Making a positive impact

Anne-Sophie Gardes, Regional Technical Director EMEA and Stephane Lacoutiere, Global Marketing & Communication Director at IMCD Personal Care, explain how manufacturers can make a positive impact.

How does IMCD support its customers in crafting high performing products that balance ethical credentials with consumer appeal?
Stéphane: Today, our customers ask not only about where plant-based ingredients are made, but also about the farmers themselves, their practices, and the biodiversity on their farms. Consumers want to know the story of a product, beyond its functional benefits and ethical credentials, and manufacturers want to deliver on all fronts. IMCD enables this through expertise: we support our suppliers in understanding and implementing customer considerations to deliver a product that’s efficient, sustainable and on-trend.
How has the relationship between personal care brands and distributors evolved over the past 5–10 years?
Stéphane: Previously, functionality and efficacy were the biggest considerations for brands. Now, sustainability is also essential. Our customers want to know about traceability and ethics at every stage of the supply chain – our expert regulatory team does a lot of great work in supporting them. 

Anne-Sophie: IMCD also collaborates with suppliers to achieve the right level of precision in sustainability. It’s not only a matter of ingredient sourcing, but also of process and energy efficiency. Formulation labs and technical expertise then play an important role in demonstrating to customers how they can experiment with new ingredients to deliver solutions that are both ethical and attractive. 
How do we see consumer values reflected in their purchasing behaviour when it comes to personal care?
Anne-Sophie: Consumers want to support the communities that contribute to their personal care products, and they rely on brands to deliver. It’s also important to stay local: consumers are less interested in materials from far and wide unless they have an authentic sustainability story that demonstrates benefits for the community of origin. Preserving biodiversity and traditional ways of life, for example, is key.

Stéphane: Consumers have high expectations for green, ethical, natural and transparently sourced products, and they are drawn to accreditation schemes that can reassure them of a product’s credentials. We see this influence in the way some big-name brands are responding by creating their own scoring systems, underpinned by stringent KPIs