Sustainable production one of the challenges in using plant-based raw materials

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Agriculture, Sustainability

The cosmetics industry increasingly looks towards agricultural raw materials as the basis for many of its ingredients, but producing the necessary quantities sustainably could be challenging.

As the green trend continues, ingredients suppliers increasingly turn towards renewable sources to develop a whole range of ingredients including emulsifiers, surfactants and actives.

According to Peter Becker, from ingredients supplier Evonik, this trend does not look likely to slow. “Ingredients from renewable or plant-derived sources are still of huge interest for marketing purposes and consumer recognition,”​ he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

However, Becker believes this trend is not without its challenges.

Sustainable and traceable production

One of the biggest issues will be producing the necessary quantities of the ingredients in a sustainable way with full traceability, he explained.

For Becker, traceability is an important factor, as “if you want to enhance the sustainability of renewables you must have access to detailed data during plantation and refinery”.

It is also important to look at the whole picture when trying to judge the benefits that are associated with using a particular agricultural raw material, he said.

“Renewable sources must be considered under various aspects. Social and environmental considerations must be taken into account, together with supply and demand scenarios performed in accordance with land-use.

Its the analysis of the complete life cycle of a product that makes it possible to come to more defined decisions and improvements,”​ he explained.

Raises ethical and environmental questions

Researchers at Organic Monitor, organisers of the Sustainable Cosmetics Conference, have in the past highlighted their concerns over the increasing use of agricultural raw materials, saying it could open up a ‘Pandora’s box’ of problems.

Organic Monitor highlighted the increasing concerns over global food security, arguing that diverting arable land from food production to making cosmetic ingredients poses many ethical and environmental questions.

The market research company said that these concerns about food security and population growth underline the importance of sustainable sourcing, when the beauty industry works with agricultural raw materials.

Related topics: Market Trends

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