Premium Beauty News - The Schisandra sector you are relying on in China has recently been certified FairWild. What does this certification refer to?

Beatriz Soengas - The FairWild certification concerns the gathering of wild plants. It guarantees a sustainable management of uncultivated resources. It, therefore, applies perfectly to the Schisandra sphenanthera sector, a wild climbing plant native to central and southern China, which is also found in Korea, Japan and Russia. This plant produces red berries from which we extract our Sweetone® Bio blemish corrector.

The FairWild certification process begins with an assessment of the resource, its habitat and its interactions with local flora and fauna. This review, carried out by a committee, which includes members of the IUCN, will determine the level of requirement of the sector’s audit. In particular, it is about evaluating whether the quantities available are in line with the volumes gathered and whether the gathering practices guarantee both the renewal and preservation of the resource and its environment. The plant’s regeneration rate is also taken into account and gathering practices are closely monitored. Management and long-term monitoring plan are then drawn up.

FairWild certification also includes a fair trade component that guarantees the respect of local communities.

In practice, we have provided both financial and technical support to the Chinese cooperative with whom we are working in Sichuan. This is a continuing process that began in 2019 and it is the first time that a gathering cooperative has obtained this certification in China. And we are one of the very first cosmetic companies in France to work with a FairWild certified sector.

Premium Beauty News - What does this change for your Sweetone® Bio active?

Beatriz Soengas - The sector’s certification provides additional guarantees to our clients in terms of respect for the environment and local communities, the preservation of the resource and the sector’s sustainability. It also improves the traceability of raw materials and meets consumers’ expectations for transparency.

Armelle Le Peniec - Demand for traceability is very high among our clients. This certification is consistent with this trend. It provides reassurance about the sustainability and security of the supply chain and also allows us to communicate on the durability of our ingredients.

But the main point is the concern for the impact of the resource. Wild plants are a very common source of cosmetic ingredients, but they require very careful management. The audit of a wild plant supply chain guarantees compliance with stringent practices so that their exploitation does not end up being a plundering operation but rather a win-win situation for all players in the sector, including the environment.

The certification of this sector, which concerns an anti-redness and anti-imperfection active that has been in our catalogue for about ten years, perfectly illustrates our concern for continuous improvement.

Premium Beauty News - Today some cosmetic brands promote the wild origin of ingredients. Is this a trend?

Armelle Le Peniec - This is not the reason why we use Schisandra extracts. This plant has long been known for its benefits in traditional Chinese medicine. To our knowledge, we have not identified a strong craze for wild ingredients.

Beatriz Soengas - The way people look at wild resources has changed. We have become aware that the environmental impact of certain farming practices agriculture is far from negligible and that it is possible to sustainably manage ressources. In cosmetics, many ingredients are gathered, as is the case with shea, indeed an emblematic ingredient. Compliance with good gathering practices must therefore be monitored, as must the observation of good agricultural practices. Hence the growing interest in the FairWild label.

Premium Beauty News - How does the creation of certified supply chains fit with your CSR strategy?

Beatriz Soengas - The certification of supply chains is a key element of our CSR programme called impACT. This is an improvement process, and we want to gradually steer our supply chains towards certification. We are working hard to source as many certified organic raw materials as possible and we intend to use the Fair for Life and FairWild certifications to reinforce the sustainability of our supply chains.

Armelle Le Peniec - We have been members of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) since 2011, and in 2018, we were the first pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic laboratory and the first cosmetic ingredient supplier to be certified B Corp, now called a "Benefit Corporation". Today, we are a mission-driven company committed to working for the common good through our raison d’être "helping people shape their well-being". To achieve this, we have set ourselves a set of social and environmental goals such as contributing to "achieving global climate goals" and "protecting and regenerating biodiversity". The certification of our supply chains is essential to achieving these goals.