Laboratoires Expanscience exec says innovation is key to CSR

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Corporate social responsibility

The head of sourcing at natural cosmetics players Laboratoires Expanscience, Sebastian Debrock, spoke to CosmeticsDesign about the importance of being on top of innovation and new technologies as a means of implementing a successful CSR plan.

"Be aware of new tendencies, including eco-design, or technology, particularly green processes, and expectations while sharing good or bad experiences with other organizations,” Debrock told CosmeticsDesign in an exclusive interview.

“These elements are key to maintaining progress in the CSR. If we focus on the implementation of sustainable and vegetal sourcing, it would be interesting on the Nagoya Protocol and the Access and Benefit Sharing items to find a simple and effective consensus between companies that buy raw materials from Nature and countries rich in biodiversity.”

Laboratoires Expanscience is a France-based natural specializing in the area of dermo-cosmetics and active cosmetic ingredients, having built a reputation on social responsibility and the sourcing of sustainable materials.

CSR programme that has been eight years in the making

Having launched it sustainable development programme in 2004, the company believes it has now reached the point where its CSR programme is one it can proudly communicate about to the industry.

Sebastian Debrock, Laboratoires Expanscience

“Perhaps we would have been able to speak earlier about our CSR actions and our supply chain politic, but we preferred to wait in order to be mature and to have proof of how this has positively impacted our business,”​ Debrock said.

In particular, the company believes that its policy on CSR has helped to build a strong, more cohesive business with transparent values.

The programme covers all bases

“CSR drove the company to ask about all of the stakes not only the environmental aspects. Expanscience started work to balance between the environmental, economic and social stakes. It took ambitious commitments on its products - specifically eco-design - its purchases and supplies, its environmental practices and its own social responsibility,”​ he said.

The path the company has taken has also helped it to achieve the new standard of corporate social responsibility ISO 26000, as well as becoming the first French business of its kind to gain membership of the Union for Ethical BioTrade.

However, as Debrock points out, the company has spent many years defining and honing its CSR course, and it has been a journey that has included scrupulous assessment of every business process, from the sourcing of raw materials, all the way up to finished products and the process of distribution.

Challenges vs. advantages

There have also been significant challenges along the way, including the need to strike a balance between remaining both competitive and sustainable, while continuing to respect the available resources that the company uses.

But the hard work has also bought significant advantages to the business, as Debrock explained: “The company’s CSR policy ensures a transparency on all of the processes. This initiative allows the difference in competition by adopting another kind of relationship with its partners and stakeholders.”

“Within the framework of the supply chain, the CSR plan can be defined by a policy of sustainable purchases while answering two key challenges: the first is to secure its supplies in front of a new geopolitics of resources; and the second is to secure its social acceptability by answering the growing number of requests for traceability from both stakeholders and consumers.”

Sebastian Debrock will be giving a presentation detailing the CSR programme Laboratoires Expanscience has implemented at the forthcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit​, to be held in Paris in November.

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