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Innovative raw materials and research abounded at the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ (SCC) 2010 Annual Scientific Seminar; however, old issues from previous years continued to be raised, namely: Where is the line between cosmetics and drugs? How can the formulator become more eco-friendly? How can manufacturers reinvent the hair care and color cosmetic categories?
After many attendees trekked through traffic to the seminar, the event started off with a feel-good opening lecture honoring one of the industry’s most dedicated members—Henry Maso. Many of Maso’s colleagues remembered his sense of humor, and in true Maso style, Ken Marenus, PhD, senior vice president of global product integrity and regulatory affairs for Estée Lauder, opened the Henry Maso Keynote Award Lecture by letting attendees know, “I went into regulatory a few years ago, and decided to give up science.”
Referencing the natural trend, Marenus noted that it is a trend that is not going anywhere. He added, “We are in the middle of this story right now.” He identified the four main pillars of a sustainability/green program: human health, environmental impact, social responsibility and business optimization. According to Marenus, social responsibility is being shifted to the supply chain. Marenus advised both suppliers and product formulators to adopt the principles of green chemistry, which involve using renewable feedstocks, the design of safer chemicals and energy efficiency, among others. He added that suppliers and formulators must think about their substances with regards to the four pillars of a sustainability or eco-friendly program. He concluded his presentation by emphasizing that sustainable chemistry is better achieved using new platforms than retro-fitting old formulas with new technology. Water, according to Marenus, is going to be one of the next major concerns.
Bruce Uhlman of BASF Corp. also discussed the pillars of sustainable product development. His pillars, however, numbered three: economy, environment and social sustainability. According to Uhlman, “Sustainability is a partnership.” To measure sustainability, he noted that a company must consider the entire life cycle of product creation. To that end, BASF has developed Seebalance, its tool to quantify the economic, environmental and social sustainability of a technology during its life cycle. After describing the measurement tool, Uhlman noted that bio-based products are not necessarily more eco-friendly than synthetic raw materials.
Continuing the sustainability discussion was Gilles Pauly, PhD, scientific director of R&D for Laboratoires Sérobiologiques (LS), who discussed his company’s partnership with Targanine to harvest argan oil cakes and argan leaves for cosmetic use from the argan tree forests of Southern Morocco. According to Pauly, the argan tree serves an important socio-economic role in its region, as it supports over three million people. The tree also provides a barrier to the neighboring Sahara desert. The argan tree forest in Morocco is in jeopardy, due to over-exploitation, soil erosion and desertification. LS implemented a Corporate Social Responsibility program in collaboration with L’Oréal and Yamana to sustainably harvest parts of the argan tree. This program involved establishing a network of cooperatives comprised mainly of women to sustainably harvest argan cakes and argan leaves without chemical treatments, pesticides or fertilizers.