Biodiversity, the diversity of all living things, is playing an ever more important role in the green agenda. Pioneering companies in all sectors all are taking action to address biodiversity in their strategies. So, why is it so important for the cosmetics sector to take action and for Asian companies in particular?
Biodiversity is a source of inspiration and innovation for the cosmetics industry. Many new ingredients come from plants and much of the marketing and product design in the industry is inspired by the natural world. This is particularly true in regions with strong ties to traditional medicine, such as India and China. The sustainable use of biodiversity will help protect this vital source of new materials for the industry and contribute to the long-term viability of companies.
In addition, the cosmetics sector has a close relationship with its consumers. Consumers want brands they know and trust and losing this trust can be fatal for a company. Biodiversity is an issue of growing importance to consumers, suggesting that companies need to start addressing it or risk losing their faithful following.
Results from the Union for Ethical BioTrade’s Biodiversity Barometer, an annual awareness study that tracks what consumers know about biodiversity, suggests that awareness is particularly high among consumers in certain Asian countries. Data from 2010 for example, shows a total of 42% of South Korean consumers can correctly define biodiversity, and 29% of Japanese, compared to 23% in Germany and 22% in the UK. The most recent global results from the Biodiversity Barometer, as well as a focus on South Korea, will be presented at this year’s in-cosmetics Asia show in Bangkok.
Furthermore, it appears that taking a positive stance on biodiversity as a company, especially those operating in emerging markets can help catch consumer’s attention and contribute significantly to the bottom line. Natura, the leading Brazilian cosmetics company, has long focused on local biodiversity as its source of innovation and has made significant efforts to respect biodiversity in its supply chains. In the 2010 Women’s Wear Daily’s ranking of the top 100 beauty companies Natura moved into 14th place. Along with South Korean player Amorepacific, and the Brazilian company Grupo Boticàrio, Natura experienced above 20% growth from 2009 figures in the WWD study, suggesting taking a proactive attitude towards biodiversity can help grow sales.
To find out more about what consumer’s know about biodiversity and how this can affect your business, attend the Union for Ethical BioTrade’s presentation 'Biodiversity Barometer - Consumer Awareness and Brand Communication' at in-cosmetics Asia on Friday 4 November at 10.30am.
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