Asia: Cosmetics Summit Tackles Environmental Impacts
With a growing population and burgeoning middle-class, Asia has one of
the fastest growing markets for cosmetics & personal care products in
the world. However, cosmetic and ingredient firms in the region are
coming under pressure to reduce their environmental footprints. What
practical steps can Asian companies take to lower their environmental
impacts? What can be done in terms of raw materials, formulations,
production processes, packaging and distribution? What are some of the
best-practices in footprint measurement and reduction? Such questions
will be addressed at the Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable
Taking place in Hong Kong on 10-11th November, the summit will discuss
environmental impacts in the context of sustainability metrics, natural
ingredients and marketing best-practices. For the first time in Asia, a
summit will discuss the various ways cosmetic brands and ingredient
firms can take practical measures to reduce their environmental
A dedicated workshop will explore the various factors influencing the
environmental footprint of cosmetic products. Details will be given on
the impact of ingredients, manufacturing, distribution, consumption to
post-use. Various metrics will be given for each stage of a cosmetic
product’s life-cycle. With the use of case studies, advice and guidance
will be given to cosmetic and ingredient firms looking to lower their
environmental footprints to become more sustainable enterprises.
Kurt Nuebling, CEO and co-founder of Primavera, will kick off the
conference with an opening keynote on green innovations. With some
cosmetic brands shying away from sustainability because of concerns
about higher costs and low innovation, he will explain how
sustainability can spur creativity. In another seminar, Nuebling will
give details on how Primavera has built a carbon positive facility in
Leading cosmetic firms and retailers will also share their experiences
with sustainability at the summit. Sa Sa, a chain of over 270 cosmetics
retailers in Asia, will give its perspectives on CSR and corporate
governance: what are the key priorities of the beauty retailer? In
another paper, a multinational cosmetics firm will highlight the major
ecological and social challenges it faces in the Asian region.
Baby care is one of the fastest growing categories in the Asian natural
and organic personal care products market. Concerns about synthetic
chemicals in baby care products are driving market growth. Robin Brown,
CEO and founder of Erbaviva, will state the difficulties in building
distribution in the disparate Asian region. Erbaviva is one of the few
natural baby care brands with products carrying the coveted USDA Organic
Formulating with natural & organic ingredients will be featured in a
dedicated workshop and conference session. Oriflame will state the
pitfalls and opportunities provided by certification; the Swedish
company has developed the first line of certified natural and fair trade
cosmetics. It is expanding sales of its Ecobeauty line to about 100
countries. One of the major formulation issues associated with natural &
organic cosmetics is preservatives, specifically replacing parabens.
Judi Beerling of Organic Monitor will conduct a workshop on the major
green preservative options.
The Asian region is also experiencing ingredient fraud. Rising prices of
natural raw materials have led to a number of incidents of mislabelling
and adulteration. Using tea tree oil as a case study, details will be
given on analytical techniques to authenticate cosmetic ingredients.
Other papers will cover green emulsifiers and surfactants, natural
actives and skin whitening ingredients.
By focusing on environmental impacts, this 4th Asia-Pacific edition of
the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit aims to tackle one of the major
sustainability concerns of cosmetic companies in Asia. According to
Amarjit Sahota, president of the summit organiser Organic Monitor, “many
Asian companies are lagging in terms of sustainability because they are
not addressing their environmental footprints”. By putting the spotlight
on this important topic, Asian companies should start making greater
strides towards sustainability.
Organised by Organic Monitor, the aim of the Sustainable Cosmetics
Summit is to encourage sustainability in the beauty industry by bringing
together key stake-holders and debate major sustainability issues in a
high-level forum. The 4th Asia-Pacific edition will be hosted at
Excelsior Hong Kong on 10-11th November. More information is available
Singapore: Need For Sustainability Reporting
Singapore is far behind competing countries when it comes to sustainability
reporting, despite a two-fold increase in the number of mainboard-listed
companies communicating their sustainability efforts.
Out of 537 listed companies studied by the National University of
Singapore's business school and Singapore Compact for Corporate Social
Responsibility, there are 160 companies, or about 30 percent, who have
communicated sustainability in four areas of their business -
governance, economic, environmental and social.
The study - Accountability for a Sustainable Future - looked at
sustainability reporting among Singapore Exchange (SGX) mainboard-listed
companies last year, excluding companies such as business trusts or
All 537 companies' annual reports, websites and standalone
sustainability reports (if any) were studied based on SGX's Guide to
Sustainability Reporting. Of the 160 found to be communicating
sustainability efforts, only 19 used the internationally-recognised
Global Reporting Initiative framework. An even smaller number - eight
companies - out of the 160, sought external assurance for their
The numbers paint a dismal picture. Although the 160 is about twice that
of the 79 companies who were communicating sustainability efforts in
2011 - when the first study was carried out - experts say sustainability
reporting falls through the cracks.
During the panel discussion, panellists pointed to a lack of buy-in from
top management. "Once CEO commitment comes, then things will fall into
place," said Rajesh Chhabara, founder and director of sustainability
consultancy CSRWorks International.
Mr Chhabara added the lack of commitment from the board stems partly
from the "secretive culture" in Singapore, where the management is not
comfortable with disclosure. The chief executive's pay is one example.
Besides non-disclosure, he said that chief executives often do not see
sustainability reporting as a priority.
The top management faces competing priorities from new compliance
standards, especially in recent years, said Graham Owens, Singapore
Institute of Directors' head of professional development and research.
In addition, stakeholder pressure from investors and consumers is
lacking here. Singapore investors currently do not value
sustainability-related information. "I think it's a chicken and egg
situation, because the information isn't good quality in the first
place," said Mr Owens.
Most retail investors are seeking profits and growth, not so much
companies who are trying to build long-term value, said Mr Chhabara. He
added that for consumers here, they are more concerned about goods which
have a personal impact, such as organic foods. There is weak consumer
pressure and this could be due to the lack of global consumer brands;
many businesses here are part of supply chains, instead of selling
directly to the consumer, said Mr Owens.
Regulation is thus needed for any significant progress to be made.
Experts suggested that the Code of Corporate Governance could be
enhanced to make sustainability reporting mandatory. "Without
regulation, I don't think we're going to get very far," said Mr Owens.
This must be balanced with incentives and rewards for companies who
report sustainable efforts. "You need carrots, and you need the sticks,"
he said. For regulation to avoid being a "tick-box exercise", companies
need to identify and understand the sustainability issues which are part
of their business strategy. And if sustainable issues are not on the
table, businesses will be missing out on opportunities such as new
products or partnerships, said Mr Owens.
Sustainability reporting is becoming mandatory for
publicly-listed companies in some countries. Singapore leads in many
areas of corporate governance in Asia, and it could also potentially do
so in sustainability reporting. Taking a longer-term perspective, if
Singapore is to maintain its position as a regional financial hub, it
needs to encourage greater transparency and accountability from its
Source: Business Times Singapore / OM
China Shengmu Organic Milk has raised HK$1.06bn (USD 137m) from its
Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.
Mongolia-based China Shengmu Organic Milk is the largest organic dairy
company in China, having 30,621 organic cows and 29,836 conventional
(non-organic) cows. It has 13 organic farms in desert regions and 12
conventional farms in Inner Mongolia autonomous region. It has another
three farms under development, which are expected to open by September.
And it expects to add 18 farms by the end of 2016.
Song Liang, an industry analyst, said raising cows in the desert and
keeping the desert green are environmentally friendly, a practice that
receives strong support from local governments. Also, organic liquid
milk, which generates higher profits than other kinds of milk, is a
solution to the rising domestic demand for high-end dairy products, Song
The organic raw milk market accounted for 0.5 percent of the total raw
milk market in China by volume in 2013. Its share is projected to reach
3.2 percent by volume in 2018. Retail sales of organic liquid milk
comprise about 1.3 percent of the total liquid milk market.
China Shengmu Organic Milk is one of the leading organic food companies
in China. It has floated its shares to expand in the domestic and export
markets. By raising production levels, it could become the dominant
organic dairy company in Asia. Most organic dairy products are imported
into Asia, mainly from North America and Australasia. It will be
interesting to see how China Shengmu Organic Milk builds its footprint
in the Asian market.