Meeting consum'Actor needs: how Crodarom and Alban Muller ensure sustainable sourcing for cosmetics
Finding the perfect balance between ensuring sustainable sourcing for cosmetics to safeguard our planet, and to also ensure high-growth business development can be hard. But it is truly necessary to satisfy our consumers’ demand for healthy and ethical cosmetics products, with low impact on the environment. Eco-consumerism is an underlying trend, where customers feel responsible for their actions and want to be empowered while making their purchases. The COVID-19 crisis has considerably increased the importance of sustainability in the cosmetics purchasing decision process with the cosmetic industry having to ensure clean and ethical beauty.
Providing sustainable beauty solutions has been at the center of Croda Personal Care’s strategy for many years. Organic and natural products, local supply chains, ethical partnerships, green technologies with low carbon impact, and sustainable sourcing for cosmetics are some major keystones of our sustainability commitments. Our consumers care for the planet, and we do too, at every level of the process.
We started to make changes to reduce waste and carbon emissions, among other CSR commitments and decarbonisation programmes, with the ambition to ensure a positive impact on both people and the planet. One thing we quickly realised: manufacturing sustainable ingredients is even better when we do so with ethically sourced raw materials. In this article, discover how Crodarom and Alban Muller, our two botanical extraction specialists in France, have been setting up local and ethical supply chains to build a more sustainable and responsible business model, rewarded by numerous labels and certifications…
Why is sustainability important in the beauty industry?
Sustainability is being embraced by the beauty industry as many ingredients used in skin care, cosmetics and hair care come from nature, and with the rise of conscious consumers (also called Consum-Actors) means consumers are shifting towards adopting pared-down beauty routines and tend to buy less beauty products.
Their choices will go for higher quality cosmetics, mixing naturality, performance, healthiness, and low impact on the environment. They may for example opt to an eco-conscious “skinimalism” approach: products with fewer ingredients, but proven efficacy and safety.
New consuming trends that are appearing in a post-COVID context, further confirm Consum-Actors demand for sustainability:
- 72% of customers believe that every individual is responsible for caring for the planet1
- 86% are looking for more sustainable and equitable products (28 countries surveyed)2
- 70% of Gen Z in the US said they would be more likely to buy sustainable products since the pandemic3
What are Consum-Actors looking for?
- Natural ingredients, organic is even better.
- With complete transparency and traceability, from ingredient sourcing to final product manufacturing.
- With low environmental impact during production and transport across the whole value chain.
Among all these conscious consumers, you can find the “Localist” consumer. This group looks for easy-to-understand products, with strong sustainable claims, with low impact on nature and the climate. The “Localist” customers’ beauty routine is minimised and uses only environment-friendly products, as they tend to look for natural and sustainably sourced cosmetic ingredients. They will rather choose ecological and ethical brands, whose efforts recognised by third parties, either labels or social media. To answer the specific demands of “Localist” consumers, beauty brands are pushed towards new sustainable innovations: waterless beauty, upcycling, carbon neutrality and reusable packaging.
On the French market, 73% of the consumers would rather use beauty and personal care products made with ingredients coming from local producers. 55% of them are even ready to pay a higher price for such products.4 Being transparent and communicating on the origin of the products becomes a requirement to gain trust from such customers. 100% French ingredients become a great eco-conception asset for French value-driven cosmetic brands.
How can cosmetics be more sustainable?
Sustainable sourcing of cosmetics and a responsible supply chain is essential for maximum transparency which is valued by eco-conscious consumers and Consum-Actors. From the very start of their activities more than 30 years ago, Alban Muller and Crodarom have been supporting the development of local producers through many close and respectful partnerships. These initiatives have allowed us to build the shortest possible supply chains with full transparency.
Several examples of these collaborations have been presented in the movie “A journey through Crodarom’s ethical partnerships”, take a look below:
Other related videos
Crodarom and Alban Muller responsible sourcing approaches ensure many of the Consum-Actor’s demands, for the planet and for the people, are met:
- An organic production of the plant, or reasoned harvest of wild plants, preserving the balance of ecosystems.
- Green-key technologies for eco-designed ingredients.
- Full traceability and transparency of the supply chain.
- Ethical relationships with our suppliers, allowing direct contact and freedom of communication.
- Win-win partnerships, based on mutual trust and fair prices.
Local sourcing from committed partners, a big plus for sustainability
Responsible sourcing is great, but we believe we need to take a step further, sourcing also needs to be local. Hence, we have chosen to favour local suppliers as much as we can.
Today, 24 of our products are of certified 100% French origin, and the plants for many of them come from close to our two factories, in their very Regions of Centre France and Southern France! Whether it is for face care, hair care or body care natural ingredients, we always try to promote local sourcing: what is better to ensure transparency and traceability than working with your very neighbours?
The less kilometres raw materials travel to get to us, the better it is, for their quality but also for the environment! Indeed, not only local and direct sourcing is interesting for transparency, but it is also a great step to reduce the product global carbon footprint. Like it is for many other compagnies, most of our greenhouse gas emissions and impact reduction opportunities lie outside our own operations.
We estimated the transport Carbon footprint of 3 different products with the EcoTransIT World tool, to compare it with a sourcing from the ingredient endemic region.
Cosme-Phytami™ Kiwi EC– a Body Care ingredient, organically grown by family company in Southern France vs. import from New Zealand.
- Fruitliquid™ Kumquat – a Skin Care ingredient cultivated in South-western France vs import from China
- Crodarom® Amethyst GL – a Hair Care ingredient from upcycled stones collected by our committed partner in Southern France vs import from Brazil
The results are far from negligeable: around 300 to 600 less carbon emissions due to local, sustainable sourcing!
If it’s a clear benefit for French cosmetic brands to advocate a 100% made in France product with these 24 products produced and transformed in France, other cosmetic brands over the world can add a great sustainability and transparency benefit to the French beauty ingredient making expertise with this range…
Local supply chains: the possibility for new eco-conscious sourcing processes
Our local supply chains and sustainable sourcing for cosmetics has many other benefits for our producers, as well as the environment!
Close relationships with our suppliers, open communication, and the possibility to visit their productions sites has allowed us to engage more into upcycling, as we could easily exchange on each other’s activities and opportunities. Crodarom® Amethyst GL is one great example of this: thanks to our committed partners, we were able to transform the discarded stone materials. The stones that were not suitable for jewellery could become a product of much higher value!
Other products from our ranges are convincing upcycling successes:
- Crodarom® Beech is made with Beech bark, a by-product from PEFC forestry.
- Phytessence™ Pink Pomelo EC or Cytokalmine™ EC are extracted with Pomelo or Pomegranate peels from fruit juice production.
- Crodarom® White Truffle is produced with the truffles that could not be sold by our partner for the food industry because they were not good enough looking.
All these have allowed our partners to generate an additional source of income, as they could add value to something that was previously considered wasteful.
Sometimes, the additional source of income is not only about upcycling, but it may also simply be about diversifying sales channels, allowing more income security to the producers. Fruitliquid™ Kumquat is a good example. Our supplier is a family company concerned about environment respect and biodiversity protection. They grow kumquats with very reasoned agricultural practices like rational irrigation, pesticide-free treatments, manual picking… Selecting this unique supplier and building a win-win partnership was for us a great opportunity to support the farm economic development, with a fair and transparent price, and to make sure our kumquats were grown using virtuous practices protecting biodiversity.
How do you know if a product comes from local and responsible sourcing?
Greenwashing is no longer accepted by Consum-Actors as eco-conscious consumers will not blindly purchase products with natural and sustainable claims. They will demand proofs of these claims and look for ways to be informed before entrusting a brand.
They can rely on several certification bodies, well-recognised to ensure that the product comes from a responsible supply chain:
- Ecocert COSMOS Certification or Approval only given to organic or natural products.
- UEBT evaluation: a proof of the engagement in respectful sourcing, evaluating the practices undertaken across the supply chain (biodiversity preservation, socio-economic durability, conformity with many regulations and transparency).
- ERI 360° labellisation: a label stating the ingredients are respecting the environment and Humans by a measure of their actual sustainability performance, from raw materials to processes and practices in the complete value chain.
We can be proud to say that innovations at Crodarom and Alban Muller are not only focused on our green-key processes. We also like to imagine and implement new ways to create durable and responsible supply chains. This approach allows us to ensure fully transparent and traceable natural beauty ingredients with high concentration of active molecules to cosmetic brands and end customers.
1 Pull Agency (Future of Beauty Survey)
2 Edelman Trust, 2022
3 Klarna, 2021
4 Euromonitor, 2022
Learn more about some of our ingredients with sustainable sourcing
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