UEBT and NaTrue attempt to heighten ethical sourcing awareness

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sustainability

The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) and NaTrue have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help raise awareness of the importance of naturally sourced cosmetics products and the ethical trade in natural ingredients derived from biodiversity.

Rik Kutsch Lojenga, executive director at UEBT, explained that ethical sourcing of natural ingredients is becoming increasingly important in the cosmetics market, and this collaboration will go a long way to enhance the work of both organisations in this area.

“There is a clear trend beyond natural and organic, towards including broader sustainability issues, and fairer trade practices. In this, biodiversity is becoming increasingly important, as a source of innovation for the beauty industry, and a continuous source of natural ingredients,”​ he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Companies need to pay increased attention to biodiversity

Lojenga also urged companies to pay increased attention to issues related to the sourcing of biodiversity, for example how their supply chains impact biodiversity, how they develop long term relationships with local producers, and how they deal with access and benefit sharing as proposed by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The MOU will allow the two organisations to further collaborate, share insights and explore common opportunities and challenges.

With consumer demand for natural and organic cosmetics continuing to grow, companies are increasingly looking to use ingredients from natural resources.

“If done in an ethical and sustainable way, sourcing from nature can really add value to biodiversity at a local level and help motivate its protection,”​ said Lojenga.

“It is also an opportunity for companies to communicate on the important issues of biodiversity, based on their own values and approaches,”​ he added.

Mentions of ethical sourcing is rare

Research carried out by UEBT on the corporate reporting of the top 100 cosmetics companies in 2010 shows that only 12 per cent are reporting on biodiversity sourcing practices.

“Companies committed to natural and organic ingredients rarely mention ethical sourcing of biodiversity, despite biodiversity being deeply embedded in these companies' philosophies,”​ explained the UEBT director.

NaTrue director general Julie Tyrell also stated that as the cosmetics sector grows, the important conserving biodiversity becomes, and this collaboration is a good chance to promote this to the members of UEBT and the industry in general.

According to Lojenga, the cooperation between UEBT and NaTrue is a way to work more closely with the natural organic companies to engage them and their partners in implementing and communicating ethical biodiversity sourcing practices of these companies.

“In turn, companies can play a vital role in spreading the message on biodiversity. UEBT and NaTrue will be also be exploring ways to increase awareness of consumers,”​ he added.

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