in-focus – greening up the industry

Sponsor of in-cosmetics 2011 in-focus, Beraca has had CSR and sustainability at the top of its agenda for a lot longer than most. Filipe Sabará talks to SPC about his company’s very genuine commitment

Filipe Sabara, Beraca

Sponsor of in-cosmetics 2011 in-focus, Beraca has had CSR and sustainability at the top of its agenda for a lot longer than most. Filipe Sabará talks to SPC about his company’s very genuine commitment

Sustainability is riding high at the top of the cosmetic industry’s agenda and has been for some time. It’s nigh on impossible to look at a company’s website or pick up a magazine without reading something which dissects the pros and cons of businesses adopting corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability programmes.

But with the issue gaining so much attention, there is a certain inevitability about the outcome. If it hasn’t started already, it won’t be long before every brand under the sun comes out with a statement about its green practices. Which is great news in theory but not so useful in practice if all we’re getting is a raft of companies paying lip service to the concept.

One company that does have a genuine commitment to CSR and sustainability is Brazilian natural and organic ingredients supplier Beraca. Next year Beraca will sponsor the in-focus feature at in-cosmetics in Milan. With ‘sustainable beauty’ as the main theme, the 2011 feature will explore the challenges and key drivers of success in the development of sustainable cosmetics, from new product concepts to sourcing, formulation, industrial processes and packaging. Showcasing a range of innovative eco-designed product prototypes, the feature will define the core principles of sustainable development in the beauty industry.

We spoke to business director for health and personal care, Filipe Sabará, about the company’s decision to get involved with the in-focus element of the show and why CSR is so important in the personal care industry.

You are sponsoring the in-focus feature at next year’s in-cosmetics. What made you decide to do this?

in-cosmetics is the number one exhibition in Europe for the personal care ingredients industry so we wanted to have a strong presence at the event. As soon as we found out that sustainable beauty was the main theme of the in-focus feature, we knew it was a perfect fit for us.

Sustainability has always been the driving philosophy behind our activities since we were founded in 1956, and as it gains greater momentum in the industry we wanted to ensure we were at the forefront of everyone’s minds. There are many companies out there that claim to place sustainable business practices at the heart of their business but the reality is very different. For us, CSR truly is the cornerstone of our operations.

How do you demonstrate sustainability in your business?

It goes without saying that our commitment to sustainability is inherent in all areas of new product or service development. Of course we source high quality ingredients that meet industry standards and always take into consideration the well-being of future generations and focus on solutions that are completely sustainable. However our responsibility goes way beyond the physical ingredient offering.

We pride ourselves on spearheading local projects in Brazil that promote regional development and deliver both environmental and social benefits to the surrounding communities – in particular we do a lot of work to help preserve the Brazilian rainforest. Recently, we were also really proud to launch our first ever sustainability report, in conjunction with the Global Reporting Initiative and Global Compact, which highlights our social-environmental practices. Our work has even been internationally recognised – last year we won a SEED Award for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development from the United Nations.

What are you looking forward to seeing at in-focus?

I think this year’s in-focus feature at in-cosmetics will throw up some really interesting ideas. As the idea of true and honest sustainability gains momentum, companies are constantly looking to what they can do differently from the competition. As soon as one organisation does something creative or ‘outside of the box’, then it doesn’t take long for others to follow. So for me, the most interesting concepts will be those that combine innovation and real sustainability.

How have sales of natural and organic cosmetic ingredients changed over the last few years and what has the industry reaction been?

There has been a steep rise in the popularity of natural cosmetic ingredients over the past decade with customers naturally becoming more aware about the environmental impact of the products they buy. As expected, this has led to an upturn in the number of companies making green claims on their products, but it’s easy to tell the genuine ones from the fakes. The organisations that are committed to CSR programmes cannot run the risk of badly managed sourcing. It has to be an absolute guarantee. One black mark and that’s it, a reputation is tarnished forever. So it’s hugely important not to get drawn into the false claim game – the industry is looking for honest partners.

How has Beraca responded to this?

Natural and organic cosmetic ingredients are our business, so the growing interest in this area over the last few years has been phenomenal for us. We have continued to develop and launch new products in the cosmetic, fragrance and pharmaceutical sectors to meet the needs of our customers and ultimately consumers. For example, our Rainforest Specialities line – composed of fixed oils, essential oils, extracts, resins, clay, butters and other natural specialities from the Amazon region – has been very popular.

What projects are you currently working on?

In 2010, Beraca launched four new products, two new actives and two new extracts – all of them organically certified by Ecocert. They included BioFunctional Buriti Extract Organic which promotes purification and nutrition of the skin, with antioxidant and anti-inflamatory properties; BioFunctional Cupuaçu Extract Organic, which increases skin moisture and elasticity; and Anti-Acne Active System Organic and Anti-Dandruff Active System Organic, two complexes with proven efficacy.

in-cosmetics will take place from 29-31 March 2011, Halls 1-3 Fiera Milano, Milan, Italy. To register for free show entry, visit www.in-cosmetics.com

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