Editor’s note: With the continuing trend for sustainable sourcing in cosmetics R&D, the following article offers a case study on the research conducted for and harvest methods of a particular marine-derived cosmetic ingredient, Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. While less technical in nature than typical Cosmetics & Toiletries articles, it is intended to provide insight into one sustainability model to assist product developers following this path.
Coral reefs are one of the oldest and most biologically diverse eco- systems on earth. They support hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species, protect coastlines, provide food and form the basis of local economies for millions of people. The annual net benefit of coral reefs is more than US$1 billion in the United States, and their estimated value globally is US $30 billion.1 Unfortunately, coral reefs are sensitive ecosystems. A combination of direct and indirect anthropogenic effects in concert with natural events has led to decades of decline in reef health. As much as 70% of the world’s coral reefs may be lost by 2050.2