We all prefer to buy beauty products with the words “all natural ingredients” on the labels. We take comfort in the idea that we are relying on nature’s own ingredients for our hair, skin and nails, rather than man-made chemicals with unpronounceable names that have been concocted in a lab and might prove detrimental to the environment. But, recent data from Organic Monitor, a research, consulting and training firm specializing in global organic industries, has many wondering how the beauty industry’s rising need for natural ingredients, might negatively impact the food industry.
According to the research, the most significant ethical issue facing the beauty industry is the fact that land use is being diverted to the beauty industry to meet the rising demands of natural ingredients; meanwhile, food shortages in some countries continue to be prevalent. While the global population is predicted to increase 50 percent by the year 2050, available agricultural land is expected to decrease, adding even more pressure to the beauty industry in terms of how product ingredients are being sourced.
Organic Monitor is urging the beauty industry to begin focusing on sustainable sourcing. Companies such as Unilever, Avon and L’Oréal are already leading the way-all have made strong commitments to sustainable sourcing-by pledging to source materials from organizations such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Similar roundtables established for soya and cocoa, as well as other aspects of sustainable sourcing, including biodiversity and fair trade certification and other sustainability initiatives are also gaining ground in the beauty industry.
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