Organic MonitorTuesday 03 December 2013, 2:37PM
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
A number of speakers suggested that consumer behaviour was
becoming a major barrier to sustainable development of the
Although operators are implementing a raft of sustainability
initiatives, consumer education and recognition of such remains
Furthermore, lack of consumer demand for green products and
ingredients was discouraging brands to make greater
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
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
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
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
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
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 middleclasses and increase in travel time in Asia
made airport lounges the ideal platform to educate consumers on
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 travel passengers.
In another paper, the ayurvedic brand Baidyanath stated
distribution was the major hurdle for green brands targeting the
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
Coop Switzerland stated it is focusing on its Naturaline private
label to inform consumers about sustainability and green
It relaunched natural cosmetics under the private label earlier
The European and Asia-Pacific editions of the Sustainable Cosmetics
many questions about sustainability in the cosmetics
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.
About the 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 available for a
professional fee. More information is available from
The European summit in pictures
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
About Organic Monitor
Organic Monitor is a London-based specialist research, consulting
& training company that focuses on the global organic &
related product industries. Since 2001, we have been providing a
range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical
& sustainable industries. Our services include market research
publications, business & technical consulting, seminars &
workshops, and sustainability summits. Visit us at
For further information, including high-resolution summit pictures,
Ms. Tina Gill
PR & Marketing Manager
Tel: (44) 20 8567 0788