Spreading Clean Beauty

Which sustainable technologies are the future of clean beauty

There are numerous factors fueling the spread of sustainable technologies in the cosmetics industry: from climate change to new legislation, to evolving notions of health amongst consumers, innovation is gathering pace. This is bolstered by the greater availability of sustainable ingredients and wider public awareness, oftentimes promoted by the industry itself: according to a study from Unilever, a third of consumers are now basing their purchasing decisions on the brand’s social and environmental impact.

This pressure to make the industry more sustainable is greater than ever before. We have already seen a marked shift towards natural and organic formulations, and now, this environmentally conscious approach is extending to all sections of the supply chain. Brands are now working to make their processes eco-friendly from every angle, applying sustainable technologies to manufacturing, packaging, and waste management.

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A totally transparent supply chain

Consumers’ notion of sustainability is becoming more sophisticated. This is why we’re seeing a shift from ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ to ‘clean’. Consumers now understand that just because a product is natural, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ethically sourced; indeed, many crops are notionally ‘natural’ ingredients, but it’s well-documented that intensive crop production leads to enormous environmental harm. Equally, various types of crop cultivation use vast amounts of water and waste.

Instead, ‘clean’ is gaining greater prestige. It implies that ingredients are produced in an ethical, safe, and environmentally sound manner, whether that be synthetically or organically. This increasingly sophisticated approach to sustainability is supported by a growing demand for full ingredient transparency, where companies communicate how products are formulated in an intelligible and readily available manner. This has led to the rise of recognizable industry certifications, such as COSMOS organic and the Credo Clean Standard.

Sustainable technologies are transforming our approach

In light of this increasingly sophisticated attitude to eco-friendly practices, sustainable technologies are refining every aspect of the production process. Manufacturing is increasingly oriented towards efficiency, reducing energy and water consumption, and setting zero waste targets. Recyclable packaging is also becoming more pervasive, with sustainably sourced materials like water-based coatings and vegetable-derived inks. Equally, bio-plastics are an expanding field seeking to reduce the industry’s reliance on petroleum derivatives.

Furthermore, lab-based sustainable technologies are moving from packaging into formulas themselves. As petrochemical stocks decline – both materially speaking and as consumers seek to actively avoid them – cosmetics companies are seeking to create plant-based alternatives. Inspired by agricultural ‘green chemistry’ and oleo chemistry, brands are creating lab-grown, clean ‘natural’ ingredients. It may sound counterintuitive, but green consumers approve: according to Mintel’s 2030 Trend Report, lab-grown will become the new organic or cruelty-free.  

Provital’s commitment to sustainability

Taking care is the force that moves us forward, and is also our commitment to people, communities, and the planet. That’s why Provital is fully committed to sustainable technologies and practices. Currently, Provital deploys a circular economy that seeks to eliminate waste through the continual re-use of resources. Today, we recover 82% of our waste, up 8% over the last ten years. It’s these practices that make our portfolio truly clean – something that’s rigorously certified and clearly communicated to clients with COSMOS organic certification.

Our commitment to sustainability and ethical production extends to every aspect of our supply chain. Provital is proud to be the first cosmetic ingredients supplier worldwide to fulfill the Nagoya Protocol’s requirements, and our social responsibility programs have received international praise. For instance, our collaboration with Mujeres y Ambiente in Queretaro, Mexico, was awarded the Equator Prize for sustainable, socially responsible business. Closer to home, the BioDeVaTe project strengthens our ties with local producers of botanicals to minimize our carbon footprint.

We take care when we act – and Provital is constantly working to develop sustainable technologies that help us and the wider industry actively care for the planet, people, communities, and the consumer.

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