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Sustainable? I call BS.

Sustainable? I call BS.

Alright folks. I’ve had it. We’ve been promoting and selling organic ingredients into the cosmetic space for 22 years and now there are multiple companies talking about the “sustainable” ingredients they sell. I call BS and here is why.

I just read an interview of someone saying they were making “natural” ingredients but their supply chain will not be impacted by agricultural cycles. Excuse me? The ingredients they are referring to are made from plant derived ingredients (sugar cane, switchgrass, think carbohydrate raw inputs). Last I checked, “Natural ingredients” come from agriculture.

Plant Derived Ingredient Source – Sugar Cane

Now sugar is not as affected by harvest cycles as much as other crops but…they are all crops. More importantly, they are grown conventionally.

Looking closer, sugar may use up to 27 different pesticides and herbicides, all of which run off into the environment and degrade the soil. Good news is that they’ve stopped burning the cane stubble but they’ve drastically increased the use of agrochemicals. Sustainable? No.

Of greatest note, conventional agricultural practices, based on many studies, adds about 11% of the CO2 to our atmosphere (according to our EPA) while organic agricultural practices sequester about 12.6% CO2 in the soil (according to multiple studies from UC Davis and other Universities). You may have also seen reporting that 33 % of global soils are severely degraded with no end in sight of the destruction. The primary focus of organic farming is to increase soil fertility. You cannot grow healthy plants in crappy soil.

As long as companies continue to support the degradation of soil and the addition of greenhouse gases and petrochemically derived pesticides to our environment, these should not be considered “sustainable” practices.

Conventionally derived “plants” are NOT sustainable. It is the same old greenwashing.

Recycling doesn’t hurt either 😉

If you want your children and grandchildren to have a future, start supporting organic growers. Oh, and – stop the sins of omission when talking about “technology”. Using genetically modified yeast and enzymatic organisms to make new molecules out of various carbohydrate substrate – which is perfectly wonderful IF (big IF) you manage the organisms well and use ORGANIC substrate to make a sustainable claim. Otherwise, it is just more deception.

Short-term thinking and lazy greed has helped create what are now frightening weather patterns and a reduced ability to feed the planet. Things are getting scary out there and we have a lot of messes to clean-up, but we also have a lot of tools. Yes, legitimate sustainable production may cost more, but the true cost is down the road if we do not change our practices today. You can’t fix it in one act but you can increasingly add truly sustainable ingredients from organic producers.

The cosmetic community has tremendous scientific resources. Let’s use them more effectively.

Hugs – Gay Timmons

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