Speaking of Beauty: LanzaTech, CEO Jennifer Holmgren

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Speaking of Beauty: LanzaTech, CEO Jennifer Holmgren

Related tags carbon capture LanzaTech circular economy circular beauty

Innovating for the circular beauty economy is expensive. And it requires cross-industry collaboration. In this episode of the Speaking of Beauty podcast, LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren talks about carbon capture technology and how beauty industry suppliers like Mibelle Biotech and multinationals like L’Oréal are investing now for the future of beauty.

Founded in 2005, LanzaTech is a carbon recycling company​. Employing biotechnology, the company uses captured carbon (from industrial emissions) as the feedstock supplying “optimized” ​bacteria with the necessary nutrients to produce ethanol—and eventually other useful chemical compounds and molecules.

“[What] I am really excited about is making other chemicals,” ​says Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, in this episode of Speaking of Beauty. “Most people don’t think about this, but pretty much everything in your home starts life as fossil: it’s either petroleum or natural gas based,” ​she explains.

And Holmgren and the team at LanzaTech recognize the importance of realizing this sort of circular chemical production technology on a global scale. “I want the day where everything comes from some type of recycled carbon,” ​emphasizes Holmgren, swiftly adding that, “It doesn’t have to be our technology. If we’re the only ones that succeed, we will have failed.”

Funding the future of beauty ingredient, product, and packaging production

The ethanol that LanzaTech produces can be found in any number of sectors: for instance, it’s being used to make apparel for lululemon, to make jet fuel, to make plastic beauty packaging, and to make fine fragrance.

But it’s early days for the recycled carbon market and this innovation comes at a significant cost. “This technology development took hundreds of millions of dollars,” ​allows Holmgren.

“Our investors and our partners have had to contribute.Getting the first of a kind up and running always is an economic challenge,” ​she says.

“Coty, L’Oréal, Mibelle, Unilever, those are all companies that are working with us to help us get the first ones to the market; they are willing to pay more to get to the point where we can get down the cost curve to enable them to then have these products available to their customers without paying any premium.”

Learn more about LanaTech and how carbon recycling is helping facilitate the transition to a circular (beauty) economy by listening to the full episode of Speaking of Beauty above.


Speaking of Beauty is a podcast featuring meaningful conversations with experts, insiders, and entrepreneurs about the business of personal care, cosmetics, and fragrance. Speaking of Beauty is hosted by Deanna Utroske and a production of CosmeticsDesign.com.
Music is Cherry Blossom by Kevin MacLeod​ and used under license​. 

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