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Eco-responsibility in Cosmetic Valley
By: Alban Muller and Hervé Sachot
Posted: February 19, 2010
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Cosmetic Valley uses the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) studies to assess the environmental impacts of substances. This means that Cosmetic Valley and its members do not make a distinction between “natural” or “synthetic” substances, instead we examine how these substances impact consumers and the environment, which gives us a clear scientific base for our final decisions. We will not issue an “approved” list of substances and a “forbidden” list, as we wish to promote “global dynamic progress toward a positive direction.” Furthermore, Cosmetic Valley and its members try to promote locally produced products to reduce the carbon footprint of our activities. Revisiting our production processes leads us to improve various technical aspects: the use of “green chemistry” techniques (i.e., the elimination of dangerous process chemicals), the improvement of global processes (energy reduction), waste reduction, packaging reduction, and so forth.
Of course, we cannot forget how important education is for improving our global condition, and Cosmetic Valley promotes the education of children, adults and individuals of all ages at specific institutions and through organized groups of member companies. Over all, we have found this global approach to be very profitable, generating positive consequences on local employment, workplace safety, waste recycling and energy savings, and it has enabled Cosmetic Valley companies to become even more competitive and profitable, all the more while meeting consumers’ aspirations and values.
What are members doing to support this philosophy? Are there standards or processes in place?
Cosmetic Valley is not introducing any new standards, and it is not a new “label” or “certificate.” It is a way to communicate “global progress toward a positive direction.” We do, however, use conventional environmental certification approaches (such as ISO 14001) as a basis for our evaluation. Cosmetic Valley has set various indicators that enable us to be more than simply a barometer, but to evaluate efforts to ensure a positive move in the right direction. All Cosmetic Valley companies are audited by external experts to earn their “peonies”—the emblematic flower of the Cosmetic Valley and a way to express companies’ efforts and progress within the ethos of Cosmetic Valley.
Why is 2010 the “Year of Biodiversity?” What does this concept mean and how did it come about?
The United Nations Organization named 2010 the Year of Biodiversity in order to make the public aware of the stakes of losing the world’s biodiversity by not acting now to preserve it.
What is L’Herboretum? What is its purpose?
L’Herboretum (www.herboretum.org) is an association that preserves the local biodiversity in a nine-hectare domain in the heart of the Cosmetic Valley, near Orleans, and that educates the public about what biodiversity is—and most of all, that we as human beings are fully part of this diversity. L’Herboretum demonstrates how visitors can manage their environment in a better way, to reap the benefits of their efforts for themselves and their children. It is a first step toward a “hub for biodiversity” to promote exchanges in Cosmetic Valley about this theme.