It may often seem like beauty products just appear on shelves, but there’s a lot that goes into the creams, lotions and potions that we use every day.
And as important as ingredients and packaging are when it comes to sustainability, so too is where and how these things are sourced.
Because when you think about how many cleansers, shampoos and body washes are in just your local supermarket, it’s important to realise what producing these items means not only for our environment, but also what the social and ethical impact is.
And that’s where ‘sustainable sourcing’ comes into play.
What is sustainability sourcing?
Sustainability sourcing is all about integrating social, ethical and environment factors into the process of selecting ingredient suppliers. It’s not just about finding the best ingredient, but about assessing the long-term impacts farming this ingredient may have on both the planet and the people working to supply it.
For example, when it comes to the argan oil used in Garnier products such as Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water in Oil – it’s sourced from the plentiful Argania Spinosa forest in Morocco’s Souss Valley. A network of 500 Berber women collect the argan nuts and in turn, are able to gain greater economic independence for themselves and their families through the fair wages guaranteed within Garnier’s sourcing programme. It’s a full-circle approach, rather than just taking what’s needed without any responsibility.
Sustainability sourcing builds strong, long-term relationships between brands and suppliers to ensure the best outcome for not only the products being made, but for the suppliers themselves, the environment, and therefore, the consumer too (hey, that’s us!).
Image credit: Getty
Why does sustainability sourcing matter?
Sustainability sourcing is important for many reasons, but there’s certainly one stand out: it gives people who are typically excluded from the job market access to work, as well as a sustainable income.
In 2019, Garnier’s Solidarity Sourcing programme enabled 670 communities facing social or financial challenges to gain access to or retain a job and a fair income, and by 2025 they’ll work to empower a whopping 800 worldwide communities.
What does sustainability sourcing have to do with the environment?
Garnier’s Sustainability Sourcing programme provides equal opportunity and safe conditions for all workers, but it also allows for the traceability of raw materials too. This means Garnier knows the exact origin of the plant and the country in which it was produced, and can therefore focus sustainability actions accordingly.
For example, Garnier’s shea butter has been sourced from Burkina Faso since 2014. Not only does the programme offer women of Burkina Faso steady incomes during a season when there is no other source of revenue, but it’s also designed to reduce deforestation. It’s been able to both save 5,000 tonnes of wood and benefit 5,000 women along the way – so next time you’re slathering yourself in Garnier’s Body Intensive 7 Days Lotion, there’ll be no need to feel anything but good about it.
Other ingredients that are sustainably sourced
Argan oil and shea butter aren’t the only ingredients sustainably sourced by Garnier. In fact, more than half of the brand’s ingredients already come from renewable sources, and the goal is to make that 100 per cent by 2025.
The soybean oil found in Fructis Nourishing Banana Hair Food is sourced from organic fields in Brazil and Paraguay, supporting a network of 48 farmers. And that soothing and hydrating aloe vera we all love so much? It’s from Mexico and has helped 23 families adopt organic farming practices. Female empowerment is also a massive aspect of the aloe vera-centric sustainability programme, as women are in charge of each family’s farming, admin, logistics and sales – we love to see it.
The rest (yes, there’s more) is available to read about in Garnier’s Sustainability Report. Of course, there’s always more to be done, but the brand’s transparency and efforts so far is a huge step in the right direction.
Are you surprised by how much goes into sustainability sourcing? Had you ever thought about where your beauty products come from before?