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Sustainability should not be defined by its separate factors such as renewable resources, carbon emissions, toxicity to the environment or human health, but it should be considered as the whole. More than a collection of technical challenges, it is a responsible approach that global companies are trying to define and implement in multiple and complementary areas such as corporate social responsibility, manufacturing, product profiling and sourcing.
In personal care, ingredients such as synthetic polymers, silicones, ethoxylated surfactants and preservatives are commonly used, proposing a challenge for raw material manufacturers to create ingredients that are sustainable with equal performance.
The aspect of sustainability that perhaps is most perceivable for the consumer is the emergence of resourceoriented raw materials with a better green profile such as those of vegetable origin rather than animal or petrochemical origin. Although designing such raw materials with a more sustainable profile will be successful in a limited number of cases, a new origin for petrochemical- or animal-derived ingredients (non-renewable origins) is of value, specifically when the ingredient widely is used around the globe. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) is an example of a widely used ingredient in the personal care industry. Its frequent use justifies the review and redesign of its production process and petrochemical origin (non-renewable).
This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in Cosmetics & Toiletries, but you can purchase the full-text version.