Sustainability First: Choosing Our Ingredient Suppliers

January 27, 2021

Sustainability First Blog PostConnection with the Earth is at the heart of everything we do at Earthwise Beauty, most especially when it comes to sourcing our ingredients. When we aren’t able to grow or harvest a particular ingredient ourselves, we take the time to carefully research countless vendors until we find one who can supply it using practices that are in line with our values and will have as minimal an impact as possible on our Earth.

One great example is the ingredient manufacturer that supplies the plant ceramide-cholesterol complex in our On a Swing Among Trees Face Serum in a Mist. A key ingredient in On a Swing’s youth-preserving formula, this powerful ceramide complex has been found to increase the skin's moisture content and elasticity, decrease transdermal water loss, and improve skin-barrier function.

Unfortunately, the larger international corporations that make cosmetic active ingredients like this one (as well as preservatives, emulsifiers, and other skincare ingredients) often rely heavily on petroleum byproducts, conventional and GMO corn or soy, and palm oil sourced in environmentally devastating ways. Change for these larger companies can be like turning around a large ocean liner—they are usually slow to innovate and hesitant to rock the boat by adopting newer, more eco-friendly practices. So we were thrilled when our careful research turned up a trustworthy ingredient manufacturer based in Germany that is serious about their commitment to sustainability.

This supplier, who produces our ceramide complex, is transparent about their manufacturing processes, and is making serious efforts to decrease their environmental footprint. The company has a stated goal of using 100% deforestation-free palm oil derivatives, and was a founding member of Action for Sustainable Derivatives, a collaborative dedicated to increasing transparency and positively transforming the palm oil industry. They use biotechnology, enzymatic catalysis, and other CO2-optimized processes to produce their cosmetic ingredients as efficiently as possible while reducing CO2 emissions, and are working toward using 100% electricity from renewable sources at all main production sites by the end of this year. They have set a target of becoming 50% carbon-neutral by 2025, on their way to a longer-term goal of 100% carbon-neutral operations. The company also conducts regular lifecycle analyses on all their products to understand the environmental impact of each product from its origin (responsible sourcing) to the end of its life (biodegradability), and works collaboratively with their customers to identify areas for improvement.

This cosmetics manufacturer is making great strides in improving their environmental footprint, but one of the other things that drew us to them is the fact that their commitment to sustainability is about more than just emissions, renewable energy, or cutting-edge manufacturing techniques—it's also about the sociopolitical responsibility inherent in creating their products. While protecting the earth’s natural resources is obviously of paramount importance, we also believe that human rights are a huge part of the picture when thinking about sustainability. If the goal of a sustainable business is to do no harm, then that must also include protecting the rights of workers at every stage of the manufacturing process, as well as the rights of indigenous populations in the regions where ingredients are grown, harvested, and manufactured.

We were impressed to see that this large, multinational corporation is vocal about the negative impacts of some of their predecessors' past practices, and has a clear, transparent vision for coming to terms with this history and applying the lessons learned to the present and the future. They continuously assess their supply chain practices and manufacturing processes to ensure they are treating workers fairly, protecting against deforestation, preserving clean water sources, and minimizing their impact on local and indigenous populations. And they are openly committed to celebrating diversity, and have organized regular trainee days focused on addressing the sociopolitical challenges of our time. 

We believe that every ingredient we source makes an important statement about our own values, so we hold our suppliers to a high standard and prioritize those that invest in Fair Trade certifications. We are constantly vetting our partners, and would immediately phase out any that engaged in predatory expansion practices, or betrayed their original values for the sake of profit. We're proud to support companies like this one that are making great efforts to put environmental and social responsibility ahead of their shareholders' bottom line. 

For more on our own sustainability efforts, click here. And to learn about some of the nonprofit organizations doing great work around sustainability, which we support with our ongoing donation program, visit Our Part for the World’s Forests and Oceans.