Despite the short notice since its official announcement, the first Sustainable Cosmetics Summit (SCS) offered in Sao Paulo by the British market intelligence firm Organic Monitor with strategic partner Organics Brazil this coming September 24-26 has attracted a crowd of key industry players. Although most delegates will be Brazilian cosmetics and other personal care manufacturers, researchers and distributors, participants from other countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile Colombia, Peru, the UK and the USA will also attend.

“We are just two weeks away from the summit and are busy with last minute registrations as our marketing campaign comes to a close”, said Amarjit Sahota, Organic Monitor Director.“We are expecting a full house for this first edition”. Ming Liu, manager of the project Organics Brazil finds the SCS will benefit Brazilian companies and other players in the region and abroad. “Brazil, Peru and Colombia play an important role in sourcing for natural ingredients in the cosmetics sector and Brazil occupies now the second market in the world for beauty products. Sao Paulo seemed an obvious host”.

The SCS is the most important event on sustainability and the cosmetics industry in Latin America, with biodiversity and ethical sourcing a major focus. Large conventional cosmetics firms, such as L'Oreal, Estee Lauder and Beiersdorf, as well as Latin American companies known for their sustainable practices, including Natura and Grupo Boticario have confirmed participation.

Presentations from other successful companies in the region include natural ingredients supplier Beraca, cosmetics manufacturer SuryaBrasil and BioIntropic, a Colombian platform created by alliance of six universities, a factory for in vitro production and a technological park that promotes innovation in the fields of biodiversity and biotechnology.

“The SCS is a great opportunity for the natural cosmetics sector in the region we will present accomplishments, goals and challenges at our organization and we may learn about the work currently conducted in other countries”, said Claudia Betancur, executive director at BioIntropic. Ms Betancur will sharewith the audience the opportunities Colombia offers for sustainable use of its biodiversity, findings and applications of unique natural ingredients such as acai, borojo, chontaduro, jaguar and seje in the field of cosmetics.

Identifying collaborative innovation opportunities with companies from around the world is an expectation shared by other participants. “An international event of this magnitude was needed in the sector to further connect different players in the field of biodiversity and sustainability. A team effort, is valuable especially in the complex sector of functional food and personal care”, said Carla Vaca of the biotrade program at the Peruvian Export Promotion Agency Promperu.

The boom of eco-friendly products has seen an increased use of the terms “natural”, “green”, and “organic” in labels and advertising campaigns, misleading consumers to believe these products are actually safer than conventional brands and harmless to the environment. The reality is that there is the need to further explore and reinvent formulations for personal care products no longer dependent on petrochemicals and synthetic substances that pose harmful to the human body after prolonged exposure. In terms of regulations there is not one single industry standard to follow. This situation is expected to change next year, at least in Europe, with the new Cosmetic Products Regulations EC1223/2009 in place on July 11.

Peruvian trade mission takes part in Cosmetics Summit

“After many years developing products with natural ingredients, it is the first time we find an international forum to discuss how we obtained our products and to learn from others about how they apply natural ingredients to perform well, how to replace synthetic substances properly and how to develop a genuine natural formulation for beauty products”, said Dr. Javier Pena Crisostomo of Galeon Supply sac., Peruvian manufacturer of cosmetics. Galeon Supply has conducted extensive research with secretion, extracted in a harmless way, from the Helix Aspersa Muller snail. “We aim to learn about the different certification bodies for sustainable cosmetics, limitations still in place and how we could work with the many amazing ingredients available from Peru’s biodiversity, such as dragon’s blood, cat’s claw, sacha inchi, copaiba and jojoba oils in a sustainable way.”

Agroindustrias Ocho, Agropegsol, Rais Vida and Roda Selva are other Peruvian firms attending the SCS. They offer sacha inchi oil known for its high content of omega 3 and other ingredients and cosmetics, and aim to explore how other firms in Brazil and abroad take care of R & D, packaging and product displays, merchandising, marketing, business development and fair trade practices to build sustainability along the supply chain.

“Brazil is an advanced country in the field of beauty products, said Ms Vaca. And Peru has great potential, as it is one of the countries with several microclimates and rich biodiversity”. The SCS offers a stage to share and learn about accomplishments, marketing strategies and business models that work for leading companies like Aveda. “This trip to Brazil will be a source of new contacts and inspiration for when we return home”, said Dr. Pena Crisostomo.

Participants at the SCS may enjoy a two-day conference program with speakers discussing sustainability initiatives and ingredients, ethical sourcing, and a one day workshop on green cosmetics formulations and business opportunities in the global market for sustainable cosmetics.

The SCS in Sao Paulo is the 8th edition of the international series of Summits offered by Organic Monitor in New York, Paris and Hong Kong.