making headlines for a new CEO and a failed acquisition by Coty, Avon is making news for its green efforts. According to Susan Arnot Heaney, executive director, corporate responsibility, Avon Products, Inc., the company strives to minimize the environmental impacts resulting from its operations across the business enterprise.

Harvesters in the Weleda garden in France.
There is a focus on: responsible and efficient use of natural resources, waste minimization, material reuse and recycling practices and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions thatcontribute toclimate change.

The company also works to minimize its impact through the design and construction of green facilities, as captured by the company’s Green Building Promise, which ensures that all new facilities are constructed to certified green standards, such as its Shanghai R&D Center.

“In 2008, Avon met or exceeded nearly every one of its 2004 environmental goals. Moving forward, Avon established new short-term goals for 2012 and long-term targets for 2020,” said Heaney.

Avon also voluntarily files each year with the Carbon Disclosure Project, and these filings have been available for public review for several years.

Key environmental goals for the future include: a 20% absolute reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG)/carbon emissions by 2020, zero waste to landfills in recycling and 40% overall intensity reduction in water use.

Best Practices
Another trend in sustainable cosmetics is “radical transparency.”

“If you don’t have it, don’t bother showing up (to the market),” insisted Toby Heaps, co-founder and president of Corporate Knights, a research company that ranks global businesses based on their
sustainability efforts.

Rating benchmarks include resource management (by way of monitoring energy, productivity, carbon, water and waste), financial management (innovation capacity and CEO/worker salary) and employee management (safety, employee turnover and diversity).

Additionally, more supermarket chains are tossing their hats in the natural ring, according to Harriet Hentges, vice president and corporate responsibility sustainability, Ahold USA, which owns Stop & Shop, Giant, Martin’s and Peapod stores.

“The supermarket is the hub of public social activity. What happens there matters,” she said.
According to Hentges, the sweet spot in this fruitful marketplace is that sustainability itself is “good for society and good for business.”

This approach is applied in a variety of ways in-store, as an increasing number of marketers as well as retailers are working to shrink their carbon footprint by way of pursuing alternative fuels, recycling, contributing to the community and revamping packaging.

“The trend is ‘in you, on you and around you,’” Hentges concluded.

Linda Gilbert, CEO of EcoFocus Worldwide, a research and consulting firm, noted that “green is often confused with sustainable...green is the here and now, sustainability is the future.”

Members of the CEO roundtable share their knowledge.
According to Gilbert, 48% of Americans ages 18-65 think it is important to choose green toiletries, while 33% think it’s important to choose green cosmetics. And, don’t forget the guys: the green HBA marketplace is about 40% men.

Local versus organic is also on the rise. “Some see organic as overpriced and overpackaged. Local, as in made in the USA, can be desirable for its quality, freshness and contributions to our economy,” Gilbert said.

Horst Rechelbacher asks a question about sustainable cosmetics.
Commerce Today
A variety of tastemakers from the personal care industry were in attendance at the summit; thought leaders from Chanel, Coty, Seventh Generation and Burt’s Bees. All were there with the same mission in mind—to safeguard the future of this blossoming category with more innovation to cater to the rising demands of the modern consumer.

The CEO Roundtable on the second day of the Summit was the pinnacle of this discussion.

“Natural personal care shoppers are looking for the same thing any personal care shopper is looking for: efficacy!” said Jasper van Brakel, president and CEO of Weleda North America. “First and foremost, you want your skin care to be efficacious. Natural personal care shoppers are even more demanding though: on top of efficacy, they expect their skin care products to be made of natural and organic ingredients, without the use of any chemicals. After all, what goes on your skin goes into your body.”

According to van Brakel, the pomegranate is one of the hottest ingredients today. Weleda, which has been in business since 1921, has a fair trade partnership with a region in Turkey, where the company grows organic pomegranates.

“Our scientists develop every product based on their insights into the pharmaceutical and therapeutic benefits of each ingredient,” he said. “The seeds of the pomegranates are pressed into a precious oil, which is extremely rich in antioxidants and vitamins. This oil along with other 100% natural ingredients are used in our pomegranate products.”

“The customer isn’t willing to sacrifice performance, and they shouldn’t have to,” noted Mark Jacobs, CEO of J.R. Watkins Naturals, another longstanding company with a rich history in the segment.
“Shoppers are increasingly savvy when it comes to ingredients as well, and have an expectation that products will be free of parabens, petrochemicals and toxins. These ingredients have been under the spotlight and many customers are opting for natural personal care for this reason.”

According to Jacobs, there’s a renewed surge of essential oils in personal care.

“Ingredients like shea butter, apricot seed oil and nourishing extracts are good for the body and the marketplace is responding,” he said. J.R. Watkins recently launched a body oil mist in two scents, grapefruit and coconut.

“We’ve experienced growth around our grapefruit scent, first launched in 2011 in our home care line and then expanded to personal care,” said Jacobs.” This Spring, we launched our Grapefruit Sugar & Shea Scrub and it’s exceeding expectations at retail. People respond to the grapefruit scent because it’s uplifting and refreshing.”

The CEO roundtable also discussed challenges in the marketplace. According to Boldjarre Koronczay, CEO of Eminence Organics, packaging is extremely difficult to make marketable as well as sustainable. His organic skin care company recently started working with glass and bamboo packaging in this capacity.

“Keeping it real is another challenge we face,” noted Curt Valva, CEO of Aubrey Organics. “How can we source these ingredients? This is the bread and butter of the product…meeting these challenges is a way of life, a culture in a company. It’s not what you’re doing today, but over the course of time.”

Keynoter Insight
One of the boldface names that attracted guests to this event was keynoter Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda and Intelligent Nutrients. His speech on the second day was about grasping green market challenges.

“The word natural has no meaning to chemists and product designers from foods, cosmetics and other consumer products,” he told Happi. “It’s obvious I make products for the person who buys organically grown groceries and is committed to organic. They also understand the relationship between soil, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.We are organic farming practitioners and understand that insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides kill the productivity of the plants and deplete the soil.

“This then creates the issue of runoffs into rivers, lakes and where our drinking water comes from, which also connects to CO2 emissions…it is a holistic connection. Though there are different levels of education in shoppers those that understand what I just described are becoming a majority. They are taking control of their health by buying certified organic.”

Rechelbacher sees an opportunity for growth in plant stem cells in 2013 and beyond. For example, Intelligent Nutrients this year is adding an eyelift and a total body lift with plant stem cell technology.
“The future is in stem cell research because the science of plant stem cells is just at the threshold and is evolving very quickly. Particularly because it does not have the same regulations that animal and human stem cell research does,” he explained.

A Look Ahead
The naturals industry indeed is growing at a rapid pace, and there are no signs of it slowing. According to Sahota of Organic Monitor, major trends around the bend for the natural personal care industry include “mainstreaming” where natural personal care products move from specialist retail to mass market; the rise of the private labels, such as new natural ranges from Safeway and Kroger; to large multinationals developing natural lines, as seen at big hitters like J&J, L’Oréal and Beiersdorf.

According to Jacobs of J.R. Watkins, “With a spike in products and brands, the definition of ‘natural’ is expanding. It’s also not regulated in the market. We anticipate that companies will be looking to distinguish themselves through third-party verification.”

A growing number of natural food shops (including Whole Foods and PCC Natural Market) are demanding natural personal care products meet some industry standards,” added Sahota. Thus, NSF ANSI 305 and NPA are gaining popularity.

“Shoppers are becoming aware of the fact that the skin is our body’s largest organ,” said van Brakel of Weleda. “That insight will translate into more critical consumers who demand efficacy from pure, natural products … in 2020, the consumer will no longer buy a branded product simply because it has a green leaf on the bottle.”

Fresh, Clean and Green
New eco-sourced personal care products for the season.

• A new 100% USDA-certified organic bath and body collection will launch exclusively in all 300 Whole Foods Market doors nationwide. The collection, Nourish Organic Food for Healthy Skin, has been created and distributed by Sensible Organics Inc., a Pennsylvania-based organic beauty care company.

The Nourish bath and body collection consists of chemical-free formulas that rely solely on effective, nutrient-rich USDA organic certified fruits, vegetables and plant extracts to treat the skin the way nature intended, according to the company. The fresh, stimulating scents, found in Nourish’s range of products that contain body wash, hand wash, body lotion, body butter, body polish and deodorant, include Fresh Fig, Almond Vanilla, Lavender Mint and Wild Berries. The hand and body washes and body lotion will be launching exclusively at Whole Foods. The rest of the product line, retailing for less than $10, will roll out later this summer. The Nourish website, www.nourishusda.com, will be fully running, with e-commerce, when the products launch.

• Targeting those worried about hair damage from overwashing, Aveeno’s Pure Renewal collection aims to gently lift away impurities and provide balanced cleansing and conditioning, according to the company. Formulated with sulfate-free cleansers and without the use of parabens or synthetic dyes, the range features Active Naturals Balancing Seaweed Extract that cleanses hair without over drying. Natrasurf Technology—naturally-derived from potato starch—helps to minimize the amount of cleansers, while still producing the lathering and foaming sensation that consumers expect in hair care.

• The new Natural Mineral Sunscreen KidStick SPF 41 from MDSolarScience was designed with the particular needs of the under-12 set in mind. According to the company, this sunscreen solid offers a hypoallergenic formulation that provides effective broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with naturally derived non-irritating mineral sunscreens—zinc and titanium dioxide—ideal for children’s delicate skin. Like all MDSolarSciences sunscreens, the formulas meet FDA and European COLIPA standards for broad-spectrum protection and meet The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation Requirements. The KidStick is free from PABA, parabens, vitamin A, chemical blockers and fragrance. The water-resistant formulas go on quickly and will not run into children’s eyes.

• Put your best face forward with the new Nature’s Gate Facial Care collection. The natural personal care marketer combines advanced botanicals in gentle, dermatologist-tested formulas to deliver a host of anti-aging benefits, according to the company. For example, the Lemon Verbena Cleansing Gel (for normal/oily skin) is a sulfate-free gel cleanser said to lift away dirt and impurities while toning with lemon verbena, witch hazel and rosemary. This biodegradable cleanser, derived from sustainable palm oil, is combined with mild apple juice amino acids to gently wash delicate facial skin, said the company.

• Find happiness in the tub with Kneipp’s all-natural Pure Bliss Collection made with essentials oils of red poppy and hemp. Red poppy’s essential oil calms and soothes for a sense of well-being, while hemp oil is considered one of nature’s most precious oils and provides rich nourishment to the skin. The Pure Bliss Mineral Bath Salt is made from natural thermal spring salt sourced from Europe’s last remaining salt works, Saline Luisenhall. According to the company, these crystals are easily soluble and release hemp and red poppy essential oils when poured into a warm, steamy bath.

• Suki recently debuted its Delicate Hydrating Oil, a botanical body hydrator that soothes and helps protect dry skin while providing deep nourishment to the skin cells, according to the company. The weightless, non-greasy formula absorbs quickly. Rose petals, packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids, along with apricot kernel oil, rich in vitamins A and E, blend perfectly with cold pressed fruit oils, to soften and soothe the skin for a radiant and glowing appearance.

• The new Pomegranate Clarifying/Pore
Minimizing/Mattifying Toner from Korres
for oily to combination skin features 99.0% natural content and is made with 15% pomegranate water and natural astringents. Witch hazel water and alpine willow herb extract help to refine the appearance of pores and provide a matte finish, while salicylic acid conditions skin, according to the company.

• Babo Botanicals is bulking up its Bubble Bath & Wash collection with a Cucumber Aloe Vera Swim/Sport variation. This plant-based SKU was designed for usage after swimming, sports and sun, as it gently washes away chlorine, salt, sweat and sunscreen.

• Eminence Organic Skin Care is bulking up its Organic Beauty Collection with six new SKUs.

The products include the Vanilla Latte Tinted Moisturizer SPF 25, a nourishing day cream with a sheer sun-kissed glow for lighter skin tones; and versatile antioxidant mineral foundations created with acai berry, green tea and rosemary to protect skin while evening the complexion.