Marine Ingredients in Cosmetics: Sustainability
industry is increasingly turning to the sea and oceans in the search for
new ingredients. Although many novel raw materials are emerging, the
development is raising many questions about sustainability.
Can the cosmetics industry learn from the food
industry and prevent damage to marine ecosystems when sourcing?
Cosmetic and ingredient firms are developing new materials from
coastal plants, seaweeds,
and sea minerals. These materials are especially favoured by natural cosmetic companies seeking new sources of
The Greek company Apivita is using sea fennel in sun care products,
whilst Italy-based Lacote has a comprehensive range of
anti-cellulite skin care products formulated with Guam seaweed. Sea
algae, rich in vitamins and minerals, are becoming a common source of
anti-ageing actives. Other brands are using sea minerals in their
formulations, looking to emulate the success of Dead Sea mineral-based
High demand for marine ingredients is leading to a number of new raw
material suppliers specialising in such products. The Norwegian firm
Aqua Bio Technology has developed a novel range of ingredients derived
from salmon hatcheries, whilst US-based Heliae is using new strains of
algae for cosmetic applications. Other companies like Lipotec and
BiotechMarine are using biotechnology to harvest actives from marine
The popularity of marine ingredients is leading to concerns that
large-scale sourcing, or non-sustainable production methods, could
disrupt marine ecosystems already under strain.
Non-sustainable sourcing of seafood has led to an estimated loss of 90
percent of predatory fish from the world’s oceans. Apart from
taking certain species to near extinction, overfishing has disrupted many
ecosystems. Climate change has led to the acidification of oceans, sea
levels and temperatures have risen, whilst the number of invasive
species is growing because of human activity and environmental
Apart from sourcing raw materials, the cosmetics industry is impacting
marine ecosystems by waste. The dumping of cosmetic packaging as waste
into the sea has adversely affected fish, mammals, birds, as well as
plant species. A recent study by
University showed that such packaging was linked to marine life damage
in the North Sea.
With the cosmetics industry having an insatiable appetite for novel
ingredients, Organic Monitor expects marine sourcing to increase in the
coming years. The challenge is to combine innovation with
sustainability. In this respect, natural cosmetic firms could lead the
way since many have sustainable sourcing embedded in their DNA.
As will be shown at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, there are signs
this development is already occurring. The German company OceanBasis has
set up a sustainable aquaculture farm in the Baltic Sea to produce algae
for its natural cosmetics. The certified farm is providing a sustainable
source of active ingredients for its Oceanwell range.
shown how natural cosmetic companies can embrace innovation whilst
turning a darker shade of green.
Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
Sustainable sourcing of marine
ingredients was featured in the European edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.
The summit was hosted in
Paris on 21-23rd
November; it highlighted the sustainability implications of
marine sourcing and highlighted best-practices.
OceanBasis, Apivita, Helia and Lipotec participated, as well as other organisations involved in the sourcing
and use of marine ingredients. The next edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will take
place in Paric on 21-23rd October
2013. More details are on
Posted: October 18th 2012
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