(By John Voket – Associate Editor)
Anyone basking on the pristine beaches of Rio, or soaking in the sites of Sao Paulo won’t take long to realize that Brazilians KNOW how to do beautiful.
But many of its own consumers may not realize that one of South America’s leading corporate citizens – known globally for making everyone look more fabulous – is working harder than ever to make our planet more beautiful, too!
Natura Cosmeticos SA is regarded far and wide as one of the world’s most environmentally conscious personal care products manufacturers – maintaining environmentally sustainable policies for 40(!!!) years.
The company’s comparatively recent 2007 carbon neutral certification came after a comprehensive internal analysis of all Natura’s CO2 emissions – as well those produced by its suppliers.
Natura Cosmeticos discovered that in just five years it could reduce CO2 emissions by one-third by addressing raw materials extraction, transportation, vehicle fleet optimization, product manufacture, and packaging, along with enhancing product recyclability after use.
In 2015, Natura’s environmental achievements were so renowned, that it earned the United Nations Champions of the Earth Award for its “Entrepreneurial Vision.”
In presenting the honor, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) recognized the company’s commitment to placing sustainability at the heart of its business strategy, which also supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner called Natura’s business model “an inspiration and model for enterprises everywhere,” saying the cosmetic enterprise proved “sustainable consumption and production patterns are not only possible, but benefit both company and community alike.”
Natura, along with its Australian brand Aesop, has built innovative eco-friendly global enterprises with operations Down Under, in France, and in five Latin American countries by employing a sustainable production approach that relies on responsible sourcing of natural ingredients, and working with local communities to encourage eco-innovation throughout a product’s lifecycle.
In 2011, its “Amazon Program” was initiated to curb deforestation in the Amazon basin by promoting a sustainable standing forest economy – and launching a product line using the ucuhuba. Once felled for timber, ucuhuba trees are now three times more valuable to local communities if left standing and sustainably harvested for Natura’s cosmetics.
Three years later, the company’s 2014 refill program for its Ekos Frescores line of fragrances was sited by the U.N. as “transforming socio-environmental challenges into new business opportunities by introducing 100% recycled post-consumer Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers, and generating 72% fewer greenhouse gas emissions.”
With this launch, Natura became the world’s first major cosmetics brand to use this type of material. As a result, Natura became the first publically traded company to receive the Benefit Corporation’s sustainability certification, highlighting its high standards of environmental and social responsiveness.
That same year, the company also developed strategic directives to ensure all its businesses create a positive impact in every dimension of its activities by 2050, in addition to the ambitions and commitments Natura pledged achieve by 2020.