Fairtrade cosmetics make a mark in 2009

Related tags Fair trade

Although the concept of fairtrade products is still relatively new to the beauty industry, a trickle of new product launches has turned into a steady stream, evinced by these launch highlights in 2009.

“While French and German beauty brands were among the first to carry the Fairtrade logo, this trend is also evident in the UK and US markets,”​ says Nica Lewis, head consultant for beauty innovation at market researcher Mintel.

Although the first Fairtrade labelling initiative was used for coffee imported to the Netherlands 30 years ago, it has been a slow process for the concept to filter from the food and beverage sector into the beauty world.

However, Lewis points out that the advent of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) has bought together 23 Fairtrade producers and helped to bring about a degree of cohesiveness and added impetus for the movement.

Fairtrade makes leap from food to cosmetics

In correlation with the push on labelling, consumer awareness of the Fairtrade movement and what it represents has helped to expand the concept beyond the food sector, underlined by the fact that a recent UK survey found that 31 per cent of consumers were interested in buying Fairtrade labelled cosmetics.

Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) recorded at least five major international Fairtrade launches during the course of 2009, which included French manufacturer Ainy, Jo Wood Organic, REN, Elemental Herbology and Neil’s Yard Remedies.

Savoir des Peuples, a natural skin care range from Ainy that is formulated with Fairtrade ingredients sourced from Peru and Ecuador, is Ecocert, One Voice and Cosmebio certified, as well as 4 per cent of the company’s turnover being donated to the indigenous communities that farm the ingredients.

Jo Wood puts name to Fairtrade cosmetics

Former model and ex wife of Rolling Stone Ronnie, Jo Wood, has decided to put her name to a Fairtrade and Ecocert line skin care range that includes three products claimed to be 99 per cent natural and 33.4 per cent organic.

REN Clean Bio Active Skincare has launched a Morrocan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish containing Fairtrade rose extract from southern Morocco, as well as Fairtrade cane sugar, tea and kola nut from Paraguay.

Elemental Herbology includes Fairtrade Kalashari watermelon seed oil in its new Beach Prep Radiance Body Polish, supporting the commitment the brand has to responsible harvesting and production of ingredients, as well as supporting sustainable environmental projects.

Neils’ Yard was one of the first selective beauty brands to contain a Fairtrade label and it has added to its growing portfolio with the launch of a daily moisturiser formulated with Fairtrade derived acai berries and Brazilian nut oil.

Hopping on the Fairtrade bandwagon is not easy

Although these beauty launches underline the growing importance of Fairtrade products, one of the barriers to launching such products is the fact that certification strictly dictates that the ingredients must be Fairtrade derived and that a trading parternship must be in place.

But further growth is still likely to be driven by heightened consumer understanding and involvement in the Fairtrade process, as Lewis points out.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the social, environmental and economic impact of the products they consume and Fairtrade is now a part of that agenda,”​ she said.

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