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The Cosmetic Ingredient Bubble Needs to Burst

The Cosmetic Ingredient Bubble Needs to Burst

We all (as in every industry in the world) need to get out of our business silos and incorporate climate realities into our worlds. In the cosmetic cosmetic ingredient bubble that means: where do our ingredients come from and how do we anticipate the impact of climate change of this supply chain?

To kick this off, I’ll get a bit sassy. I recently read a vague comment about how the cosmetic industry needs to increase its work around “sustainability”. By “vague” I mean useless. What is more useful? Let’s start by looking outside our cosmetic ingredient bubble.

While the NYSCC 77th Scientific Conference was going on, world leaders were also meeting at COP28 (28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The result of COP28, to shortcut it, was an agreement by ~70 countries that we must all reduce the use of fossil fuels by 2030. This was the first time that they even referenced fossil fuels at COP.

We can all connect the dots.

As alternative energy usage increases and fossil fuel use decreases, there will be a few predictable outcomes:

  1. Petroleum derivative availability will decrease.
  2. Initially (if not over the long run) the cost of those derivatives will increase.
  3. The conventional production approach to so many of the ingredients used in the cosmetic industry will need to radically change.

So – what might that change look like? Ultimately, we are looking at a lot of bio-synthesis. How that is done and using what inputs is something that needs to be clarified.

Currently companies are using various seaweed varieties, sugar beets, soy beans, cane sugar, cane stalks, and almost any other source of carbohydrates and/or oil seeds. One of the issues here is how are these various crops grown and are these feed stocks truly sustainable? Seaweed, arguably the star (you don’t have to water it and it grows super fast) on one end while sugar cane products are problematic on the other end due to the fact that they grow in the same space as tropical rain forests (see other blogs).

Quite frankly, I believe the carbon footprint of transportation will be solved soon-ish and we won’t be looking at carbon footprint with the same weight that we do today. That will be the least of our concerns. Regenerative, agricultural bio-diverse solutions to raw materials inputs will be the starting point for everything we do.

What solutions do you see?

I would love to hear other opinions on this subject. Write me at gay@ohohorganic.com

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