Many choice clichés poetically describe the philosophical purpose and feel-good benefits of sustainable practices. But in any industry, the bottom line is: there is a bottom line. The good news is, the two can coexist in what has been deemed the circular economy. In fact, as is often referenced, one projection from the Aldersgate Group states that by the year 2030, the UK economy alone could grow by £80 billion (approx. US$ 100 billion) by better managing its resources.1
Green chemistry expert James Clark, Ph.D., observes that the concept of a circular economy sprouted quickly. This began as industries saw both the potential in by-products from other industries, and an ROI for designing specialized processes to minimize and re-use by-products. In fact, an awards program for supporting circular economy has grown around it.2 So it's becoming a win-win: increasing productivity and the bottom line while decreasing waste. (Hear more on this from Clark on April 5, 2017, at the Sustainability Corner during in-cosmetics Global in London. I'll be moderating—come by to say hello.)
While companies build business plans toward this win-win initiative, regulators, governments, civil groups and some multinationals are building rules and goals around it. According to the World Economic Forum,3 work toward the circular economy will manifest in China (Guangzhou),4 East Africa (Rwanda), Europe (the Netherlands),5 Latin America, Japan and the United States. However, the forum emphasizes that accelerating this transformation will require "a simultaneously 'glocal' approach."
This circles back to cosmetics, where our industry can focus its own glocal efforts. For example, in this issue, Dell'Acqua explores food by-products for skin care. And in the same vein, Singh and Agapakis put microbes to work for cosmetic ingredients. Also, part II of the controversial Gupta sunscreens article, continued from January, looks to nature for new ideas in sunscreen development.
This issue was designed to present new ideas for sustainable product development that's a win-win for your bottom line. Did we succeed? Please circle back with your feedback.
-Rachel Grabenhofer, Managing Editor, Cosmetics & Toiletries