Meet our Sustainability Corner speakers: Expanscience champions Zero Waste

Meet our Sustainability Corner speakers: Expanscience champions Zero Waste

The Sustainability Corner is a space for innovation, conversation and inspiration. Raw materials suppliers, service providers and beauty brands come together to share their sustainability initiatives and efforts.

While we can’t get together at The Sustainability Corner this year, I’ll be interviewing this year’s speakers to keep up the momentum and share the enriching work going on in this space.

This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angeline Rocherieux, France Manager and CSR Activator at Laboratoires Expanscience, a French actives company with sustainable innovation at its heart. In terms of credentials, Expanscience is B Corp certified, Ecovadis certified (gold), has Cosmos certified ingredients including, ERI 360. Now, let’s get into the conversation.

You were planning to tell us more about the waste-free movement in Barcelona. Have you seen a higher demand for your upcycled ingredients? Also, what types of communication have you seen around waste-free ingredients?

Yes, indeed. We are noticing that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about their ecological footprint and are seeking to minimize it. The “zero waste” trend is strong in the cosmetics industry all over the world. Manufacturers are making more and more efforts to propose an offer fitting consumer demand. If we look closely though, most energy is deployed on the packaging. We must now think about the whole life cycle of the product, including the choice of raw materials, the formulation, the production process, etc. 

Expanscience offers a large choice of upcycled ingredients to customers. 64% of our catalogue comes from food industry co-products. Expanscience is also focusing only on green processes including its exclusive knowledge in molecular distillation.

How do you manage and balance environmental and social impacts in your supply chains?

Beyond up-cycling, we need to understand and control the social impacts of our supply chains; while contributing to the economic development of local producers. To go further, Expanscience has obtained the ‘Fair For Life’ label for its organic maca supply chain in Peru.

The Fair Trade and Fair For Life (FFL) product labelling programme meets the following commitments: 

  • Fair purchase price (above market price)
  • Decent and safe working conditions throughout the supply chain
  • Creation of a development fund for projects decided by and designed for producers
  • Agricultural practices that respect the environment. 

This independent labelling process has been applied to our organic maca supply chain in Peru, and Expanscience is proud to propose today to its customers the two active ingredients SKINHAIRGIUM® BIO and MACALINE®, each armed with a fair trade label. 

Sustainability is a long term commitment of yours. On top of social and environmental benefits, have you seen any business benefits? For example, higher yield, or increased productivity. 

As part of our commitment to ensuring that 100% of our new active ingredients are eco-socio-designed, Expanscience joined forces with several suppliers and cosmetics producers to co-create the ERI 360° (Eco Responsible Ingredient) label in 2018.

This is an analysis grid based on 100 SMART indicators (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Recognized and Transparent) that enables us to assess the level of eco-socio responsibility of an ingredient.

To date, 13 of our cosmetic actives are labeled ERI 360°, which is a great external recognition of the sustainability of our cosmetic active ingredients.

This labelling has been an important team project. From the 360° evaluation phase of the sourcing of raw materials, to the production of the active ingredient, through the measurement of the impacts of all intermediary actors.

This methodological reference frame provides a clear, industry-recognised framework to identify our impacts and our margins of progress. It helps us continuously improve as a company and helps us to improve our products, by optimising the transport of raw materials, water and energy consumption, processes, etc.

How do you see sustainability evolving as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic? How is Expanscience responding?

This pandemic has impacted our society at all levels: economic, social, and environmental. For example, one study published in the Natural Climate Change magazine shows a reduction of 17% of daily CO2 emissions at the beginning of April 2020 as compared to the average rates in 2019.

The pandemic has also impacted consumers’ behaviour, in their way of life, work, or their buying habits.

For Expanscience, the pandemic reinforced our belief that working closely with our stakeholders is essential and transparency and traceability are truly important for us. We’ve been working on this for years, so this solidifies our commitments and our objective.

Another consequence of this crisis is the need to buy local and to live local. Beyond productions made locally for our products (Épernon in France and Lima in Peru), our approach to sourcing locally will most certainly grow even further following this pandemic. Once again, our objective is to minimize our impacts, while offering innovative, safe and effective natural active ingredients.

Feeling inspired to formulate sustainably? Here are the must-have tools for sustainable innovation. .

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Dr Barbara Olioso, MRSC and MSCS, is the founder of the Green Chemist Consultancy, specialising in green cosmetics development for over 20 years. She was behind the launch of the first organic eau de toilette back in 2005 at Primavera, now owned by Espa International. She loves working with new concepts to drive innovation and value to new brands as well as well established brands. She also trains online on organic certifications and cosmetic preservation with multifunctional ingredients. She has been moderating the Sustainability Corner at in-cosmetics Global since 2018

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