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The Green Report: The Question Begs the Answer
By Jeff Falk
Posted: January 30, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
page 2 of 7
The call to action
What has had the greater impact thus far—regulation initiatives on chemicals, such as the REACH law from Europe and California’s Prop 65; initiatives by retailers; or consumer demand?
Zurek: Retailers seem to have had the biggest effect. We all know the effect Wal-Mart is having on sustainable packaging trends, but it’s also stores like Whole Foods and similar outlets that are creating the retail/marketing-based push towardsustainability, even before the consumer is asking for it.
Gentile: Personally, it seems to me that consumer demand has had the greatest impact thus far. And currently, there are some pretty big initiatives by retailers that seem to be driving the market. However, I don’t think we would even see those initiatives by retailers if there wasn’t such a huge—and growing—consumer demand for sustainable products.
Duber-Smith: Regulations have had very little impact, as they come late to the party. The rapidly growing number of natural/organic companies don’t use the banned ingredients as it is. What these regulations do is remind larger manufacturers and suppliers that, not only are consumers interested in what they are putting on their bodies, but the government is watching, too. Making more sustainable products will increasingly be seen as a reducer of risk for organizations as consumers, regulators, nonprofit interest groups, the media and smaller upstarts drive the market toward healthier, more environmentally responsible products.
Schiek and Basanta: Consumer demands have had a far greater impact, thus far, than regulation initiatives. In the end, consumers will really see the effects, as restrictions and guidelines are established on all goods. The regulation initiatives have a great impact on the perfumistic creativity; however, the consumer might not always be aware of the difference as she often does not read or may not understand the ingredient list on products.
The inspiration for ecology
How has innovation in both sourcing and marketing been impacted? Is the greening a new opportunity or a hurdle to overcome?