Dr. Hana Mušinović is Regulatory and Scientific Manager in NATRUE, the International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association, responsible for regulatory and scientific activities and for the update and interpretation of the NATRUE Label Criteria.  Here Hana talks about the main takeaways from her session and the NOC sectors sustainability challenges, in this exclusive Q&A…

  • What are the main takeaways from your seminar session this year?

This session will provide an overview of sustainability challenges and practices in the natural and organic cosmetics sector (NOC) as well as standards and regulations aiming to tackle some of the major segments of this problematic, including sustainable sourcing of raw materials (e.g. Palm Oil), preservation of biodiversity, animal and water protection, plastics and packaging in cosmetic products.

A special focus will be on new EU strategies and legislative proposals and industry initiatives as part of the EU circular (bio) economy and their impacts on the natural cosmetic sector. The session will also present research project URBIOFIN that NATRUE is part of dealing with sustainable plastics/packaging from renewable resources.

We will also look into the contribution of NOC sector to UN SDG (Sustainability Development Goals) and related to that a brief analysis of the NATRUE Standard and actions of some of NATRUE members when it comes to sustainability.

Ethical consumerism is here to stay, and it has significant influence over shopping decisions.

  • What are the sustainability challenges in the NOC sector today that you will be discussing further in your session?

NOC sector, as any industry, has a significant environmental footprint in all stages of its supply chain, including agriculture, transport, manufacture, usage, disposal and also recycling. Being natural and/or organic is not enough and the sector also has more and more commitments. Anything in high demand puts pressure on the environment and relying exclusively on agricultural sourcing can also be detrimental.

Production of key cosmetic ingredients, such as Palm Oil, Cocoa, Vanilla, shea nuts, mica, Carnauba wax or candelilla wax, mica mineral, to name just a few, reveals serious supply chain risks, both environmental, such as deforestation and water pollution, and social, ranging from child and forced labour, through to corruption.

Packaging is another important aspect impacting a product’s environmental footprint. Recently updated EU law sets recycling targets for packaging and packaging waste over the next ten years. Nevertheless, currently, there are no specific provisions in legislation to ensure that the packaging for cosmetics needs to be completely recyclable for example.

  • Why is promoting a circular economy so important, particularly in the NOC sector?   

Circular economy, unlike linear economy, looks towards our waste not as a dead-end but the starting point for new products. It is fuelled by the revalorisation of the waste material to produce new (possibly) biobased products for different markets. Such approach can help to improve waste treatment and socio-economical sustainability and contribute to solving environmental pollution.

It is important for the NOC sector, as any other industry, to acknowledge its share of responsibility for our common environmental and societal problems that we are facing today. Long gone are days when being natural and/or organic was the ultimate solution. As our markets become more complex so are the problems, and all the sectors have to work together towards common goals.

Part of the solution, beside reusing, recycling and reducing resources altogether, is to both reduce the demand on existing sources of finite fossil fuels, and at the same time increase innovation towards sustainable process and optimising the use of natural raw materials.

  • Why is Eco Life Scandinavia such an important event for the industry to attend?  

The industry is well aware that conscious consumers of today demand more and more natural and organic beauty products and cosmetic ingredients. Ethical consumerism is here to stay, and it has significant influence over shopping decisions. This show is a great occasion to bring together different natural products suppliers and consumers, as well as industry experts, who are all passionate about making our society more sustainable. I am very interested to have a look at the latest developments supporting that change and honoured to be part of it.

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