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Making your steps count on the sustainability path

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

SCS RDG North in person event at Chester Zoo, 14/3/23


Jane Evison, CCUK Director and member of the SCS RDG North committee, attended the recent in person meeting at Chester Zoo on ‘Making your steps count – Understanding and measuring our environmental footprint and exploring solutions for future sustainable formulations’.


Key takeaways from the talks:

  • Learn from nature

  • Design for sustainability

  • Think holistically

  • Help consumers understand


Holiferm, a member of CCUK, was represented by MD, Richard Lock, who described their ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to creating sustainable, mild, biosurfactants. He likens the process to ‘advanced farming’ (for example, yeast is ‘milked’). A low energy process with no solvents, produces sophorolipids from rapeseed, glucose and yeast. Next in the pipeline will be rhamnolipids and MELS.


Holiferm’s biosurfactants are now included by the brand, AN-DU, in their shampoo and conditioner bars.


Christine Lawson and Rachael McEvoy, CTPA, talked about the CTPA’s drive towards a net positive cosmetic industry, a strategy started in 2018. Reducing environmental impact, reducing avoidable waste, improving personal, social and health outcomes and maintaining accountability are all key elements of this strategy. They highlighted considerations including designing for sustainability, practices for sourcing, packaging and transport, manufacturing, formulation and engaging the consumer. Decisions are not straightforward – eg with a bar soap in no packaging, does this affect shelf-life?


Regarding claims and communication, what do consumers really understand? There will no doubt be more activity around the Green Claims code from the CMA, making companies more

accountable for their marketing claims pertaining to sustainability.


More information on this topic can be gained at the CTPA Sustainability Summit on May 10 online and in person CTPA Sustainability Summit Lucy Montgomery, NNFCC tackled the topic of ‘Decarbonising chemicals? Net zero in the cosmetics industry.’ This can be achieved either by reducing CO2 or taking carbon out of the equation.


Carbon off-setting is coming under scrutiny whilst there is increasing interest in ingredients in raw materials from renewable carbon, mainly from the biosphere (ie plants). Residues and wastes as feedstocks are also gaining popularity (upcycling) for example, an NNFCC project involving Croda and Evonik - WASTE2FUNC (nnfcc.co.uk)


Other interesting references included: Evonik and Beiersdorf Engaging in Joint Research to Turn Carbon Dioxide into Care Products | Beiersdorf The purple carbon cleaning revolution | Unilever Geoff Mackey – Plastics Europe, as always, gave everyone food for thought. ‘We cannot keep doing business as usual’, he said. ‘We only have one planet and it is being overexploited and damaged. We need to implement change’. He highlighted the need for a holistic approach, the importance of terminology and understanding (a ‘lexicon of understanding’), the need for data and a public who can understand the science and understand the choices involved. Lessons can be learned from natural systems. However, the economics have to work.


The day concluded with a lively panel of all the speakers and many questions and comments from the audience. Thanks to everyone involved for an interesting and thought-provoking day on a topic that involves us all as consumers as well as industry players.


The SCS, CCUK and BCA will be holding an event on September 28 th , 2023, entitled ‘The Future is Green, but what does it mean?’ at the De Vere Cranage Hotel, Holmes Chapel. More details on First announcement - The Future Is Green – but what does it mean? | BCA (bcaorg.com)

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