Being sustainable is in fashion. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that “sustainability” has been the biggest buzzword since 2019, with many businesses now promoting their new-found green credentials and love for the environment. Accelerating since we experienced the pandemic across the globe and saw the changes if we were simply to : Pause.
But how much is true sustainability and how much is just marketing?
In general, there is a misunderstanding about what sustainability really means. While contextually it symbolizes a balance between people, planet and profit, it is very easy for brands to fall into the trap of only focusing on a single aspect of this. For example, going plastic-free yet never taking into consideration how their customers dispose of the rest of the packaging (or trying to educate them on it) or declaring themselves ‘sustainable’ because they only use natural ingredients.
Both consumers and also a huge part of the scientific community believe that ‘natural’ is automatically synonymous with ‘sustainable’ when, unfortunately the truth can be quite the opposite. One of the challenges facing the natural beauty industry is the availability of the ingredients used. Imagine if all manufacturers used the same ingredient, what would happen? The answer is quite easy…There would simply not be enough for everyone.
I share with you some industry intel.
One year, a big company that manufacturers and supplies products in the beauty industry, had to make adjustments to their formulation of one of their hero products. The key ingredient in their hero product was and still is : Jojoba Oil.
One year, the farmers where the company is sourcing the ingredient from had a bad harvest and couldn’t produce sufficient Jojoba Oil for the product. So what does one do? The company decided, to leave out their key ingredient – Jojoba Oil – but still keep it on the INCI list.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a one off story. Big companies trying to be ‘sustainable’ ‘ethical’ and look ‘green’ to ride on this wave of conscious consumer. However, if you own the market and have a huge share of the market, one has control and influence.
The uproar over palm oil has certainly helped consumers to understand idea of sustainable resources much better and due to this, there is now immense public pressure on beauty industry brands to make sustainable ingredients a top priority. But yet, many ‘natural and self-proclaimed ‘sustainable’ brands keep using palm oil under the statement that they are using sustainably sourced palm oil. A rising star among the natural beauty industry. But they are not alone making claims, statements that are ‘green’ to reach the conscious consumer – that truly wants to make a difference.
The ugly thruth: we simply don’t understand what sustainability means.
Take Candelilla wax for example, a natural vegetable wax that comes from a Mexican shrub and can be found in many lipstick formulas. According to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) this plant is classified as an endangered species. What’s more, another aspect of its cultivation which throws doubt on its sustainability it is the yield. This is a crucial factor for an ingredient to be considered truly sustainable, together with the amount of maintenance the plant requires and its growth rate.
Or take rosewood. According to the CITES this plant is also classified as an endangered species. And yet, quite a view known 100% natural claiming beauty brands are using this ingredient in their formulations. Bioplastic is another ‘green-washing’ topic that increasingly happens in the industry. And yet, it is not only not sustainable but also one has now found out that where sugarcane is grown, children labour has been observed. And many natural and sustainable brands are adopting this unsustainable material.
We want to do it different. Better.
Here at NAYA, we have always given priority to sustainable ingredients, sourcing ones that truly tick all the boxes and working closley with our lab, suppliers and people on the ground to support and give back to make our sustainable supply chain. For example:
- Cacay Oil: We are sourcing Cacay Oil, in partnership with our local families on the ground and plant a tree for each order we receive to regrow the hectars of Cacay Trees that have been deforested.
- Buddleja Leaf Extract: As a colonising plant it’s also linked with polluted soils. You’ll spot it in abandoned fields or by the side of railway lines.
- Passionfruit Seed Oil: A food industry by-product that would have been thrown out otherwise.
- Hemp Seed Extract: We use the Hemp Seed Extract from an upcycled material and use a patented process to extract the biocompatible ingredient in our newest product.
- Vegan Hyaluronic Acid: With new bio-technology methods, it is now produced naturally and in huge quantities.
- Vitamin C: With new bio-technology methods, it is now produced naturally and in huge quantities.
- Bio Pentylyne
- Stone Flour: We are using stone flour from the marble industry in Germany and then ship it to manufacturers and our label partner to produce our biodegradable labels.
- Grapeseed Oil: We upcycle the grape seeds from the vine industry locally in Germany.
So maybe, the next time a company tells you to ‘go green’, ask them how they do it and why. Go beyond the buzzwords and support ethical brands that truly believe in championing sustainability and equality with transparency and integrity. Core values that are the key to the well-being of our planet and future generations.
It is hard to maintain integrity in an industry where this seems to be a lost value. We want to do it different. Better. We believe our Mother Earth doesn’t deserve just one day to celebrate it, but we need to celebrate our Mother Earth – EVERYDAY. Like your skin.
We love to hear your thoughts and feedback.