Florame’s general manager Romain Ruth explained that the company sources essential oils and vegetable oils from all over the world, some of which only exist in one place, which has necessitated the development of long-term partnerships with certain developing countries.
For Mr Ruth, who will explore the benefits and challenges of sourcing from developing countries at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, held in Paris, 28-30 November, this is both a necessity and an opportunity to help support the local economy.
Florame is based in Provence in Southern France and sources many of its ingredients from organic production in the region. However, it also uses a selection of organic essential oils such as Ravintsara and Niaouli from Madagascar as well as a number of mint essential oils from India and organic shea butter from Burkina Faso.
The company claims that partnership and fairness are key words for the relationships it creates with the small producers it works with. In Madagascar, for example, the company has developed a project that it claims combines fair trade and sustainable development, involving conversion to organic production and distillation of a number of essential oils.
Assuring a constant supply
While sourcing from developing countries may have its benefits, it is not without its challenges, according to Romain Ruth. One of the biggest of which is ensuring a constant supply to consumers.
“It is extremely difficult to guarantee to the consumer a constant supply in the ranges for products as complex as our cosmetics, that include such a multiplicity of natural ingredients. Avoiding stock shortage is a perpetual challenge: one ingredient is missing and then the whole production is at risk,” he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
Mr Ruth also said it was challenging to be competitive in the sector, both within and outside the organic market. “It is equally difficult to maintain competitive prices, not only with the actors of the same market but also with the actors who remain in the conventional market,” he said.
There are of course other challenges that are experienced on the ground, in particular relating to quality, Mr Ruth noted saying: “From the local point of view, the true challenge is to guarantee a constant level of quality: that necessitates implicating the local producers with the help of our quality control service and our legal service.”
Romain Ruth will explore the challenges of sourcing from developing countries at the upcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, organised by Organic Monitor.