Sustainability Summits State Consumer Change
Consumer behaviour needs to change for sustainability: this was one of
the key messages from the European and Asia-Pacific editions of the
Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. Over 150 senior executives convened at
each edition in Paris and Hong Kong to discuss key sustainability issues
affecting the cosmetics industry.
A number of speakers suggested that consumer behaviour was becoming a
major barrier to sustainable development of the cosmetics industry.
Although operators are implementing a raft of sustainability
initiatives, consumer education and recognition of such remains low.
Furthermore, lack of consumer demand for green products and ingredients
was discouraging brands to make greater commitments.
In its paper, the Union for Ethical BioTrade showed that awareness of
biodiversity (and green issues) is rising in Asia. Over 70% of Chinese
and Korean consumers state they are aware of such issues, however
awareness was not translating into demand. Organic Monitor, organiser of
the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, stated that the Asia-Pacific comprises
less then 10% of global green cosmetic sales. Furthermore, there remain
many ethical questions about cosmetics in Asia. As well as the use of
animal ingredients in cosmetics, animal-testing methods remain common.
Consumer awareness is also a major issue in Europe. L’Oreal said that it
started giving environmental data on some products in accordance with
the Grenelle law, however it was discouraged by despondent consumers.
The multinational has decided to halt environmental product labelling
because consumers could not relate to footprint data. With companies
spending thousands of dollars on life-cycle analyses, panellists asked
if it was worth it considering consumers showed little concern.
Lack of consumer awareness was also cited as a factor behind the low
take-up rate of sustainable palm oil. Although the industry is calling
for more sustainable production, demand is not keeping with supply: only
half of RSPO palm oil is sold as sustainable palm oil. Higher consumer
awareness of sourcing issues could put pressure on companies to
ethically source the vegetable oil, especially in Asia where palm oil
plantations are causing deforestation and air pollution.
Discussions also centred on marketing and consumer issues related to
green cosmetics. According to Havas Media Group, 88% of European
consumers are hungry for information about how cosmetic companies source
natural ingredients. However, 45% of consumers believe natural & organic
claims by cosmetic brands are not credible. The media agency called for
brands to inspire consumers by communicating their sustainability
efforts more effectively.
Mei Mei Song of Plaza Premium Lounge called travel retail the ‘neglected
channel’ for natural & organic cosmetics in Asia. In her paper, she said
that the growing middle-classes and increase in travel time in Asia made
airport lounges the ideal platform to educate consumers on such
products. She stated that over 65 million people travelled through Hong
Kong International airport in a year; her company has set up Wellness
Spas at the airport where organic skin care products are marketed to
In another paper, the ayurvedic brand Baidyanath stated distribution was
the major hurdle for green brands targeting the Indian market. Jasmin
Aromatique suggested green brands take a ‘customised approach’ when
targeting Asian country markets. The Australian brand is opening concept
stores across Asia to educate consumers on how organic skincare is
linked to health and wellness. Coop Switzerland stated it is focusing on
its Naturaline private label to inform consumers about sustainability
and green issues. It re-launched natural cosmetics under the private
label earlier this year.
The European and Asia-Pacific editions of the Sustainable Cosmetics
Summit raised many questions about sustainability in the cosmetics
industry. With growing interest in environmental footprints, how should
metrics be effectively communicated to consumers? What can be done to
encourage sustainable consumption - as well as sustainable production -
of cosmetics and ingredients? Will new sustainable processing and
production methods be the answer to green cosmetic formulations? With
Asia growing in economic power, when will sustainability and green
issues rise in importance? The 2014 editions of the Sustainable
Cosmetics Summit aim to address such questions.
Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
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 3rd
Asia-Pacific edition was hosted in Hong Kong on 11-13th November,
whilst the 5th
European edition was hosted in Paris on 21-23rd October 2013. The
summit materials are now available for a professional fee.
North American edition: 15-17
May, New York
Latin American edition:
10-12 September, São Paulo
Asia-Pacific edition: 10-11 November, Hong Kong
European edition: 24-26 November, Paris
Source: News Release
Eco-Labelled Foods Taste Better?
A new research study finds that people find food tastes better when they think it is organic. Researchers from University of Gävle in Sweden offered 44
participants two identical cups of coffee, telling them one was organic.
When asked which one tasted better, most of the subjects pointed to the
supposedly organic version.
"An increasingly large number of products are marked with morally loaded
labels such as fair-trade and organically produced - labels associated
with social or environmental responsibility that speak to our
conscience," the researchers wrote.
"We show that eco-labels not only promote a willingness to pay more for
the product but they also appear to enhance the perceptual experience of
the product's taste. Who needs cream and sugar when there is eco-labelling?"
Researcher Patrik Sorqvist added: "In the case of crop products, like
coffee, consumers could quite easily imagine production differences that
could influence taste, such as crop spraying."
The latest study, published online in the journal PLoS, builds on the
team's prior research finding that people believe organic products are
healthier and contain fewer calories.
Eco-labels appear to have an 'halo effect' on consumers. By
thinking foods are produced in an environmentally-friendly manner or
having a social impact, consumers believe they taste better. Organic, Fairtrade, RA-certified products are therefore considered 'better' then
non-certified products. The question is whether the perception is based
on previous experience / tastes, or simply based on impressions?
New horizons for eco-labels is
the central theme of the
Sustainable Foods Summit. In 2014, this international series of summits will take place in San Francisco
(23-24 January), São
Paulo (27-28 March) and
Amsterdam (5-6 June). More details are on the
News Release / OM
Ireland: Organic Dairy
Reports Most Successful Year
Organic yogurt company Glenisk recorded a four-fold increase in profits
last year. The family run company, which is led by RTE 'Secret
Millionaire' Vincent Cleary, increased its profits by 353% after
revenues rose 20% to EUR 17 million.
The Offaly-based firm said this was the most successful year to date for
the business. Glenisk was established in 1987; it produced over 50
million servings of yogurt in 2013.
Mr Cleary said that Glenisk experienced strong growth during 2012 and
now has 12% of the domestic yogurt market or three times the market
share it had five years ago. "Glenisk continues to be among the
fastest-growing brands on the Irish grocery scene," he said.
The firm's workforce increased by one-fifth this year to take the
numbers employed to 60, while the business also supports 50 organic
farmers across the country who supply the business with cows' and goats'
"We will see further growth for 2013 in terms of revenue," said Mr
Cleary. "2013 has witnessed a sharp increase in our cost base,
particularly that of our raw ingredients, but we continue to offer best
value to our market - leading and growing the number of satisfied
customers - factors which are likely to influence our profitability."
On the firm's plans for 2014, Mr Cleary said it would "continue to
invest in our facilities, new product development, innovation and
marketing to further grow our business in 2014, and develop our export
Glenisk has done tremendously well to capture 12% of
the Irish yoghurt market. The Irish company is well-poised to expand its
domestic market share, however raising exports may prove more difficult.
Many organic yoghurt brands have embarked on export campaigns, however
few have made inroads outside their home markets. The UK would be the
obvious choice for Glenisk, however the market conditions remain
Source: Irish Independent /