BASF has been certified according to the SuCCESS (Sustainable Castor Caring for Environmental & Social Standards) Code, successfully finishing the whole certification process by an external body, a first in the chemicals industry, said the company.

The production site in Düsseldorf-Holthausen, Germany is also the first site in the personal care industry to be certified. BASF has now started supplying its first sustainable castor ingredients to the personal care industry.

Sustainability in general and sustainable sourcing specifically are gaining increasing importance within large parts of society and among industry stakeholders. For this reason, responsible sourcing is a key element of BASF’s sustainability strategy. With the SuCCESS certification of the Düsseldorf-Holthausen site, BASF continues to strive to creating chemistry for a sustainable future,” said the company in a statement.

Sustainable production of castor beans in Gujarat, India

BASF, Arkema, Jayant Agro-Organics Ltd, and the international civil society organization Solidaridad launched project ‘Pragati’ [1] in May 2016 to improve working conditions, create awareness for sustainable farming and increase yields thanks to more efficient farming practices. The Pragati project was driven by a baseline survey of more than 1,000 castor farmers in Gujarat, India, where the majority of the world’s castor supply originates. The goal is to support the sustainable production of castor beans to establish sustainable supply chains that amongst others increase the yields and income of the farmers. Since the project was initiated, more than 5,800 smallholders and over 13,300 hectares of land have been certified for sustainable castor cultivation.

The Code SuCCESS is designed by multiple partners and stakeholders to ensure the objective of Pragati project and to develop sustainability principles for castor seeds that will guide and further allow castor producers to offer certified sustainable castor in the global market. The SuCCESS Code adopted 11 principles of ownership and provides smallholders with on-field support for ensuring monitoring and compliance with 41 mandatory and 25 non-mandatory control points. Only SuCCESS-certified Sustainable Castor Association (SCA) members can claim to supply sustainable castor products.

Ethical sourcing is becoming the norm

As a wide range of natural ingredients are now used in cosmetic and personal care products, ethical sourcing is becoming the norm in the cosmetics industry. Cosmetic companies and raw material suppliers are investing massively in ethical sourcing programmes.

According to market research firm Ecovia Intelligence, palm kernel oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the cosmetics industry. About 20 percent of palm oil is now produced according to RSPO or related sustainability schemes. Large cosmetic firms, including Unilever and L’Oréal, have committed to source only sustainable palm oil. Over 20 operators have joined the Action for Sustainable Derivatives, an industry-led collaboration that encourages responsible production and sourcing of palm oil derivatives.

Sustainability charters and certification schemes are extending to other types of vegetable oils, including castor been oil with the Sustainable Castor Caring for Environmental & Social Standards (SuCCESS) Code, and coconut oil with the Sustainable Coconut & Coconut Oil Roundtable, which introduced its first charter in 2020.