France leads the way on Fairtrade personal care

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Personal care, Personal care products, Cosmetics

A new market report highlights the fact that strong development in the French natural and organic cosmetic market has given way to the largest market for fair-trade products.

The phenomenom shows how fairtrade has become almost inextricably linked with the fast-growing organic and naturals market, and suggests that this is a category where consumers are more likely to care about where their products come from and how they are produced.

The report from market research provider Organic Monitor, entitled Fairtrade Cosmetics & Ingredients, highlights how organic and natural players have been amongst the first companies to engage in the field.

The global report highlights how the biggest market for fairtrade is France, which is also one of the biggest individual markets for organic and natural personal care products, while the vast US market comes in second and the UK market comes in third.

France takes pole position in fairtrade

Organic Monitor says that as a result the French market has the largest recorded number of personal care products launched bearing the internationally-recognized Fair Trade mark.

In the UK, where the fairtrade food and beverage category has grown tremendously in recent years, the personal care market is following suit, with an ever increasing number of personal care products being launched on the market bearing the fairtrade logo.

Indeed, it was UK company Body Shop that was one of the pioneers in the global market for fairtrade personal care products, being one of the very first companies to set up community trade programmes to ensure the ethical sourcing of personal care ingredients.

However, the competition is catching up and according to the Organic Monitor report a​number of natural & organic cosmetic companies are now setting up fairtrade grower projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Rise of the community projects

Likewise some of these companies are also investing in social community projects and growing endangered plant species through sustainable means.

Indeed, these new developments are not just restricted to the European players, as there are a number of key North American players that are getting involved in similar projects while increasing their footprint in the market.

One of the most prominent brands in that market is Queen Helene Naturals from Hain Celestial. A range of certified fairtrade cosmetics was launched under this brand name in July 2007, distributed in natural food shops and mainstream supermarkets nationwide.

The market report also highlights the fact that fairtrade cosmetics products are expected to continue to rise in popularity on a global basis during the course of the year, in correlation with the ‘mainstreaming’ of natural and organic personal care brands.

However, the report also highlights the fact that one factor that may limit the expansion of fairtrade personal care products is the limited number of fairtrade certified ingredients, which means that formulators often have limited possibilities.

Not all ingredients are fairtrade

This can partly explain the reason why US companies such as Bee Ceutical Organics, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Alaffa have developed products containing some fairtrade ingredients but have not secured fairtrade certification.

Organic Monitor points out that in the past ten years up to 2007, global sales of fairtrade products have grown seventy-fold to reach an estimated total of €2.3bn in 2007.

And with sales increasing by 47 percent in 2007 alone, all the indications are that some of the biggest growth rates remain to be achieved.

Related topics: Naturals & Organics

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