By The Beauty Hub  |  November 23rd, 2011  |  Company News,Editors Pick,International Events,News

London – The first Asian edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
( drew to a successful close last week, bringing together 120 delegates from across the Asia-Pacific region. Taking place in Hong Kong on 7-8th November, the focal themes of the summit were the marketing and technical issues related to sustainable cosmetics. Major discussions centered on greenwashing & consumer confusion, the lucrative Chinese market, certification and green formulations.

The conference opened with a personal keynote on ‘Building a Sustainable Future’ by
Leigh Kite, General Manager of Personal Care at Comvita. Quoting official statistics that
cancer was the second biggest cause of death in New Zealand, she said that chemicals in
the environment were potentially responsible. According to Kite, natural and organic
cosmetics were the way forward as they do not contain contentious chemicals. She stated
health and wellness was a key part of her company whose ethos is to ‘keep people well’;
Comvita has been marketing a range of honey-based cosmetics since 2007.

A raft of sustainability initiatives were highlighted in the opening session of the summit
(Sustainability Best-Practices). Amarjit Sahota, President of Organic Monitor, urged
beauty companies go beyond reducing negatives and create positive impacts on the
environment and social communities. Rene T. Co explained how Procter & Gamble takes
a holistic view to sustainability by the use of product life cycle assessments. Since
implementing its sustainability plan in Asia in 2007, it has reduced its CO2 emissions by
36%, solid waste by 77%, water usage by 32% and energy usage by 28%. Procter &
Gamble plans to expand the use of sugar-based plastics to Pantene products in Asia.

Juno Kano from BASF Japan started the second session (Formulating with Green
Ingredients) with a paper on surfactant systems for natural & organic cosmetics. With
growing use of agricultural raw materials in cosmetics, Jari Alander from AAK
highlighted the challenges of this major development. According to Alander, base
ingredients have the highest sustainability impact of cosmetics ingredients of which
vegetable oils play an important role.

Dr. Alain Khaiat from Seers Consulting highlighted the options available to formulators
looking at using natural ingredients for skin whitening in Asia. He explained how
ingredients, such as Kojic acid, Ascorbic acid and Retinol, can have skin whitening
applications in cosmetics. The second session ended with a panel discussion chaired by
Croda on technical issues associated with natural cosmetics; lively discussions covered
alternatives to parabens, the potential use of traditional Chinese herbs in organic
cosmetics, and how to avoid animal testing to access the Chinese cosmetics market.

More debate continued in the third session: Marketing and Distribution Innovations.
Gordon Chalmers, Co-Founder of Jasmin Skincare, highlighted how the Australian
company has been successful in introducing organic skincare to Chinese consumers.
Describing market entry barriers as ‘the great wall of China’, he stated the company had
to re-formulate its products and re-think its strategy when entering the Chinese market.
He highlighted the vast potential, stating the spate of food scares and distrust in local
products made many Chinese consumers willing to pay a premium for green personal
care products. He also highlighted the pitfalls, especially instances of fraud and passing
off. According to Chalmers, ‘intellectual property does not always translate into

Dr. Prahallad Maddi Archana from Himalaya Healthcare gave an introduction to
ayurveda and its use in cosmetic products. Lorievelle Valeriano from Panpuri explored
the potential of organic products in the spa channel. According to Valeriano, Thailand
was a hotbed of product development since it was the spa capital of the world. Just Life,
the leading chain of organic food shops in Malaysia, shared its experiences in marketing
natural & organic beauty products. The company stated all new products are trialed and
voted by its staff before listed in its stores.

Preceding the conference, two interactive workshops were hosted by Organic Monitor.
Judi Beerling, head of Technical Research, emphasised the major technical &
formulation issues associated with sustainable cosmetics. Some of the alternatives to
surfactants, emulsifiers and parabens were discussed, as well as the certification options.
The second workshop (Business Opportunities in the Global Natural Cosmetics Market)
highlighted the major market developments and competitive trends. The high incidence
of false marketing claims, mislabelling and fraud were shown as key challenges for
natural & organic cosmetics in Asia. With the absence of standards, the workshop leader
urged retailers to become more active in screening and selecting pure natural & organic
cosmetic brands. Although most sales were from the European and North American
regions, the Asian natural cosmetics market was reporting higher growth rates. With
competitive stakes rising, newcomers to the ‘developed markets’ were advised to take a
segmentation approach to market entry.

About the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
The aim of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit is to encourage sustainability in the beauty
industry by bringing together key stake-holders and debate major sustainability issues in
a high-level forum. The Asian edition (Hong Kong, 7-8th November 2011) was the fifth
edition in the international series of summits; the proceedings are available for a small
professional fee. More information is available from

The summit in pictures

Organic Monitor has announced the dates of the next editions of the Sustainable
Cosmetics Summit…
European edition: 28-30th Nov 2011, Paris

(Last 10 places left for the European summit)
North American edition: 17-19 May 2012, New York
Asia-Pacific edition: 12-13 Nov 2012, Hong Kong

About Organic Monitor
Organic Monitor is a UK-based specialist research, consulting & training company that
focuses on the global organic & related product industries. In 2011, we are celebrating 10
years of encouraging sustainable development. Since 2001, we have been providing a
range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries.
Our services include market research publications, business & technical consulting,
summits, seminars & workshops. Visit us at

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Marie-Theres Wimmer
PR & Marketing Executive, Organic Monitor
Tel: (44) 20 8567 0788
Fax: (44) 20 8567 7164