Brazil, the largest Latin American country, second largest in the western hemisphere and one of the five strongest economies in the world, is where UK-based market research firm Organic Monitor decided to launch its first Latin American Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, September 24-26, with OrganicsBrasil as strategic partner. OrganicsBrasil is an export promotion program to increase organic farming and exports from in Brazil, created in 2005 by the Brazilian Agency for Promotion of Exports and Investment, the Institute for Promotion of Development and the Federation of Industries of the State of Paraná.

And there were other good reasons to select this country for a top beauty industry event. In 2010 the beauty market in Brazil ranked third in the world behind the United States and Japan, valued at $28 billion (BRL) in sales.

Brazil also showed the fastest growth at 14% compounded rate from 2004-2009 despite of the world’s economic recession. And while the South American nation shows the highest sales of deodorants and hair care products, lines made with natural ingredients are also on demand.

The focus of the SCS Latin America was on ethical and sustainable sourcing of natural ingredients, which means support of organic and sustainable production methods, product development initiatives that explore formulations with real green chemistry and design of sustainable product packaging. These are expectations of consumers that support ecofriendly brands, expressed Amarjit Sahota, president Organic Monitor during the opening presentation, ‘The growing importance of sustainability in the beauty industry’.

Topics presented by professionals from well-known firms and organizations and discussed with an active audience of over 160 industry executives from Latin America and other countries included awareness of the need for healthier chemistry in beauty products, social impact and legal obstacles for companies in the Brazil and the region.

The summit offered a day for two interactive workshops on formulations conducted by Mr. Sahota and Organic Monitor’s technical research manager Judy Beerling, followed by the two days for Brazil hosts successful Latin American Sustainable Cosmetics Summit the conference. Presenters at the SCS included natural cosmetics leaders Natura Brasil, Grupo Boticário, Surya Brasil and Ekos.

Swiss firm Weleda, one of the first embarking in sustainable development and the use of only the best natural ingredients since its inception in 1921, shared with the audience the challenges experienced when marketing pure natural cosmetics.

A highlight at the SCS was the opportunity to learn about the current rigid legislation of biodiversity in Brazil that originally was aimed to protect the country’s genetic assets, but that needs adjustments to support companies that today aim to develop green formulations with ingredients sourced from nature with social and environmental responsibility.

One of the main weaknesses of the natural cosmetics sector is not enough promotion and marketing, while conventional firms invest millions in national multimedia with “green washing” campaigns. In spite of all challenges, innovation remains a key driver of sustainable ingredients in the cosmetics sector.

The Latin American SCS was the 8th edition in the international series of summits organized by Organic Monitor. Two additional Cosmetics Summits were offered this late fall, Asia-Pacific Summit in Hong Kong, November 12-13 and the European, Paris 21-23, in addition to the North American Summit in New York held in May. Organic Monitor also offers two highly dynamic sustainable food summits. For more information visit www.organicmonitor.com