New Summit Highlights Need for Greater Sustainability Commitment

London – The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit ( drew to a successful close in Frankfurt on 16-17th November. Organised by Organic Monitor, the summit brought together some of the leading organisations involved in sustainability in the beauty industry, with participants coming from Europe, North & Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific.

The summit focused on various facets of sustainability, including eco-labels and standards, ethical sourcing, fairtrade concepts, biodiversity and green formulations. The opening address by George Korres, founder and CEO of Korres Natural Products, outlined the importance of commitment from the beauty industry, ‘sustainability should come from the heart and be improved by the mind, whereas many large companies are looking at sustainability from their minds only’. Korres shared his sustainability strategy which involves organic cultivation projects, reducing product packaging and setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Most debated occurred during the natural & organic cosmetic standard presentations. Many questions were posed to Betty Santonnat, Development Director of CosmeBio, who gave details of the new Cosmos standard. With much anticipation of this new initiative, the audience questioned the amount of organic ingredients in the organic standard and the process of measuring green chemistry. Ms. Santonnat stated the Cosmos standard was a start and that practical improvements will occur when implementation begins in January 2010. NaTrue presented its case for a unifying standard by highlighting its equivalency agreements with leading North American certification agencies.

Boots, a leading retailer and manufacturer of cosmetic products, stated it was supportive of eco-labels but decided to develop its own standard because of the confusion in the marketplace. Stephen Johnson, Sustainable Development Manager of Boots, shared research that showed safety was the number one environmental issue for consumers buying cosmetics & toiletries, however they were less spontaneous in mentioning specific chemicals.

Other papers in the CSR & Sustainability Best-Practices session focused on ethical sourcing, investing in developing countries and biodiversity protection. Dr. Bernhard Bauske, head of corporate strategy at WWF, outlined ways the beauty industry could reduce its ecological footprint. The Union for Ethical BioTrade highlighted the threat of biopiracy, and how its standard was developed to mitigate this environmental threat.

Fairtrade was also extensively covered in the summit, with details given of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation (FLO) and Ecocert schemes. Monica Norley, founder and director of the Visionary Soap Company, re-iterated the importance of corporate commitment to sustainability. The company shared its sustainability initiatives; its products were some of the first in the UK to carry the coveted FairTrade mark, and it has invested in social enterprise in South Africa.

Developing Green Formulations was the theme of the final summit session. Professor Ray Marriott from University of York highlighted green chemistry applications in cosmetics, stressing the need to ‘recycle and re-use plant materials’ because of dwindling levels of virgin materials. He believes the beauty industry needs to educate consumers on the life-cycle of cosmetic products in order to reduce their environmental impact. Other papers were given by leading ingredient suppliers, including Cognis and Dr. Straetmans.

The first-day of the summit comprised two interactive workshops, which also had full attendance. The first workshop, Business Opportunities in the Global Ethical Cosmetics Market, highlighted the difficulty in classifying and defining natural & organic cosmetics. The workshop highlighted the business openings in the global natural, organic and fairtrade cosmetics market. Case studies were given of leading brands such as Aveda, Dr. Hauschka and Jurlique and their pioneering business strategies.

A post-summit survey showed that 80% of the summit delegates were satisfied or very satisfied with the summit. Apart from the summit programme and quality of speakers, delegates enjoyed the networking sessions in which they met many new business contacts. The summit brought together leading cosmetic firms, raw material & ingredient suppliers, packaging companies, retailers as well as certification agencies and industry groups. The positive sentiment over the two-day summit was echoed by Eduardo Quasada, Marketing Manager of Eco Oil Argentina who travelled especially from Buenos Aires to the summit, ‘This was a fantastic summit, I really learned a lot about sustainability over these two days.’

The North American edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will take place in New York, 25-26th March 2010. The summit will have dedicated sessions on sustainability initiatives, marketing best-practices, sustainability standards & eco-labels, and green formulations. The proceedings of the European summit are now available for a small professional fee.

About the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
The aim of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is to cover the major issues the beauty industry faces concerning sustainability, natural, organic, fair trade and ecological products. The launch of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit follows the success of Organic Monitor's various seminars, workshops and summits. In 2009, over 600 executives from 5 continents have attended such events at various international locations that include Hong Kong, New York, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Munich and Nuremberg.

Further Information
More information is available from

For further information on the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, including summit pictures, please contact:

Ms. Tina Gill
Marketing Manager, Organic Monitor
Tel: (44) 20 8567 0788
Fax: (44) 20 8567 7164
Email: [email protected]

About Organic Monitor
Organic Monitor is a specialist research & consulting company that focuses on the global organic & related product industries. Since our formation in 2001, we have been providing a range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries. Our services include market research publications, business & technical consulting, summits, seminars & workshops. Visit us at

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