Innovations in sustainability: Robertet’s upcycling program
During this year’s In-Cosmetics Global conference, French fragrance and flavor manufacturer Robertet Group shared information and insight into its well-established upcycling program. Upcycling, or creative reuse, is converting by-products or waste into useable ingredients for product formulation. Upcycling is essential to many manufacturing and supply companies’ environmental sustainability programs, including Robertet, mainly due to the financial benefits of repurposing ingredient waste into more usable materials.
To learn more about Robertet’s upcycling program, including the program’s impact and some ingredients that have been created because of Robertet’s upcycling efforts, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Celine Louis Ughetto, Global Product Manager, F&F Ingredients at Robertet Group for a greater understanding.
About the upcycling program
Literature shared by Robertet at the In-Cosmetics Global convention detailed that the “more efficient use of resources, and particular the reuse of plant-based raw materials, is one of the main areas of work for the R&D department.” This research allows the company to maintain “an active policy to reduce its environmental footprint and to recycle by-products.”
“Our upcycling approach allows our customers, manufacturers from the cosmetic and perfumery fields, to adapt their palette of ingredients by increasing the share of eco-friendly ingredients and provide with new options for their eco-conscious formulations,” explained Ughetto. This is especially important to the company’s mission to remain environmentally sustainable in its practices, and further, is a “response to consumers who are more than ever concerned about global social and environmental issues,” she said.
As a fragrance and flavor manufacturer, Robertet is exceptionally well positioned to implement an upcycling program as it processes and utilizes various raw materials into ingredients for end-stage product formulation. “As a pioneer and leader in natural ingredients,” shared Ughetto, “Robertet has always sought to extract the best from nature while applying principles of sustainable development and circularity, long before it was formalized under a corporate social responsibility policy.”
To establish the program, “upcycling is obviously part of our expertise and fully integrated into our innovation strategy, being one of its fundamental pillars,” Ughetto added. However, she further shared that implementing a sustainability plan of this scale is not without its challenges. “One of the limitations could be the availability of the by-product or residue we wish to upcycle, and therefore the ingredient itself,” she explained.
Cyclescent, Ulti’Maté, and Casta’Néa
Robertet’s upcycling efforts have been very fruitful and have produced several successful innovations in the ingredient space. For example, Ughetto described, “Cyclescent by Robertet collection for the perfumery industry illustrates our expertise in upcycling through a range of ingredients made from waste or by-products from our own extraction processes or from other industries, such as extracts from cocoa shells, by-products from the cereal industry or from the wood industry, such as cedar or oak.”
Another accomplishment by Robertet’s research and development team’s upcycling efforts is the active cosmetic ingredient Ulti’Maté, which is “derived from the residues of a primary extraction of Yerba mate leaves, an iconic material for fragrances and flavors,” she added. The ingredient can “help the skin fight pollution by maintaining the skin’s antioxidant activity at a high level despite the cutaneous stress caused by atmospheric pollutants.”
Finally, the team has also formulated active cosmetic Casta’Néa through its work in upcycling ingredient waste. Created from “a by-product of the chestnut industry in Corsica,” the ingredient was “developed to fade dark spots and enhance skin radiance thanks to its action on tyrosinase activity,” Ughetto explained.
As part of the upcycling program, the researchers “conduct in-depth clinical and scientific trials,” essential “to demonstrate the health and beauty benefits of these 100% natural active ingredients,” she shared further.
The Robertet team continues to plan and work on additional ingredient innovations because of their upcycling efforts. For example, the team is exploring “a new way to upcycle by-products generated from our internal processes by using enzymatic treatment,” which will hopefully be available soon. Said Ughetto, “upcycling offers endless possibilities!”