Formulation, preservation, and even the mere measurement of ingredients’ sustainability, are among the main technical challenges that green cosmetic formulators and brands have to face according to Organic Monitor.

Technical issues

Preservation remains the number one technical hurdle for formulators of natural and organic personal care products,” explains the market research firm. “Although many green materials have become available for preservation, no single material is popular because of variations in product composition. Stability is a major issue, with some green preservative systems leading to discolouration and / or odour changes.

Organic Monitor also points out the lack of agreement among certification agencies regarding green surfactants and the production processes that may be permissible.

On the contrary, huge progress has been made in the area of green emulsifiers and rheology modifiers. Organic Monitor finds that many ingredients are now available to produce elegant skin care emulsions.

Major developments have also been made in the field of sustainable extraction, with a wide variety of techniques and processes now in use and a number of ingredient companies investing in new sustainable technologies. For instance, the Zeta Fraction technology of AkzoNobel enables natural actives to be harvested from plant materials with a lower environment impact than traditional methods. Mibelle Biochemistry is using plant stem cell technology to extract actives from plants. Its PhytoCellTec technique allows active ingredients to be extracted from rare and exotic plant species in a sustainable manner.

Sustainability issues

Another difficulty is that the environmental impact of green materials is not always easy to measure. “Formulators may wish to replace synthetics with green materials, however the move can have unintended consequences on ecosystems. Palm oil, the most widely used vegetable oil in cosmetic applications, has been responsible for the destruction of tropical rainforests in South-East Asia. Questions also hang over the sustainable sourcing of many natural fragrances, as well as the growing use of food ingredients in cosmetic applications.

Organic Monitor believes the sustainability issues are likely to persist for many years yet.

And the Sustainable Beauty Award finalists are…

In conjunction with the next Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, which will take place in Paris on 21-23rd October 2013, Organic Monitor will also organize the first Sustainable Beauty Awards ceremony.

Three finalists (listed in alphabetical order) have been selected per award category:

Sustainability Pioneer Finalists:

- Apivita

- L’Oreal USA - Garnier

- Primavera Life

The sustainability pioneer award is given to a cosmetic or ingredient firm that is a leader / pioneer in some aspect of sustainability.

Sustainability Leadership Finalists:

- Firmenich

- Laboratoires Expanscience

- Weleda

This award is given to a cosmetics or ingredients firm that is leading in various aspects of sustainability. The company is displaying overall leadership in sustainability and not mastering a few areas.

Sustainable Packaging Finalists:

- Laboratoires Expanscience

- Seventh Generation

- You Organic Skincare

This award is given to a cosmetics brand / packaging firm with a new packaging that has low environmental footprint in terms of design and / or materials.

Sustainable Ingredient Finalists:

- Alban Muller International

- AkzoNobel Surface Chemistry

- International Flavors & Fragrances

This award is given to a cosmetic ingredient that makes a significant difference in sustainability, in terms of environmental and / or social impact.

Green Formulations Finalists:

- Alteya Organics

- Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

- JasminSkincare

This award is given to a cosmetic brand with a high level of green (natural / organic) ingredients in product formulations.