I’ve just had the pleasure of speaking at the first Sustainable Cosmetics Summit held by Organic Monitor in the Asian region. Staged in Hong Kong, it recognises that Asia is the next emerging market for natural cosmetics.
Listening to all the presentations and mixing with the delegates afterwards, it was clear to me that the challenges that come with this growth are the same that we are seeing elsewhere in the world.
The biggest of these is the issue of greenwashing – so many brands talking natural but so few authentically being it! This is compounded in Asia by the fact that there is no natural standard in the region. Consequently there is much consumer confusion over what is natural or not. That means that brand owners have a huge responsibility to educate in this region. I see a huge need for brands to become certified natural (using one of the European or US standards) as the first step in this process.
Following the Summit I have had the opportunity to see some of the markets first hand. I have just spent a day in Shanghai and am delighted to see the penetration of natural brands on to the cosmetic floors of the largest department stores. This includes not only foreign brands which the Chinese have a love affair with, but some of their own home grown natural brands based on Chinese medicine.
This reinforces to me that the Chinese people don’t need to be persuaded that natural is best – they already know this from their long history of traditional herbal medicine!
"Asian debut for Sustainable Cosmetics Summit deemed a success" Check out this article on cosmeticbusiness.com