Brazil-based cosmetics giant Natura puts a lot of stress on trying to reduce its carbon footprint, and according to one of its top executives, it is the co-operation of suppliers that is crucial to success.
“The first and most important step is to include the supply chain stakeholders in the process of analysis. Although the carbon footprint methodology can be structured around Life Cycle Assessment databases - most of them based on european scenarios -all the direct information from suppliers can enhance the credibility and transparency of the results and declarations. This is the relation that Natura believes in,” said Keyvan Macedo, Sustainability Manager at Natura Brasil.
The ultimate goal for any company trying to minimize its carbon footprint is obviously to become carbon-neutral, but is this truly a realistic target for mass production cosmetic and personal care companies? Macedo believes it is.
Carbon-neutral business is feasible...
“A carbon-neutral product or a carbon-neutral enterprise can be possible not only for the cosmetic sector,” he said.
“The success of an integrated carbon-neutral program will not only depend on the transversal efforts through the company of a strong sustainability team, but it must be supported and truly encouraged by the executive board.”
One of the first questions that comes to mind when companies start to plan this kind of trajectory is whether or not it is going to add to production costs, Macedo believes that there are many methods that reduce production costs, often offsetting items such as higher material costs.
Sustainability can be integral to business strategies
Likewise, this can also be beneficial to the development of a medium-term green supply chain, where the environmental variable becomes an integral part of the company’s business strategy.
“Besides contributing to products with low environmental impact related to global warming, reducing the carbon footprint of a cosmetic product can bring significant gains in energy consumption throughout its supply chain, encourages the use of local inputs with low transport distances and prioritizes the use of raw materials of plant origin with controlled environmental management,” he said.
“In addition, the final product enhances the environmental credibility of the company, adding value to the brand.”
Carbon-neutral is about giving consumers what they want
Looking to the future, Macedo believes that companies need to get on track with sustainability and reducing carbon footprint, because, despite the absence of specific regulations, consumers are increasingly looking beyond the economic variable to include environmental and social considerations in their purchasing choices.
“Therefore, companies need to deal with this issue faster than they imagine,” he said.
Keyvan Macedo will be giving a presentation about the challenges involved with tackling carbon footprints for cosmetics production at the forthcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit , to be held in Sao Paulo Brazil, 18 – 20 September.