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Alissa Marrapodi

Alissa Marrapodi is the managing editor for inside cosmeceuticals and production editor for Natural Products INSIDER. She has a passion for all things natural, including food, cosmetics and supplements. She graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in journalism. She loves hiking, photography, red wine and traveling.

Sustainable Cosmetics Summit


Saturday closed the 2011 Sustainable Cosmetic Summit. I attended Friday’s session 5—Green Ingredients & Standards—and listened to NPA and NSF/ANSI speak about their labels, learned about the USDA BioPreferred program’s new bio-based label, and heard about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' agenda. I have to say, it was refreshing to be in an industry-rep filled room full of passion and tension (even a little contention). And I mean that literally. To know that people care, that people disagree, that people have “heated" opinions is refreshing compared to the complacent manner I’m accustom to. Not hostile, but attentive and concerned. People were full of agendas and the anxiety and frustration that’s surrounding the proliferation of labels manifested in attendees’ questions and loaded comments. It was interesting to witness.

A few highlights were the recently launched USDA Certified Biobased Label—which is an effort to certify companies that offer bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products. Basically, it certifies plant, animal and marine ingredients in commercial and consumer products (companies submit their finished product to the Program and through a series of tests, the Program designates what percentage is bio based). Two things I noted about this certification that seemed to stir some controversy were: the ingredients don't need to be organically grown nor non-GMO, and the end produce doesn't need to be biodegradable, etc., it's just a label for the ingredients, which could possibly lead to more consumer confusion rather than consumer clarity.

Stacy Malka, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, gave three drivers for the changing face of beauty:

  1. New science paradigm
  2. New policy paradigms
  3. New consumer paradigm

She also outlined the agenda of the National Safe Cosmetics Act, including safety standards, full disclosure and FDA recall authority. She noted a new version will be introduced into the House soon, as well as a new bill in the Senate.

I also found it interesting how food (e.g., non-GMO) and cosmetics overlap. The green movement and the move toward sustainable cosmetics always reminds me of a Cat Steven’s song, Ruins, in which he says, “Don’t stop that sun to shine, cause it’s neither yours or mine." From earth-friendly practices to an ongoing quest for preserving skin, it's all in the same family with overlapping efforts.

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