Spreading Clean Beauty

How we can work towards making cosmetics production more sustainable

Pioneering beauty brands are paving the way for a more sustainable industry. Environmentally-friendly alternatives are set to take over the market, demonstrating that eco-conscious cosmetics are the new must-have. Now, green is glamorous and caring for the planet is the key beauty trend. However, this needs to go far beyond branding; every aspect of cosmetic production should be fully sustainable.

This is an urgent project. Every year, more than eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the oceans, polluting our environment and putting our health and wildlife at risk. It is necessary to drive a global initiative to limit environmental damage and the beauty industry has a vital role to play. From ingredient sourcing to packaging, energy consumption to waste management, the $532 billion beauty and personal care industry need to take action.

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This isn’t only a moral imperative; consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products. In 2018, McKinsey’s Business of Fashion study found that 66% of millennials globally are willing to spend more on sustainable brands. Clearly, innovation is key, but where should beauty brands seek inspiration to make every aspect of cosmetics production more sustainable? And what might this entail?

Looking to nature for inspiration

Of course, nature holds a wealth of possibilities when it comes to creating sustainable beauty. By combining nature and science, we can create ingredients that care for the skin and the planet. However, this is providing these ingredients with responsible sourcing. If we are indeed taking ingredients straight from the Earth, the environmental impact of their extraction needs to be assessed. 

For example, how are local flora and fauna impacted by their cultivation? Is conventional agriculture encouraging local communities to clear wild spaces to convert it into farmland? Thus, within the context of sustainable cosmetics production, it is essential that beauty brands look for innovative ways to source natural ingredients. We need to ask ourselves if these ingredients can be sourced sustainably, locally, and with a minimal carbon footprint

Case Study: Cosmetic production and BioDeVaTe

When sourcing natural ingredients, Provital keeps full supply chain transparency at the forefront of our approach. We examine the sustainability of farming techniques, the integrity of the ingredient, and apply access and benefit-sharing principles as they pertain to the local community. Through this ethos, we aim to make cosmetic production authentically sustainable.

One such example is BioDeVaTe. This Provital project began in 2009, in partnership with Parc de les Olors and other farmers in the Vall de Tenes, a community 50 km from our HQ in Barcelona. In collaboration with these farms, we obtain raw materials from native Mediterranean aromatic plants that are fully traceable, grown locally, and organically using a sustainable cultivation system. These raw ingredients are used in Provital’s EcoLine active ingredients, all of which are COSMOS organic certified. Furthermore, this project promotes awareness of the region’s botanical diversity. Through scheduled visits to the cultivation sites by schools and other relevant associations, Provital and the BioDeVaTe organic farmers seek to educate visitors about sustainable farming and the biodiversity of the local area.

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