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What do companies mean when they say 'green?'.

SUSTAINABLE, non-GMO, all-natural, organic--the terms appear across product categories. There's no doubt that the world's getting greener, and natural products within the personal care space are gaining in importance among consumers and the marketers and suppliers who create hair and skin care products, fragrances and other products. But there's still a long way to go, according to Kline & Company, which maintains that synthetic ingredients account for 75% of the global cosmetic ingredient market last year.

Ironically, while consumers in less mature markets such as Brazil and some Asia-Pacific countries, have a rich history of using natural materials all the time, their knowledge about sustainability and sustainable products is lacking, according to Luiz Gustavo Martins, director of the Brazilian Cosmetology Association (ABC).

Research recently published by Ibope revealed that 46% of consumers are willing to buy a product manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner; but on the other hand, 51% of those interviewed have no knowledge about carbon credits. Moreover, the majority of Brazilians don't know the difference between terms such as "nature inspired" and "natural products."

To educate Brazilians, Martins urges formulators to use technical material, effective marketing and information-filled advertising. Companies that employ such techniques can use the same methods to detail their companies' social programs that provide financial benefits to local communities. But Brazilians aren't the only consumers who crave information. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that they prefer to have sustainability/environmental-related information on product labels, according to a recent survey conducted by Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world's largest paper companies.

Specifically, 51% of respondents called for sustainability information on their healthcare packages and 47% wanted the same on beauty care products, according to APP.

Natura's a Natural

Natura executives certainly know the socio-economic benefits of sustainability. In fact, Natura was ranked as the No. 5 most sustainable company in the world in a recent study by international consultancy SustainAbility and the GlobeScan Research Institute. Natura was the only Brazilian company to make the list. Earlier this year, Natura was ranked No. 44 in Corporate Knights' list of the most sustainable companies.

Natura's Natura Ekos line has followed a sustainable business model for 15 years. According to the company, the model creates wealth for all parties involved in the process, while at the same time, preserving resources. The three pillars that guide all Natura Ekos launches are green innovation, entrepreneurship focusing on socio-biodiversity, and the value of traditional knowledge and culture of the Amazon region. Natura Ekos formulas contain ingredients such as andiroba, acai, buriti, cocoa, nuts, passion fruit, mate verde, pitanga and ucuuba, which are formulated into a range of products including fragrances, personal cleansers, hair care, skin care and men's grooming.

Natura's newest natural, ucuuba fruit from the Amazon region, is the source of a very light butter with high moisturizing power. When ripe, the fruit breaks open and the red seeds float on the igapos (a typical submerged vegetation of the Amazon rainforest), to form a red carpet. The ucuuba name comes from the Tupi language and means "butter tree."

Enriched with ucuuba, the Natura Ekos products offer restorative hydration to the skin for up to 48 hours, according to the company.

Do You Know Ucuuba?

"Ucuuba butter resolves a hydration paradox, making possible to deliver powerful moisturizing properties with an amazing light sensory, quick absorbing and dry touch," explained Daniel Campos, director of personal care.

Unfortunately, the ucuuba is a threatened species due to the increase in logging over the past 30 years. Ucuuba wood is used in the manufacture of stakes, handles, doorframes and roofs. But according to Natura, new, sustainable uses for ucuuba provides an opportunity to reverse the predatory cycle of logging, give new meaning to the ingredient's value and its place in the production chain, and generate income from a non-timber forest product, the seed.

The Ekos ucuuba formulas include restorative butter for the body, butter moisturizer for hands and a deodorant. A soap line will debut before the end of the year. Brazil is the largest market for Natura Ekos products, but the brand is also bestseller in other countries where the company operates.

But neither Natura nor Brazil have the Amazon all to themselves. As Hyam Misawa, marketing manager of the Natura Ekos line noted, consumers in and outside of Brazil increasingly seek after the Amazon's biodiversity. An indication of this trend is the sheer number of new products on the market that contain vegetable oils derived from the Amazon.

"Consumer demand for Natura Ekos is high not only for the quality of the product and its results, but also for the whole production process behind the product," explained Misawa. "That encourages us to go even further with our innovations."

Lots from L'Occitane

At present, the L'Occitane Group sells its Franco-Brazilian brand, L'Occitane au Bresil, through franchisees across the country. The brand has 11 product lines with about 110 items. Its lines include coconut water, water hyacinth, araucaria, bromeliad, sugarcane, lemongrass, jenipapo, mandacaru, flowers orchard, umbu and victoria regia and are well-accepted by consumers--especially the Mandacaru hand and body cream. Top ranked variants include Araucaria, Victoria Regia Flower Day and Bromeliad colognes.

The latest L'Occitane au Bresil launches extended the Bromeliad line, a consumer favorite, with five items: body illuminator deodorant, body mousse deodorant, mousse scrub, liquid soap and hand cream. The products have a radiant fragrance with floral notes and are formulated with Bromeliad extract, typically from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, obtained via an artisanal and careful manner, in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro. This ornamental plant develops a colorful hue after 10 years, revealing an amazing red flower, which is represented on the package.

L'Occitane au Bresil has opened more than 30 units, lifting its total number of units to 68. Of these, 57 are franchises, distributed in 21 cities in 14 Brazilian states.

But regardless of where they are located, all firms in Latin America must do a better job of educating consumers about the benefits of truly natural products.

Daniela Ferreira


Mobile: 55-11-993880867

Daniela Ferreira is a marketing and communication professional in both consumer and B2B cosmetic markets. With a degree in social communication and postgraduate work in business administration, her expertise includes managing and launching products, communication planning, market studies and analysis, and identifying new business opportunities. She also has beauty blog (, and is a makeup artist and image consultant.
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Title Annotation:News from Latin America
Author:Ferreira, Daniela
Publication:Household & Personal Products Industry
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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