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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:

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.