More and more beauty companies are making ethical and sustainable beauty products ensuring that their ingredients are sourced in a responsible manner. When companies demand more transparency from their suppliers, environmental and social impacts are more likely to be taken into consideration during the sourcing process. I believe that sourcing ethical ingredients makes us all winners – the producers, suppliers, beauty companies and consumers.
Mylo – Ethical and Sustainable Beauty Products
I am super excited about our partnership with Mylo, a Slovakian natural beauty brand that make beautiful ethical and sustainable beauty products.
Mylo’s founder Barb reached out to me because she was looking for ethical and fair trade shea butter of high quality. We connected through Formula Botanica – an online school for organic cosmetic formulating.
Talking to her I understood that we shared the same philosophy – beauty should be ethical, fair and sustainable. You can produce fantastic products with amazing ingredients for your customers and at the same time support and empower the communities that produce the raw ingredients. A win/win solution.
Sourcing ethical ingredients is generally a bit more costly but in the long-term it benefits everyone because you feed into a more sustainable and fair supply chain. It is also an aspect that most likely will raise engagement, awareness and loyalty amongst your customers.
Image source: Mylo, photographer: Robert Knazko
The Impact of Sourcing Ethical Shea Butter
With the support and collaboration from ethical beauty brands Mino collective will be able to further grow and improve:
a) the working conditions of the women – purchasing new and improved equipment and build a new factory.
b) the living conditions of the women, we want the she butter production to be a steady and growing source of income for the women and their community.
c) raise awareness of the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into producing shea butter.
Image: Women from the Alibaraka Collective
A case in point – L’Occtaine En Provence
We know that purchasing ethical shea butter is a winning formula because we’ve seen beauty brands like L’Occtaine support whole communities for decades through purchasing fair trade shea butter. They buy shea butter from five cooperatives that together have 15,000 members (might be more today this number is from 2012).
L’Occitane is one of the biggest buyers of hand crafted shea butter in West Africa. Unlike many other cosmetic brands they chooses to source butter produced with semi artisanal techniques, rather than mechanized techniques. They do this in order to contribute to preserving traditional knowledge and to involve more grass roots producers in their supply chain*.
However, although they might buy unrefined handcrafted shea butter directly from the coops they do refine the shea butter to remove odour and colour. Hence the final product is refined rather than unrefined shea butter.
Image source: L’Occitaine
There are a few other examples of mainstream brands that are doing great things in the communities they source their ingredients from. However, the point of using Mylo as an example is that boutique and smaller skincare brands can do the same and make a positive difference too. Furthermore, investing in creating ethical and sustainable beauty products will surely give smaller brands a competitive advantage.
Mylo’s website: Mylo
*Case study : L’Occitane au Burkina Faso: More than just business with shea butter producers: http://growinginclusivemarkets.org/media/cases/BurkinaFaso_L%27Occitane_Final.pdf
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