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Sustainable Cosmetics Summit Europe—Ingredients, Distribution


LONDON—Sustainable ingredients and distribution innovations are the focal themes of the European edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in Paris Nov. 28 to 30, 2011. The summit will bring together leading organizations involved in sustainability in the beauty industry to debate key industry issues.

Rising oil prices and dwindling supply are leading many companies to turn to plant-based feedstock for cosmetic ingredients. However, this development raises many questions about sustainable harvesting, processing and use of such ingredients. The Sourcing and Using Sustainable Ingredients session discusses such concerns. Romain Ruth, CEO of Florame, discusses the pitfalls and challenges of sourcing raw materials from developing countries. Another paper by AAK looks at the complexities of sustainable sourcing of commodities, such as vegetables oils. Other speakers will discuss the sustainable use of plant feedstock, deriving novel actives from food crops and major green certification schemes.

A conference session and workshop is devoted to Marketing & Distribution Innovations. Although growth in the sustainable cosmetics market is continuing, market conditions have changed considerable in recent years. The entry of large multinationals, retailer private labels and other new brands are raising competitive stakes. Marketing has come to the forefront, with many brands competing on communications, positioning and distribution.

The direct route is becoming popular for some natural and organic cosmetic brands aiming to get closer to consumers. Melvita, a frontrunner in building an international retail network, shares its experiences in developing concept stores. Other papers discuss the potential of the hotel and spa channel, merging green fashion and beauty, retailers’ perspectives and marketing claims. Judi Beerling will present the latest findings from Organic Monitor’s Brand Assessment study that investigated marketing claims of natural and organic brands. Kathy Sheen from GfK Roper Consulting shares insights into consumer behavior toward sustainable cosmetics. The session adjourns with a panel discussion on green marketing and greenwashing.

A detailed analysis of the European natural and organic cosmetics market is given in a workshop on day three of the summit program. Titled Business Opportunities in the European Natural Cosmetics Market, the latest market and competitive developments will be presented. With natural and organic products already constituting more than 5 percent of cosmetic sales in several countries, many question whether the growth will continue. The workshop leader will give future growth forecasts and highlight business openings for existing participants and new entrants.

Another summit session covers the growing convergence of natural beauty with general health and wellness. The Beauty Inside and Out session looks at the way beauty products are crossing into the realms of skin nutrition, diets and general wellbeing. Anne Marie Fine discusses the link between healthy diets and skin nutrition, while Marie Bejot explores the use of nutritional supplements for beauty applications. Other speakers will discuss the role of novel food ingredients in cosmetics, the vinotherapy potential, and merging a healthy lifestyle with organic products.

The opening session of the summit—Sustainability Best-Practices—features some of the pioneering sustainability initiatives in the beauty industry. The first paper will give case studies of cosmetic and ingredient companies creating positive impacts on the environment and society. L’Oreal will discuss some of the challenges faced by large cosmetic companies when devising and implementing sustainability program. Richard Jean-Claude, founder and CEO of Farfalla, looks at the positive contribution of Fair-Trade sourcing on social communities.

Michael Radau, founder and CEO of the German organic food supermarket SuperBioMarkt, shares his experiences in novel retailing approaches. The retail chain was the first to receive the “Natural Cosmetics Quality Store" certification for its product selection, ambience and service quality. At the end of the session, key speakers will form a panel to discuss the role of creativity when creating positive impacts.

Continuing with the central theme of sustainable ingredient, Judi Beerling will host a workshop on green formulations on the last day of the summit. The Formulating with Green Ingredients workshop tackles the major technical and formulation issues when replacing synthetic surfactants, emulsifiers and preservatives in cosmetic formulations. With French legislation possibly banning the use of parabens in cosmetic products, the workshop goes through the green preservative options and assesses the related adoption issues.

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