Five years in and biodiversity is reshaping the beauty industry, UEBT


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Five years in and biodiversity is reshaping the beauty industry, UEBT
Biodiversity is reshaping the beauty industry as consumers are more clued in and company approaches begin to change, according to the Union for Ethical BioTrade.

The non-profit association published its report of this year’s Beauty of Sourcing with Respect Conference, which brings together cosmetics and personal care companies to share experiences on the ethical sourcing of biodiversity.

“There is a clear evolution with growing awareness among consumers, in company approaches and in government perspectives,”​ comments Ricardo Faucon, president of the Board of UEBT.

Attention for biodiversity keeps growing and UEBT states that awareness of consumers is up (from 56 per cent to 65 per cent in Germany, France, UK and USA between 2009 and 2013), as is beauty companies’ reporting on biodiversity (from 13 per cent in 2009 to 32 per cent in 2013).

“This awareness now needs to be linked to action,”​ adds David Ainsworth from the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.


Professor Gilles Boeuf, President of the French National Museum of Natural History, gave the keynote speech at the conference, making a call for action to business to protect biodiversity.

According to the UEBT Biodiversity Barometer, consumers expect the industry to act: 84 per cent of surveyed consumers are ready to boycott a brand if it didn’t take good care of environmental and ethical practices.

Rémy Oudghiri, director of Trends and Insights at IPSOS commented: “There are clear opportunities for brands to position themselves around the issue of biodiversity, and anticipate increasing consumer interest on this issue.”

Officials from Brazil and the European Commission, as well as the ABS Initiative and French beauty industry association FEBEA (Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté) also shared their insights on evolving rules for biodiversity-based research and development – also known as access and benefit sharing (ABS).


The focus of the conference, already in its 5th year of existence, has shifted from awareness raising to experience sharing, with a number of large and small companies highlighting case studies from around the world.

Ricardo Faucon, distribution director at Natura summarized: “This is a task that not one company, organization or government needs to address by itself. We can work on biodiversity together.”

The Brazilian edition of the Beauty of Sourcing with Respect Conference will take place on 25 June in Sao Paulo.

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