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Biodiversity is the next frontier for sustainable beauty

“Sustainability” has been one of the biggest – if not the biggest – buzzwords in the beauty industry for years. Efforts and full marketing campaigns targeting refillable, recyclable and post-consumer recycled packaging, “clean” formulations, microplastics, carbon footprint, water waste, energy efficiency, supplier transparency, and so on have become abundant and commonplace. And all of these topics are important when it comes to answering consumer demand for beauty products that create less waste. But there’s also a less-discussed topic of arguably just as important that some believe is the new frontier of the sustainable beauty movement: biodiversity.

“Biodiversity is the variety of plants, animals and other living things on Earth. We all depend on nature for the raw materials we need for healthy living. By taking care of biodiversity, we take care of ourselves,” explains Lara Koritzke , communications, and director of marketing at the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), a nonprofit organization that promotes “respectful sourcing” for businesses and consumer goods makers.

While it’s common for beauty brands to discuss the hero ingredients in their products and sometimes even mention the origins of said ingredients, the focus on the biodiversity of the regions where they source their products has fallen by the wayside. This is where the UEBT comes into play, encouraging brands to consider less harmful practices and even adopt processes that invest in the health and long-term viability of an ecosystem, the local environment and the community as whole.

“When a company sources an ingredient, such as a flower, plant or root, from a farm that follows practices that reduce agrochemicals and/or promote beneficial insects, it benefits the local environment and surrounding communities,” explains Koritzke. “Those farms can see lower levels of chemical residues in waterways that supply drinking water to local communities, or they can see plants bearing more fruit from the effective pollination.”

Ultimately, the UEBT looks for businesses and consumers who want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

“Brands that are part of UEBT are working to give people a positive choice of products that respect biodiversity,” notes Koritzke. “This means they source their ingredients from biodiversity in a way that respects the local ecosystems and local communities where these materials are collected or grown.”

One beauty brand leading the way in sourcing ingredients for biodiversity is Fresh. The LVMH-backed skincare brand launched its White Truffle Crème Ancienne White Truffle Overnight Mask last fall — a luxurious (and pricey, at $385 a pop) skin-firming treatment meant to be worn while sleeping. To develop the formula and obtain the prized white truffle, Fresh teamed up with the UEBT and Save the Truffle, a local non-profit organization based in Alba, Italy. The latter’s mission is to introduce the public to the traditions of growing and foraging truffles, and to make an effort to protect the environment in the region, where most of the world’s white truffles come from (not to mention not to mention hazelnuts and really good wine).

With Save the Truffle, Fresh is educating consumers about how rare this ingredient is — white truffles can only be grown under strict environmental conditions, but are not allowed to be grown or cultivated — and is spending money on reforestation in the area to help promote such conditions and extend its longevity. to ensure. By doing so, it not only reduces its own impact on the environment, but is also taking steps to invest in the future of the truffle hunting industry, the natural ecosystem and the human population in the area.

In beauty and beyond, biodiversity will become a critical focus in 2022, Koritzke predicts, especially with the forthcoming formalization of the Global Biodiversity Agreement and its adoption by countries around the world.

“This agreement is similar to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but specifically targets biodiversity,” she explains. “With this agreement, we expect that more and more companies will have to be more transparent in their actions and show clear action towards protection.”

Working with the UEBT is a way for companies to clarify their biodiversity efforts, but not just any company can pay to get its stamp of approval.

“To become a member of UEBT, a company must first demonstrate compliance, sourcing responsibly from a specific part of the world, providing an idea of ​​its supply chain and finally objectives,” says Koritzke. “If a company is willing to commit to these requirements, it will automatically affect how they develop products in the future, as they will see through a lens with an enduring conscience. operate and act as a company.”

While Fresh isn’t the only brand the UEBT has partnered with – it also counts Givenchy Parfums, Christian Dior Parfums and Natura Brazil among its members – it is one of the first to take major action on biodiversity and speak so publicly about it. . Until recently, most communication from beauty brands on sustainability focused on things like packaging and recycling.

“This is very important, but what they may be missing is the soil impact of their sourcing of the raw materials,” explains Koritzke. “In general, many companies find it easier to focus on the later parts of the process, and this is understandable – there are clear positive steps that can be taken in the way you work with manufacturers or how you use the packaging materials for products. chooses — but at the production level, where everything starts, there are significant improvements that can be made for water, for the soil and for the local climate.These are the improvements that can affect local people and key ecosystems, so work on those improvements at the source, in the farms or sprawl for plants and other commodities, and investing in local communities can bring real positive change for people and biodiversity.”

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In addition to its own commitments, Fresh also hopes to draw attention to the concept of biodiversity in the beauty industry as a whole.

“Many beauty brands work to use ‘sustainable’ packaging and materials, but don’t focus as much on ensuring that the communities where their ingredients come from are maintained and preserved in a way that promotes biodiversity,” Tennille Kopiasz, Fresh’s global chief marketing officer, tells Fashionista. “Our work with these initiatives is extremely important and we hope to inspire other companies to make the same changes and work towards becoming more sustainable and biodiversity friendly.”

LVMH has had a majority stake in the brand since 2000 and with numerous other beauty brands under its umbrella (Guerlain, Benefit, Make Up For Ever, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and the Kendo range of brands, such as Fenty Beauty, Ole Henriksen and Bite), there is certainly room for this biodiversity priority ethos to expand across its portfolio.

“We are very proud to be the first LVMH brand to join UEBT and bring them to the group. We hope our work with UEBT inspires many beauty brands to commit to rethinking their practices and join us in a more sustainable future,” notes Kopiasz.

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Koritzke agrees that this is a promising area of ​​focus that offers many opportunities for beauty: “We do consumer surveys every year and we see that awareness of biodiversity is increasing and consumers expect brands to protect it. However, they also have a low trust that brands respect nature in their sourcing practices, so there is a real opportunity for brands to be more transparent and show clear actions.”

Ultimately, these companies need to make money and create value for their shareholders, and if consumers demand that they provide greater transparency or deepen their sustainability commitments, they have no choice but to do so, especially if their competitors already are.

“Across the industry, we are all seeing customers who are better informed about sustainability practices and expect transparency from the brands they support. That expectation will only increase in the future,” notes Kopiasz.

In other words, consumers have a voice when it comes to calling on brands to find actionable ways to fight climate change and prioritize a conscious approach to environmental impact. And it’s not just being listened to – it also raises the bar for brands across the industry, raising the bar on what it really means to be a “sustainable” brand.

Disclosure: Fresh paid for my travel and accommodation to visit Alba and see firsthand how white truffles are grown and bred in the region. The brand also coordinated access to UEBT representatives for the above interviews.

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This post Biodiversity is the next frontier for sustainable beauty

was original published at “https://fashionista.com/2022/01/sustainable-beauty-biodiversity-ingredient-sourcing-fresh-skin-care”

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