Asia falls short on sustainable sourcing

The Asian cosmetics industry is lagging behind in the sustainable sourcing of raw materials

The Asian cosmetics industry is falling short in the sustainable sourcing and supply of raw materials for cosmetic ingredients, according to Organic Monitor. While Western cosmetic companies and ingredient firms are setting up ethical sourcing programmes in the region, there has been relatively little involvement from Asian firms.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the region has the highest number of threatened animal and plant species.

The region has lost 95% of its primary, uncut forests. Sandalwood, native to India and Sri Lanka, is now mainly produced in Australia because of concerns about the high incidence of illegal logging. In addition, the production of palm oil has led to animals such as the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger becoming critically endangered.

Organic Monitor said very few Asian companies have sustainability programmes. Most focus on CSR and some environmental issues, putting biodiversity, ethical sourcing and encouraging sustainable consumption lower on the agenda.

“As Asian countries become more prosperous and take the stage in world issues, there are growing calls to ensure the cost of economic development is not sustainable development,” it added.

Ethical sourcing and biodiversity will be a focal theme of the 3rd Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. The summit will take place 11-13 November in Hong Kong.

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