Frederic Widell, Vice President, Head of South Asia & Managing Director, Oriflame India, talks on how they are working towards environment protection and sustainability.
Focusing on sustainability Oriflame as a company pays a lot of attention towards their forest restoration, protection of water and gives emphasises on clean energy target. In conversation with Frederic Widell, Vice President, Head of South Asia & Managing Director, Oriflame India, Outlook finds out about the company’s sustainable business practices and responsibility towards environmental protection.
How do you make beauty products sustainable?
Oriflame is taking all possible actions in making the products sustainable. The company is putting in all efforts to increase the positive impact on people’s lives and reducing any negative impact on the environment. This is a key part of our sustainability strategy. We are working to improve our products’ sustainability across all categories.
‘Love Nature’ is our flagship range of sustainable products with biodegradable rinse- off formulas. In 2020, we set even higher standards for ourselves and launched Love Nature skin care range with biodegradable and silicone-free rinse offs along with paraben-free formulations and organically sourced natural extracts and natural exfoliants
We were one of the first cosmetics companies in the world to use raw materials sourced directly from nature like instead of using petroleum-based synthetic alcohols in our Eau de Toilettes, perfumes and aerosols, we use natural alcohols that that are made out of fermented grains which I feel is a great step in promoting the use of natural raw materials and reducing climate impact.
How environment-friendly is the beauty industry?
Today, the consumer is more aware than ever about what ingredient goes into the making of a product. Recent trends suggest that they prefer brands that use buzzwords like ‘natural extracts’, ‘organic’, ‘ethically-sourced’. New-age consumers, especially millennials and GenZ, are making brands rethink their sustainability practices and take steps towards advancing these actions as the effects of global warming, deforestation, and oceanic pollution become more apparent.
We are back to demand for products with natural solutions and we are proud that our Swedish nature has played an important role in strengthening this trend. We were amongst the first in the world to create products with natural extracts such as birch sap extract, decades before other brands started doing so.
In fact, all our extracts are sourced from nature and our cosmetic ingredients undergo rigorous Eco-Ethical Screening to assess their source, quality, and safety. We go beyond the strict European safety standards (which ban 1,300 ingredients) to exclude an additional 60 ingredients that may be of concern. Palm oil is a common ingredient used in the personal care and beauty industry associated with environment concerns and we use 100 percent sustainable certified palm oil.
Oriflame’s stand against the use of tiny plastic microbeads in scrub products…
Microplastic contamination is identified as a cause of water pollution. We therefore decided to stop using plastic microbeads and plastic glitter in our rinse-off products and started testing alternatives in early 2013. We identified several alternatives of natural origin, including plant waxes, nutshells and seeds that all met our high performance and safety expectations. By the end of 2016, we had stopped manufacturing rinse-off products with plastic microbeads and glitter, much before some of our peers and before the ban on them was announced by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). We continued to use only natural origin scrubs in all our exfoliating products.
How does Oriflame contribute to protect water?
Water the most precious life source. About 800 million Indians lack potable water due to water pollution and as per NITI Aayog report, major cities in India may run out of ground water by 2021. As a holistic beauty company, major impact on water comes during consumer usage stage, but also manufacturing processes. We have been addressing the dual challenge of water pollution and water scarcity. To check efficient water usage during our manufacturing process, our wellness factory in Roorkee is designed to reuse 100 percent of its water. Rainwater is also collected and used to replenish ground water here. To address water pollution, we stopped using plastic microbeads in our rinse -off products since 2016. Further, our Love Nature rinse-off range is biodegradable which means it breaks down naturally in water without affecting aquatic ecosystems.
How does Oriflame contribute towards India’s clean energy targets?
To support the government initiatives and meet our own climate targets, we purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for all Oriflame operated sites. Furthermore, Solar panels installed at our factory in Roorkee cover eight percent of the factory’s consumption. We have achieved 48 percent reduction in GHG (GreenHouse Gases) emissions since 2010. We have 100 percent climate neutral operations. In India, through one such project in Tamil Nadu, we contributed to the increase of 76 hectares of forest cover and capacity training of 279 community members, of which 103 are women.
How does your company address forest-related risks?
Being a social selling company, we use catalogues to reach our customers. 100 percent of our catalogue paper, product leaflets, and paper packaging comes from recycled materials or credibly certified sources. We give preference to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC™) certified paper, when possible. Palm oil is another raw material used in the beauty industry but linked to environmental concerns. As a member of RSPO (The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) we have a responsibility to source palm oil sustainably. We use 100% sustainable certified palm oil.
How are the company’s efforts positioned to drive sustainability in India?
We are at a stage when climate change isn’t something that will happen in future, but we are already experiencing its effects in the form of severe droughts and intense cyclones. Consumer demand for products is increasing which are not only safe for them but also the planet. As we celebrate 25 years of Oriflame India, we are also entering the last decade to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Sustainability is an intrinsic part of our brand. Beauty by Sweden is all about responsible beauty, inspired by nature and powered by science