Q&A with Dr Barbara OIioso, The Green Chemist Consultancy

With Sustainability & Naturals in Cosmetics just round the corner, we spoke to Dr. Barbara Olioso, Managing Director of The Green Chemist Consultancy about why she thinks this event is so key and important right now.

Q. You will talk about Mapping sustainability in the beauty and cosmetics industry. So, what should we expect from this panel?

It is a great panel that will give perspective and insights at the very beginning of the supply chain of cosmetic products, ie raw materials producers and suppliers, green formulations and manufacturing (I assume Inovia will give the manufacturer perspective?). The panel will share how sustainability is applied when growing crops, processing, formulating and manufacturing sustainable beauty products. 

Q. How is the cosmetics industry iacing challenges with respect to sustainability?

At present there are different ways of tackling sustainability, as the UN has published the sustainable development goals, touching on 17 different areas which can be summarised in 3 key pillars: social, environmental and economic. In the case of cosmetics the responsible production and consumption is essential for the creation of sustainable beauty products. The industry  is responding by using life cycle analysis, in view of reducing energy and water consumption and waste in general (more raw materials suppliers are going for ISO 14001 accreditation). Green chemistry ingredients play also a key role in the creation of biodegradable cosmetics as they help minimising the environmental impact and achieving good performance. The challenge for the industry will be in communicating all these efforts in a clear and credible way to the consumers.

Q. What are consumers looking for in terms of innovation in formulations?

I believe that consumers are looking for products that work and are kind to the skin and environment, in fact natural has become a synonymous for healthy and safe. The challenge is to find the sweet spot between formulation cost/supply and performance given the higher cost of naturally derived ingredients. Another area of real innovation will be clear and simple communication to give consumers the choice of how green or sustainable they wish to be, as transparency is becoming the new green...

Q. What would be the trends for 2030 in the natural cosmetics industry?

The constant acquisition of green beauty brands by multinationals and finance groups is a clear sign that the demand for ethical, sustainable, vegan, cruelty free, clean products will keep on growing and become main stream.