Christine Esposito • Associate Editor
EVERY COMPANY needs to be green, or at the very least, get- ting greener every single day. More and more consumers want to do business with brands that care for the planet
and its people as they make and sell their products—and not just
the über eco-minded Millennials or aging Boomers who once
protested for peace at the corner of Haight and Ashbury. It’s the
average Joe and soccer mom too.
Tom Chappel, founder of Tom’s of Maine, has watched the
category evolve over the years since he created his iconic natural
personal care company in 1970. He was the keynoter who opened
Organic Monitor’s 7th annual North American Sustainable
Cosmetics Summit in New York City in May.
Chappel traced the evolution of the naturals category beginning in the 1970s when Baby Boomers began looking for alternatives to commonly hyped conventional products (think Wonder
Bread). They wanted products that were “natural,” meaning no
additives, dyes or the like.
“It left companies like Tom’s to formulate without preserva-
tives and get efficacy proven without animals,” said Chappel.“We
turned ourselves inside out. We didn’t comprise.”
Chappel spoke about how today, Millennials are shaping the
future of green products.
“Millennials are adamant and passionate about sustainability.
They talk about it all the time. They expect better service, better
responsiveness and along with it, they want it with a better price,”
Regarding the sale of his company in 2006, Chappel said, “In
our case, finding a strategic partner was the right thing for us; it
allowed us to expand the influence of the brand and do things
we could not do. We selected Colgate-Palmolive because we liked
them and trusted them.”
Today, Chappel heads a clothing company called Ramblers
Way Farm. It has a fully integrated vertical American supply chain
starting with wool sourced in Montana, Colorado, Nevada and
California and ending with a final stop in Maine where it is in-
spected for final quality.
“That’s what happens to you when it gets into your blood,
and creating brands that make a difference is what it is all about,”
Following Chappel, Amarjit Sohota, founder and president of
Organic Monitor, provided
an overview of the two-day
event before handing the
microphone to Annabelle
Stamm, a senior consul-
tant with Quantis, who
the Footprint of Cosmetics
She spoke about the
importance of lifecycle
analysis to measure and
reduce a company’s foot-
print and presented the
classic case of paper vs.
plastic bags to show how
from a sustainability point
of view, answers are not al-
ways clear cut.
“What does sustain-
ability mean to a com-
pany?,” Stamm asked the
audience. “Often we think
of certain aspects like bio-
based, certified organic,
etc…but they don’t say
anything about the actual
impact of the product on
LCA, she said ”informs
and empowers decision
makers and it provides
In her presentation,
Stamm also spoke about
companies that are leading the way in LCA (citing
Firmenich and L’Oréal as examples) and how firms can use metrics to engage stakeholders.
“Nobody is expecting companies to be perfect, but they want
Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event to
hear how brands are navigating the intricate role sustainability plays in cosmetics
manufacturing and marketing.
Above: Tom Chappel, founder of Tom’s of
Maine, was a keynote speaker at this year’s
Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.
Below: L’Oréal’s Jonathan Maher discussed
“Putting Sustainability Into Action.”