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- 09/17/2020

Sustainability Impacts of COVID-19

HPC Today

The sustainability implications of the coronavirus pandemic on the cosmetics industry will be discussed at the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit. The European edition will be hosted on an online platform on 2-5th November 2020.
The pandemic has created unprecedented health, social and economic crises. The cosmetics industry has been affected in various ways: from the supply of raw materials, production process, to marketing and distribution of finished products. Consumers are also changing the way they buy and use cosmetics & personal care products. The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit will discuss the ramifications of COVID-19 with a green lens. Eight things you will learn from this edition:

1. Skin health and the human virome
The human virome is the total collection of viruses in and on the human body. The pandemic has elevated consumer interest in anti-viral products, such as hand sanitisers, hand washes, and cleaning products. John Jiménez, Senior Exploration Scientist at Belcorp, will give an introduction to the human virome and discuss its relationship with skin health. How does the skin microbiome interact with the virome? What are the implications to the cosmetics & personal care industry? Will we see new personal care products designed to create a healthy virome, as we currently have for the skin biome?

2. Natural ingredients for skin immunity
Consumer demand for health & natural products has increased since the virus outbreak; many consumers are buying such products as they look to boost their personal immunity.
Dr. Anne Marie Fine, medical doctor and author, will give details of natural ingredients that can be used in personal care formulations to improve skin immunity. How can personal care products help build skin immunity? What ingredients can boost the skin’s natural defence against microbial pathogens?

3. Evolution of sustainability issues
The sustainability agenda has changed considerably this year. The pandemic has highlighted social inequality with citizens in developing countries unable to get the same level of healthcare and treatment as those in the western world. The Black Lives Matter movement has shown how racial discrimination and prejudices exist in society. Although climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental pollution remain pressing issues, they risk being overlooked as governments and organisations grapple with the coronavirus crisis. A number of speakers will discuss the changing sustainability agenda in the cosmetics industry. What green issues are likely to be most important in a postCOVID world?

4. Disruption of raw material supply
Lockdowns and emergency measures introduced during the pandemic have disrupted the supply of raw materials to the cosmetics industry. Natural ingredients, especially those from developing countries, have been particularly affected. Higher freight costs, longer transportation times, as well as quarantine measures at ports have caused disruption. The pandemic is leading to some cosmetic and ingredient firms to start setting up regional and local supply networks. Such developments will be featured in a dedicated session (Supply Chains).

5. Upcycling food ingredients
Food side streams (byproducts) are increasingly being used as a source of cosmetic ingredients. Some companies are upcycling as they turn to sustainable sources of raw materials. Others are doing so as they look to re-direct waste from landfill and develop circular systems. Case studies will be given of operators making natural ingredients by upcycling, including product innovations.

5. Sustainable palm oil & rainforest ingredients
Palm kernel oil is widely used in the personal care industry, however questions remain about sustainable sourcing. Peter Becker, Sustainability Senior Manager at Evonik, will give details on a new cross-industry initiative – Action for Sustainable Derivatives – that encourage transparency in supply chains and zero deforestation. Its aim is to positively transform the industry by sustainable sourcing and production of palm oil derivatives.
Some argue the solution to deforestation lies in commercialisation of rainforest ingredients. Forestwise will show how the organisation is working with indigenous communities in Borneo (South-East Asia) to collect wild harvested rainforest ingredients.
With more than half of Borneo’s rainforest lost in the last 50 years, its mission is to preserve what remains. Forestwise will give details on how it has set up supply networks for illipe butter, kukui nut oil, and other rainforest ingredients.

6. Social value of cosmetics
Although sustainability is now entrenched in the cosmetics industry, few operators are focusing on social issues. Stefan Siemer, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Weleda, will explain how brands should address their social impacts. The 99-year old company has pioneered many green initiatives, receiving recognition at the 2018 Sustainable Beauty Awards (Sustainability Leadership and Sustainability Pioneer categories). An example is its Diversity Wins programme which provided employment to refugees
coming into Europe.

7. Retailing implications
The coronavirus pandemic could change the face of retailing forever. Online retailers reported a sales surge as many physical stores closed during lockdowns. Although most have re-opened, social distancing measures and weak consumer sentiment are leading to sluggish sales. Stephanie Yaguer from Red Ant will give insights from its Safe Retail Initiative, showing how consumers feel about retailing of beauty products.

8. Marketing to the post-COVID consumer
COVID-19 is having a profound effect on consumer behaviour, changing the way we greet, work, shop, and use cosmetics & personal care products. A futurist will discuss the long-term implications on these changes: how will the post-COVD consumer behave?
What are the marketing implications to brands and retailers?