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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 6 of 7

The innovations of the industry
Euromonitor International states that 2007 was a year of innovation that pulled together trends to satisfy a broad range of consumer demands and looked beyond the beauty industry for inspiration. Where have you looked for inspiration? What green innovations do you believe have made the biggest impact on the beauty industry? What innovations are you exploring?

Zurek: From a strict package design point of view, we look across markets for innovations. As a packaging supplier to many different industries, we can truly look at a cross-section of trends and look to bring a concept that worked for a pharmaceutical customer to someone in the cosmetic field.
     I think we’re most interested to see how PLA evolves over the next few years. Right now, there are a few too many restrictions to its use, but we anticipate innovations to come forth that make it much more user-friendly.
Gill: The food industry has been a great inspiration for us, as some of our skin care items are actually edible. Thefood industry innovation in eliminating certain synthetic ingredients has certainly helped us in raising the bar for green cosmetics. We are always trying to explore ingredients that have been harvested with not only eco-responsibility in mind, but socioeconomic responsibility to the rural community these ingredients are harvested from.

Gentile: Advances in recycled materials are where I believe the biggest impact has been made. For years, people could create a package out of 100% virgin plastic and they could still put info about the recyclability of the package on their artwork to make it look environmentally friendly. But even the highest estimates of consumer recycling stand at about 30%. So, what is better? To have a 100% virgin package that is recycled 30% of the time, at most? Or to have a 100% recycled package that is not recyclable?

Duber-Smith: There are several green innovations, thanks to some of the more daring chemists, including 100% natural products that are now possible—with no synthetically derived or processed ingredients, including preservatives. Aveda taking steps to green its packaging and encouraging suppliers to produce more sustainable options has made a big impact on the beauty industry.

Schiek and Basanta: As a global focus for drom, we have been looking toward technological advances to inspire us in moving forward. We’re currently making huge strides and advances in this area and will continue to explore new opportunities. Our biggest initiative in the green movement is our Pureganic program. We understood the consumer’s needs as well as perfumers’ limitations in how certain raw materials smell. By ways of traditional distillation, many raw materials do not smell true to life, and we wanted to address this. By developing a method of steam distillation, we have reduced the time it takes to recover oil and thus preserve the essential components that burn off in traditional methods. This then creates a far superior oil and a virtually new palette for perfumers to work with.
The growth of green
How has demand for naturals and sustainable products fostered product development? Is it a gradual process, or have you been forced to make large and immediate strides? Have innovations had to veer from course? For example, have innovations other than those impacting green trends had to be set aside?