Natural Cosmetic Producer: NATURA
NATURA is the largest natural cosmetic producer in Latin America with its beginnings dating back to the 70´s. NATURA’s commitment with conservation and sustainable management of natural resources is embedded in their business identity. Their environmental scheme considers carbon neutral operations, promotion of refills to reduce packaging, use of recycled and recyclable materials and innovation in sustainable extraction (NATURA, 2011).
With the launch of one of their product lines “Ekos” in 2000, the company consolidated their commitment with the sustainable management of Brazilian biodiversity resources, including the share of benefits obtained from innovative products, whose development was owed to traditional knowledge and genetic resources. From here on, sustainable practices were formally incorporated into the processes of research projects.
An important milestone is represented by the study of oilseed plants from the Amazon region to ensure a sustainable supply chain for oils and butters intended for cosmetic use. In 2006, an industrial plant was built in the State of Pará and an extraction unit (Saboaria) for plant oils in 2007.
Challenges and Achievements:
The first step was to map oilseed plant species with potential for industrial use and with occurrence in the study area around Belem in the State of Pará. The demanding undertaking, carried out from 2005 to 2007 collected relevant species data, with a characterization of plant cover in 27 cities and a detailed forestry inventory of 278 areas in 17 selected cities. Moreover, it delivered a map of areas with the potential for sustainable management of oilseed plants, including the identification of producing cooperatives and associations in the region and the harvesting season for each oilseed species. These data assisted in determining production potentials, as well as defining proposals targeting sustainable management, while allowing biodiversity conservation in harmony with local culture and practices. Other parameters such as oil yield and post-harvest data, production coefficients, harvesting, processing, drying and good storage practices were useful in developing the supply strategy for the Saboaria unit.
The comprehensive research work was possible with support from research and extension institutions, NGOs, civil society organizations such as syndicates, and private suppliers, including rural ones and companies dealing with extraction machinery and manufacturers. At last, nine rural producers were identified to set up the supply chain for biodiversity products. This case study sheds light on the various benefits arising from the sustainable supply chain of oilseed plants.
NATURA has gained valuable knowledge about Amazonian oilseed species and the development of machinery and equipment that produce new oils and butters at industrial scale. In addition, valuing the forest and non-timber products raised awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation and cultural diversity.
Furthermore, NATURA pledges in favor of benefit sharing and fosters the social inclusion of producers embracing sustainable production practices while supporting their socio-economic conditions as the supply of oilseeds is a new source of income for communities.
Finally, the integration of an expertise network with capacity to embark on research and development of new ingredients, including products and processes improvement, is profitable for the economy, proves effective for the adoption of sustainable management practices thanks to the acknowledgement of the invaluable biodiversity resources of Brazil.
Source: “Study and Development of a Sustainable Production basis for the supply of plant oils from the Amazon” (Castellani, et al., 2011).