Cosmetics and personal care professionals gathered in Paris in April to share approaches and experiences on ethical sourcing as well as to discuss the latest developments and best practices of the beauty industry in emerging markets.
According to UEBT’s executive director Rik Kutsch Lojenga; “Emerging markets are now fundamental for the beauty sectors.”
Becoming increasingly important
The executive director adds that “With Brazil set to become the largest cosmetics market in the world in 2012, these emerging markets are not only important in economic terms; but are also becoming increasingly important in influencing sustainability trends.”
In keeping with the theme, keynote speakers such as Leslie Pascaud, director of sustainable marketing at Added Value, highlighted additional perspectives on natural values and sustainability in India and China.
Pascaud noted the differences between the countries, from an historic and commercial point of view, as well as the growing similarities, linked to an increasing environmental awareness.
“A progressive sustainable consumer movement is coming to life, in part, this trend is due to ‘buying green’ being seen as foreign, exclusive and hip."
Exploring sustainability trends as it takes root in emerging markets, Karin Kreider, scaling-up director at ISEAL Alliance, focused on the importance of sustainability - noting that these countries often hold key natural resources and increasing economic power.
The Indian government, for example, is currently introducing sustainable tourism standards. Yet according to Kreider, as standards are more recent notions in emerging markets, more awareness of existing norms and building up trust and local ownership of global standards with national interpretation are still needed to scale up the sustainability standards in these countries.
Further speakers revealed that although price and performance are the most important factors in purchasing decisions regarding cosmetics, consumers in emerging markets showed higher than average interest in natural ingredients and their sources when buying a cosmetics product.
David Ainsworth, information officer at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, noted that this year is likely to be the ‘tipping point’ for biodiversity: “Now is the time for the private sector to become engaged with biodiversity-related processes and targets, he said highlighting the UEBT Biodiversity Barometer as an extremely useful report.”
A central element of the conference is the presentation of the latest UEBT Barometer, which measures consumer awareness on biodiversity in several countries around the world.
This year India and Peru were new editions whereby results revealed that biodiversity awareness and understanding in emerging markets varies strongly, with high scores in Brazil but low ones in India.
"Awareness on sustainable development is much higher across the board, but national differences exist here as well. While biodiversity awareness is growing worldwide, it has stabilised with regard to sustainable development noting that more people pay attention to a brand’s social and environmental values," states the UEBT report.