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Celebrating Sustainability in the Beauty Industry

Business Breakfast

Celebrating Sustainability in the Beauty Industry


Celebrating Sustainability in the Beauty Industry 
 “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.” — Jochen Zeitz 

CEW were delighted to host a business breakfast on 25th September with Givaudan, the world’s leading flavour and fragrance company. 

Maxine Canham, Global Account Manager at Givaudan and CEW Executive Board member introduced the event with a quote simplifying the confusion that surrounds the word ‘sustainability’, “Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good”

Expert speakers at the event included Juliet Fairclough, Sustainability manager fragrances and  Hervé Fretay, Global Director of Naturals at Givaudan, Louise Green, Head of Sustainability at Neal’s Yard Remedies, Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed, Founder of Sana Jardin and Matthew Seal, R&D Partner at Love Beauty and Planet.

The event was facilitated by Sam Conti the London Bureau Chief of WWD who also chaired a Q&A with the speaker’s panel at the end of the seminar.

Juliet Fairclough acknowledged that it can be confusing to know where to start with sustainability and that it is fundamental to remember that the road to being a sustainable brand is a journey of small steps. She then presented the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals comprising of seventeen different blueprints that outline how society can collectively deliver a better global future – Givaudan are utilising nine of these blueprints to guide their efforts in reducing their impact on the environment.

Hervé Fretay then discussed the hundreds of different botanicals that are used commercially throughout the beauty industry and he noted the importance of maximising the single use of crops instead of merely growing more plants.

He spoke about the future of naturals and the technologies within agriculture that are helping to maximise the use of plants and lessening levels of wastage: “there are new methods of cultivations, we can now use buildings that we can grow plants in with the help of LED lights lessening our footprint 

Hervé finished with the statistic that by 2020, 90% of Givaudan’s ingredients will be responsibly sourced.

Maxine Canham again took to the stage to further discuss Givaudan’s efforts at pioneering the industry into sustainability.” Givaudan are pushing their development of bio-ingredients that are normally scarce to source, alongside their global bio-refineries that make use of waste product. Maxine closed her inspiring speech by emphasising “we are always looking to do more”.

Louise Green was next to the stage where she begun by explaining that “natural does not necessarily mean responsible”. She continued to discuss how little we consider the impact it takes to use natural ingredients, with the statistic that 4000 flowers are used to create a mere 1kg of oil as an example. Louise focussed her discussion around the importance of valuing the people as well as the eco-systems of the ingredient. The natural beauty market is estimated to be worth $22 billion by 2022 and in order to nurture the environment alongside its aggressive growth, Louise encouraged the use of regenerative agriculture to maintain sustainability within the industry.

Following Louise was Amy Christiansen Si-Ahmed who is actively infusing business with social conscience. Sana Jardin is a socially conscious fragrance house reusing and upcycling commonly used ingredients within Morocco where she works with local women who pick orange blossom for a living, using the waste for her fragrance line and training the workers in literacy and financial skills. She fuels her business on the belief of soft power and the unity of women, hoping it can change the world. During her previous experience within social work, Amy saw an opportunity for the next level of social change to be in business instead of philanthropy; her line of luxury fragrances are now stocked in Harrods, Selfridges and won a CEW Eco Beauty Award in 2017. Amy concluded by expressing that her goal is to “act as an alternative business model in the luxury fragrance industry”.

Concluding the sustainability discussion was Matthew Seal from Love Beauty and Planet, who are supported by Unilever. “Brands are like humans”, Matthew begun with encouraging words noting that it’s extremely hard to change the foundations of any brand and that sustainability can be a real juxtaposition to what a brand currently stands for. Matthew discussed his struggle within business to spread sustainability to the ‘activists’ of today, noting that the behaviour-intention gap is more prominent than ever. Further elaborating on Sam’s point that small steps are vital in achieving the big picture, Matthew reassured the room that it is not expected of anyone to be perfect yet, “it’s okay to say you’re not quite 100% sustainable and that you’re working on it”.  Love Beauty and Planet is included within the many brands that are self-admitting to not being perfect, but are taking small steps every day to help the planet and focus their products that help you to become better too – such as their quick rinse hair products that allow you to use less water. Matthew concluded by noting that today’s consumer wants to feel part of a movement and more than just a transactional relationship.