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Sustainability and the Natural/Organic Personal Care Market: WFFC Business Dinner

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Posted: February 19, 2009

Jeana Wirtenberg of the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Jeana Wirtenberg & Associates presented her talk, “Sustainability: Forging a Path to a Brighter Future,” during Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce’s annual business meeting. Wirtenberg summarized the challenges in the “triple bottom line,” characterized by social, environmental and economic considerations—all of which will be challenged by an estimated global population that could reach 9.1 billion by 2050.

Despite this, Wirtenberg cited a 2007 AMA Sustainability Survey that showed most individuals are more concerned about sustainability issues than are their companies. The main limiting factors cited in the study included a lack of demand from consumers and customers, a similar lack of demand from managers and employees, in addition to low awareness and understanding, and few standardized metrics or benchmarks.

Yet the opportunities appear vast. Wirtenberg presented a laundry list of 2008 NBJ numbers outlining the size of various natural and organic personal care market segments:

  • The US natural and organic personal care (NOPC)/household cleaner market reached $9.23 billion in 2007, representing nearly 15% of the health and beauty market. This is growing at 23.3% annually.
  • Other NOPC category totals include: skin care, $2.9 billion; hair care/coloring, $1.5 billion; bath/toilet soap, $926 million; oral care, $563 million; fragrances and aromatherapy, $332 million; deodorants, $198 million; bath care, $138 million; baby care, $134 million; and shaving products, $127 million.

Whether motivated by consumer demand, population and ecological crises, or the lure of high-growth segments, Wirtenberg made a strong case for the future of sustainability in fragrances and personal care.