Beauty but at what cost?
Face creams, lipsticks, mascaras ... a whole host of beauty products can contain a minefield of chemicals and preservatives, harmful to both skin and health if used incorrectly. Not only can their ingredients be harmful, but the ways in which the producers source ingredients or test the resultant products on animals may go against one's personal ethics. Some products are labelled with claims of being organic or natural with no real proof. What key words are involved with the greenwashing of cosmetics and beauty products? How can we protect ourselves? they seem. Many organisations who purport to produce green or organic products can simply be adept at rebranding and repackaging. Some, like Ahava Dead Sea cosmetics and products, are produced in illegal Israeli settlements but do not advertise this fact. In many countries and regions there are specialist stockists and online providers specialising in all areas of organic products such as skincare, makeup, body, hair and nail care products and fragrances (for example Naturisimo.com, and ethicalsuperstore.com). Certain blogs and websites, such as The Good Trade, provide resources and advice about buying cruelty free, ethical and organic brands and what to look out for when shopping. They also encourage more social entrepreneurship and conscious living. Care should be taken to check out a brand's green credentials , especially when you see the following key words on packaging and marketing:
Organic principles could be described as having ethical awareness, safeguarding an individual's health, respecting ecology, fair trade and working practices, and care of the environment and those working within it). Unfortunately, some companies choose to label a product as ‘organic’ even if it only contains 1% organic ingredients or if it contains potentially hazardous substances. When you see these products, be aware that brands may still include potentially harmful preservatives or other questionable ingredients in their products despite using organically derived raw materials. If an organic cosmetic originates from the US it should have the USDA Organic seal; from Europe, COSMOS (Cosmetic Organic Standard); and organic certified producers across the MENA region certified with SCS global and IFOAM - Organics International.
For years, the natural category has been the fastest growing segment of the global cosmetics industry, and reports predict the market will be worth $16 billion by 2020. It’s very clear that consumers are demanding natural and safer
products, so brands are rushing to respond to the demand. But what does it mean if you see natural on a label? Legally, nothing, since many countries don't regulate it. It may mean that all, or a certain percentage of a product’s ingredients are mineral or plantbased, rather than synthetic. To find out the level of a brand’s commitment to being natural, look for third-party certifications that you trust.
Beauty products that contain water, like shampoo, hand soap, and lotion, need to contain some sort of preservative to prevent yeast, bacteria, or mould from growing, because otherwise, they would be totally unsafe to use.
When a company claims a product is preservative-free, it could mean a few different things: The product may not contain any water, so it wouldn’t need a preservative in the first place; or the product may be made only with antioxidants (like tocopherol) or natural preservative boosters (like neem oil or rosemary oil). In a few rare cases, a brand may ask you to refrigerate the product or keep it on your shelf at room temperature for only a few days. Again, the term preservative-free may not mean that the product is safer for your health.
Not all chemicals are the enemy. In fact, all substances are considered chemicals: even water! So, this term can be misleading due to the lack of regulation. Instead of looking for products that are chemical-free, go for products without toxic, harmful, or questionable chemicals, and make sure to do your own research.
One example often quoted in business ethics classes is that of The Body Shop. Established in the UK in 1976 by the late Dame Anita Roddick, the company pioneered the manufacturing and selling of cosmetics that had "not been tested on animals" and which used "only natural ingredients". Its many slogans included "inspired by nature". Whilst there were some bumps along the way including a highly critical exposé article (2006) , its sourcing and use of palm oil (2009), and problems for suppliers and franchisees, it actually campaigned
Look at labels, not packaging
Some of the most blatant examples of greenwashing use packaging to convey that a food is green. The packaging may be, well, green! It may have pictures of the planet, or wheat fields, or may show farmers in the fields. It will look different than regular food packages, which are often in bright, primary colours. Remember that packaging like this doesn’t necessarily mean the ingredients are all natural. Food marketers — even the ones employed by health food companies, sadly — have become very adept at getting consumers to make connections between the appearance and the reality. It’s just not necessarily there. The solution is to read the labels. In some countries, food has to contain all the ingredients on its label. Make for and helped many of the causes it held dear - human and animal rights, environmental protection and animal protection. The Body Shop was sold in 2006 to France's L'Oréal to the chagrin of many of its long-time supporters who criticised L'Oreal for its animal testing. It has recently been sold to Brazil's Natura Cosméticos (summer 2017). the label your friend. It will tell you whether your vegetable stock for soup is made of hydrogenated powder or actually real vegetables.
Beware environmentally friendly slogans
Another ploy, used in both packaging and advertising, is to use slogans that imply environmentally friendly products. They may say “good for the earth” or “for your good health.” They’re designed to get sales from green-conscious consumers. This form of greenwashing can happen with no apparent financial penalty. They aren’t, after all, saying their products are green, sustainable or healthy. They’re just strongly implying it. The solution is to become more conscious of how misleading this kind of slogan can be. Remember: a slogan is not proof.
Look for proof
So, what is proof? There are legitimate certifications for environmentally friendly and healthy food. Organic foods usually require certification in many countries around the globe. Consumers should be wary of labels they cannot research.
Be aware of the variety of green practices
When a product is labelled or certified as being "green" it can refer to a very wide spectrum of practices. Does it mean healthy, unprocessed food? Does it mean sustainable farming practices? Sustainable practices in manufacturing? Does it mean commitments to minimal packaging, or eliminating cruelty to animals? The number of questions indicates the wide variety of green practices. A company, then, can say it’s green in one area, but may not be in another. A healthy food grower, for example, may use packaging washed with harmful chemicals. The solution here is to become acquainted with labels, certifiers, and companies in the natural food sector. Some practice green methods throughout the process. Others concentrate only on manufacturing, or only on organic farming. If you’re interested in eating green, find the products and companies that fit your needs and match your ethics. In addition, some companies making green claims are actually significantly harming the environment. To link in with our article about Palm Oil, in 2008, the Malaysia Palm Oil Council produced a green advertisement claiming; “Its trees give life and help our planet breathe, and give home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Malaysia Palm Oil. A gift from nature, a gift for life.” However, critics pointed out that palm oil plantations are linked to rainforest species extinction, habitat loss, pollution from slash and burn methods, and destruction of flood buffer zones. (Dahl, 2010).
Not greenwashed - just unethical and illegal
One example of unethical produce in our region would be those described as "settlement products" - products that are grown illegally by Israeli settlers on Palestinian land. In September 2017, the UN's Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, sent letters to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Countries implicated included Germany, South Korea, Norway, US and - and Israel. The Palestinian-led global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign seems to be gathering pace. Just as South African products were blacklisted in the 1980s, Israeli products - especially those from illegal settlements - are being shunned by both consumers and potential investors. By undertaking coordinated campaigns, they are seeing major successes. Israel's fruits and vegetables are some of its major exports - hitting this will have a direct impact. Israeli firms affected by the boycott include SodaSteam, Ahava Dead Sea products, and Sabra Hummus - who provide direct financial support to the Israeli Defense Forces (part of a joint venture with PepsiCo). Global firms that are experiencing divestment and negative publicity due to their involvement in Israel include Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and G4S. Significant "wins" include Veolia (transport/trams) and Orange (telecoms) selling up and leaving Israel altogether and G4S lost Bill Gates as an investor.
Middle East Organic & Natural Products Expo:
Your opportunity to research green and organic producers in MENA For the past 14 years, exhibitors and visitors at the Middle East Organic & Natural Product Expo have done business, launched new products and found new opportunities. The event provides international companies from different sectors with access to a dynamic and expanding market of organic and natural products. The organic food sector has seen growth with increasing number of organic farms and higher demand for organic and natural produce even in the medical and cosmetic sector. As awareness about the organic lifestyle and already high purchasing power increases, it can safely be assumed that this trend will only increase. The gradual shift in consumers' preference for organic food and products in the region has made this sector integral. Demand for organic foods is on the rise as consumers are increasingly placing more value on products that are good for their health and the environment. For instance, sales of organic packaged food in the Middle East and North Africa is increasing, in part, prompted by ex-pat consumers. However, at present, the sector is only valued at $110 million compared to mature markets like the US and Europe, where organic food is worth billions. The Middle East Organic & Natural Product Expo Dubai is being held during 11 December 2017 at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event is organised under the patronage of UAE Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, Ministry of Agriculture Saudi Arabia, Natural Products Association New Zealand, IFOAM - Organics International, Emirates Standardization & Metrology Authority (ESMA), Dubai Municipality, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and other leading national and international organisations.