THE PERSONAL CARE INDUSTRY HAS EMBARKED ON A JOURNEY TO INCORPORATE GREENER AND
MORE ETHICALLY AND SUSTAINABLY SOURCED INGREDIENTS AND MANUFACTURING PROCESSES.
THERE WAS a time when having shea butter in a formulation was enough information to win over a skin care customer. But in the modern personal care marketplace, ingredients
like shea are being scrutinized far beyond their efficacy and aesthetic value. Consumers, retailers and stakeholders are asking
questions: Where did it come from? How it was sourced? Did
local people benefit from the harvest?
It’s a sign that consumption of green, natural and organic ingredients and products is no longer just “what’s in it for me”—
there’s emphasis on the greater good too.
“As plant based ingredients are gaining more and more currency, we are seeing a big shift. Green ingredients were produced
for consumer safety. Now there is a shift in terms of environmental focus,” noted Amarjit Sahota, founder and president of
Organic Monitor, at his organization’s Sustainable Cosmetics
Summit held in New York City last month.
Faced with the need to be greener, more ethical and put less
of a strain on Mother Earth as they produce their wares, personal
care manufacturers are looking down the supply chain to achieve
Just last month, L’Oréal provided an update on Sharing
Beauty with All (SBWA), its sustainability report that highlights
various examples of its carbon, solar and energy reduction efforts.
In the report, L’Oréal also spells out future plans for its raw materials supply chain.
In SBWA, L’Oréal states, “we will innovate so that 100% of
products have an environmental or social benefit” including that
new formulas will use“renewable raw materials that are sustain-
ably sourced or raw materials derived from green chemistry.”
L’Oréal’s internal assessment tools are used to“screen all of
its raw materials of plant origin according to multiple social and
environment criteria, so as to identify the most meaningful op-
portunities for improved sustainable sourcing,” noted Jonathan
Maher, AVP-corporate social responsibility and sustainability,
L’Oréal USA. “Essentially the company favors those ingredients
for which a more sustainable procurement will generate the
greatest positive social and environmental impact. These are for
the most part ingredients of plant origin whose production relies
heavily on manual labor.”
According to Maher, L’Oréal investigates with its supplier the
conditions of cultivation, and “more generally the environmental
and social impacts of its supply chain.”
As examples, he called attention to shea butter and argan oil.
“If you take two of our characteristic sustainably-sourced in-
gredients, shea butter and argan oil, the fair wages and commu-
nity services that were put in place have had a large-scale impact.
In the case of shea butter, it has benefited thousands women in
Burkina Faso and hundreds of women in Morocco in the case of
According to Maher, the approach taken with these two in-
gredients is being extended to all of L’Oréal’s renewable raw ma-
terials. “We are committed by 2020 to ensure that 100% of our
renewable raw materials are sustainably sourced,” he said.
It all begins at the supplier level, and as such, leading
Christine Esposito • Associate Editor
How argan gets from this
tree and into a finished
personal care product
matters more than ever.