GREEN, SUSTAINABLE & ETHICAL INGREDIENT SOURCING
The practice continues today as sales associates serve as messengers, providing customers with that“something to love about
a product, beyond the efficacy,” said Jennifer Barckley, director,
brand communications and values, The Body Shop, during her
presentation at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.
Even the biggest mass-market retailers are more vocal.
Earlier this year Walmart unveiled its Sustainability Leaders
shop, the online shopping portal on Walmart.com that helps customers identify and purchase products from suppliers that the
retailer contends are leading in sustainability. The launch helps
to“advance Walmart’s goal to offer customers a way to choose
products they can afford, and that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way,”according to the company.
“The Sustainability Leaders shop on Walmart.com is the first
step in helping our customers identify which brands and sup-
pliers are leading the way in sustainability,” Neil Ashe, president
and CEO of global e-commerce for Walmart stores, said in a press
statement. “Our customers can trust us to work with suppliers
who have an ongoing commitment to both sustainability and
According to Kathleen McClaughlin, SVP-sustainability,
Walmart has done the“heavy lifting” to empower its customer to
“put their money where their heart is.”
Customers can do the same at Target.
This Spring the retailer rolled out its newest
and largest ever Made To Matter collection,
which Kathee Tesija, chief merchandising
and supply chain officer, said delivers cus-
tomers “better-for-you and better-for-the-
world products, and our research shows that
they seek authenticity and transparency from
the brands they buy.”
Sustain or Improve?
Authenticity and transparency are essential,
according to the leaders in sustainability.
“When you are selling products, you are
building trust. Our number one product we
are selling is trust,” Pangea Organics founder
Joshua Onysko said during the Sustainable
Onysko, who serves as chief product officer for the 15-year-old firm, pointed to the
growing toolbox of organic and sustainable
ingredients that can now be used to formulate Pangea’s products.
“When I had to make our first organic
skin cream, there were only three organic
emulsifiers in the world. I hated dealing with
them. We were tiny customers to them. Now,
my email box is flooded with emulsifiers and
At the Summit, Onysko challenged the use of the word sus-
tainability, suggesting it doesn’t get consumers excited.
“We don’t want to sustain. When we leave the planet, don’t
we want it to be better?” he asked.
But there are big challenges to be sustainable, especially for
smaller firms that pay more for raw materials because they buy
by the bucket rather than drum.
“To be honest, for a small company, it is very expensive,” ac-
cording to Curt Valva, general manager, SVP, Suki Skincare. “It
would be very easy to use less packaging or to compromise on
the quality of the ingredients, or dumb down product to put a
little more profit in your pocket.”
Yet the leaders in the sector—including others on the panel
(W.S. Badger, Pangea and Intelligent Nutrients)—are the ones that
“walk the walk,” according to Valva.
And as such, they have a responsibility that stretches beyond
sourcing to product safety and how finished products degrade
when washed down the drain.
“We need to start with the ingredients. When doing formulations, let’s plan,” he said. “When we come up idea with idea for
a new shampoo, we need to think, at that point, about what is
going to happen at the very end.” •
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