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Voice of the Industry

"The industry does not want to be caught with its' pants down," says sustainable expert

By Michelle Yeomans+

19-Nov-2013
Last updated on 01-Dec-2015 at 15:46 GMT2015-12-01T15:46:56Z

Chris Kilham talks sustainable sourcing
Chris Kilham talks sustainable sourcing
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That expert is Chris Kilham, better known as the ‘Medicine Hunter’ whose life consists of venturing into the world’s wild vegetation zones to search for botanicals that may have therapeutic, nutritional or wellness benefits for cosmetic companies like Naturex.

In this, the eight edition of Cosmetics Design's 'Voice of the Industry' series, the vivacious trail blazer reveals why he believes there is a greater sensitivity to sustainability in the cosmetics sector, and why it is an industry leading the charge in many ways…

I think that part of that is because cosmetic companies don’t want to be caught with their pants down being accused of bio-piracy by using an ingredient that may be appropriated in the wrong way,” Kilham tells this publication.

The natural botanicals hunter reveals that when he considered the food, nutritional and beverage industries on the same matter, it became apparent that there was more emphasis on sustainable sourcing and compliance and principals in the cosmetics sector.

We’re also seeing a shift away from the 'chemistry lab can solve all the problems notion of the 60s' to more of a 'hey nature’s really got all the answers' attitude,” he says matter-of-factly.

Level of industry investment in these kind of experts

When it comes to consciousness and transparency, the industry has made a considerable shift in its sourcing and production processes and Cosmetics Design wondered if in this instance, more natural ingredient suppliers are investing in experts like Kilham...

Once in a while I run into other people doing this work out in the field, but I am very surprised that there are as few of us as there are. Companies who are in the supply side tend to go onto alibaba.com to locate a plant or oil and order it over the phone," he responds.

"I don’t think the shift or evolution of the industry will really translate into a lot more people like me in the field but rather that it will see more interest in cosmetic companies approaching people like me for more advice and suggestions than before," he adds.  

Here Chris gives his view on why he's not your average corporate guy and what happens when a sourcing trip doesn't quite go to plan...

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***If you see yourself as a bit of an industry expert and would like to take part in a ‘VOI’ series on a key issue please contact us via the editor button below for consideration.***

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