Local Beauty Products Fight for Environmental Sustainability

Late this year or early next year, if you happen to visit the clothing and accessories retail chain Anthropologie & Co in America and find a product under the Runa Beauty brand, you are actually looking at a product made in Indonesia.

Indeed, what you may find may simply be beauty sponge. However, this shows that a domestic product, even if it has not been introduced for a long time, can be ogled by the international market, if it is truly unique.

Sponge made by Runa Beuty is quite unique because it uses coconut fiber, a waste that has been wasted more often. Named Mare Coco Sponge, the product is made of 70 percent coconut coir and 30 percent non-synthetic polyurethane foam (biopolyurethane) derived from castor oil (kastor). For that reason, according to the CEO of Runa Beauty, Sonia Garcia, Anthropologie invited her to join.

Sonia Garcia -- CEO of Runa Beauty – Developed a beauty sponge from coconut coir.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Sonia Garcia — CEO of Runa Beauty – Developed a beauty sponge from coconut coir. (Photo: Private Dock)

“Anthropology, which is in the same group as Urban Outfitter, is particularly interested in beauty spongeby Runa. That’s why I partner-up with Anthropology. Her mission Anthropoligie is also in line with Runa’s mission, so later this year we will launching Runa products in America, specifically in Anthropologie exclusively.”

Anthropology itself has a strong reason to cooperate with companies like Runa.

The US media reported that the American company with more than 200 stores around the world was recently awarded a “Not Good Enough” environmental rating from fashion rating agency Good On You.

The consideration is that this brand is considered not to minimize textile waste, avoid hazardous chemicals in its supply chain, or implement water reduction initiatives. This lack of concern for the environment is disappointing to many as the brand clearly has the resources to do better.

In short, this brand needs to improve its image by joining forces with environmentally friendly suppliers.

Beauty products are displayed at the Lush cosmetics shop in London, England May 7, 2017, as an illustration.  (Photo: REUTERS/Neil Hall)

Beauty products are displayed at the Lush cosmetics shop in London, England May 7, 2017, as an illustration. (Photo: REUTERS/Neil Hall)

Sonia, 28, said she came up with the idea of ​​using coconut coir during a visit to a palm oil supplier company in Singkawang, West Kalimantan. On the way there, he passed through a number of coconut plantations and found a lot of coconut husk wasted. Then he thought about how to use it.

“So this idea came when I visited Singkawang. There are many coconut plantations with coir waste. And I think it can be very useful. Finally the idea was born to make beauty sponge of coconut coir.”

Coconut Coir - Often wasted even though it offers many benefits.  (Photo: Courtesy/Runa Beauty)

Coconut Coir- Often wasted even though it offers many benefits. (Photo: Courtesy/Runa Beauty)

According to Sonia, there are around 50 billion coconut trees planted in Indonesia, and around 85 percent of the coir is often disposed of as garbage or burned, which further contributes to global pollution.

Runa Beauty’s role so far is still small. This company only uses 400 kilograms of coconut coir for its sponge production. But it is not impossible, Runa’s contribution will be greater if the scale of production increases.

Erika Simangunsong – CEO of Pavettia Skincare – develops skin care products from carica seed waste.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Erika Simangunsong – CEO of Pavettia Skincare – develops skin care products from carica seed waste. (Photo: Private Dock)

Pavettia Skincare, a local independent brand, is also trying to make use of industrial waste. This brand utilizes carica (mountain papaya) seeds as a source of oil for various beauty products.

Erika Simangunsong, CEO of Pavettia, said that so far, carica seeds are generally wasted after the fruit is used to make souvenirs typical of the Dieng area in Central Java. The fishing industry has tried to use this waste as feed, but in relatively low amounts.

“We process this waste into dry seeds, then into oil and then into final products such as cleansing oil and lip color. In the next few years, we will use it for other skin care products such as body lotion and facial moisturizer.”

Carica (mountain papaya)– The seeds are rich in oil and can be used for various beauty products.  (Photo: Courtesy/Pavettia Skincare)

Carica (mountain papaya)– The seeds are rich in oil and can be used for various beauty products. (Photo: Courtesy/Pavettia Skincare)

According to Erika, Pavettia, who has won a number of environmental awards – such as the best start-up company, Proudly Made in Indonesia and the SME Award – is indeed committed to the environment. Utilization of food industry by-products is a form of intervention by the company to make positive changes at the supply chain level.

Pavettia’s commitment to the environment is not limited to the utilization of waste seeds, but also to empowering local communities. The company does not buy the waste seeds from the food and beverage company Carica but from the local women’s community who are willing to treat the waste.

“Our business partners in Dieng, Wonosobo, do not profit from carica seed waste. Instead, they empower women who live near the factory to process the waste. So Pavettia does not pay to the food and beverage producers, but to the women who treat the waste,” said Erika.

For Pavettia, other sustainability commitments include ensuring that the ingredients she uses come from her farm that is free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other hazardous materials that can damage the environment.

Empowered to process carica seeds (Photo: Documentation of Pavettia Skincare)

Empowered to process carica seeds (Photo: Documentation of Pavettia Skincare)

Apart from utilizing carica seed waste in Dieng, Pavettia also has his own farm in Subang, West Java, which produces the ingredients needed for other beauty products. Since its launch in 2016, the ingredients of its beauty products rely heavily on what the farm produces.

Besides Pavettia and Runa Beuty, another local independent beauty product brand that is trying to make a positive contribution is Evening, this brand supports environmental sustainability by producing reusable cotton pads that are processed from cloth waste, and reusable cotton buds (ear cleaners). made of silicone. Evening is one of the first brands to produce reusable beauty products in Indonesia.

Runa Beauty also pays attention to environmental sustainability aspects in its production chain. Since its launch in 2019, the brand has sourced its ingredients from small, independent manufacturers. Sonia said it was part of Runa’s mission to continue cultivating native Indonesian plants and minerals in the healthiest way possible.

People stand inside a cosmetics shop in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

People stand inside a cosmetics shop in Berlin, Germany, July 14, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)

This business is not easy, according to Sonia, her company monitors suppliers closely to determine the exact origin of each plant and mineral supplied to her company. It must ensure that every raw material is cultivated sustainably and the parties involved are properly compensated.

Despite the complex stages of production, offering eco-friendly beauty products is not easy. However, both Sonia and Erika agree, the growing knowledge of environmental burdens has changed consumer buying patterns in a more ethical direction.

Digital content creator for eco-friendly beauty products, Ankayama Lowing, 35, observes this development. He said that in the past, the Indonesian market valued imported beauty products more than local products. Indonesian consumers don’t even like – or don’t trust – eco-friendly products. However, now the situation has changed.

Ankayama Lowing, digital content creator for eco-friendly beauty products.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Ankayama Lowing, digital content creator for eco-friendly beauty products. (Photo: Private Dock)

Ankayama said Indonesian consumers are now starting to take into account the environmental burden created by a brand before deciding to buy its products.

“Our consumers are critical, because in Indonesia there are many environmental problems. And I think local brands that carry the concept of being environmentally friendly will not be able to develop, if there is no market, if there is no demand. So in Indonesia it is more real. We better understand why we need more environmentally friendly products,” he said.

As an environmental activist, Ankayama strongly supports what Runa, Pavettia, Evening and other similar local companies are doing.

“For me, this is new. There is a local company that wants to raise something that is not popular. They make use of waste. They can make it into useful objects, and make beauty enthusiasts feel the benefits. It works. Even though it’s from waste, it can be used,” said Ankayama.

Ankayama harnesses the power of social media to raise environmental issues related to beauty products, and encourage serious conversation about the importance of a sustainable environment. He realized that the growing passion among consumers to try various beauty products has increased environmental waste.

Through social media, this graphic designer, for example, invites his followers to use skin care bottles as photo props, lipstick holders, or beauty product containers. She also introduced a journal containing eco-friendly beauty tips.

Eco-Friendly Beauty Journal –Minimize wastage to save the environment.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Eco-Friendly Beauty Journal –Minimize wastage to save the environment. (Photo: Private Dock)

Reusing has always been his mantra to minimize wastage.

“Our mothers and the generations before us have set an example for us. My mother always reuses unused packaging, like keeping coins in a peanut butter jar or vegetables in an ice cream box. But why for our generation, the idea of ​​reusing seems irrelevant?” explains Ankayama.

Ankayama also invites his followers to do research first before buying a product. He reminds them to identify environmentally harmful ingredients in a product, and find out if the brand has an eco-friendly initiative.

Ankayama emphasized that environmental sustainability related to beauty products is the responsibility of producers and consumers. As a form of concern for the environment, he encourages consumers to evaluate their consumption patterns wisely and the environmental impacts that can be caused by these consumption patterns. [ab/uh]

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