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Saving the planet while saving one’s skin

By Joseph L. Garcia, Reporter

MORE than helping the face, Garnier is helping the planet.

A newly launched serum from the L’Oreal-owned brand Garnier — the Bright Complete Anti-Acne Serum — claims to be able to clear acne marks and dark spots in a matter of three days to about a week. The formulation containing 4% Vitamin C reduces dark spots, while Niacinamide soothes the skin and fades acne marks. Salicylic acid reduces acne and controls oil production, while Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), a popular ingredient in beauty products, exfoliates skin and decreases inflammation, tightens pores, and helps prevent acne. It’s recommended to be used with the Garnier Ant-Acne Foam.

More than that, however, it’s part of a thrust for Garnier’s overall Green Beauty campaign.

“Globally, we’re fixing all of our manufacturing plans to be carbon-neutral,” Garnier Philippines Marketing Director Josteen Vega told BusinessWorld during the Garnier Green Gala on Sept. 5 in Quezon City. “We’re really making sure that by 2025 or 2026, we don’t use any virgin plastic anymore.”

Locally, they’re concentrating on more “Filipino-relevant” initiatives. These include plastic collecting efforts with its partner, Watsons, and donating a mangrove seedling to Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA) to plant in Leyte for every purchase of the Garnier All-Star kit. Finally, for its online store on Lazada and Shopee, it has shifted packaging from plastic to recyclable paper.

The packaging itself has also been made more sustainable. Its makeup-removing Micellar Water’s bottle is made of post-consumer recycled plastic; while its serums come in recyclable glass bottles. Plastic waste is still an issue, but Mr. Vega says they’ve been working on it. “To be very honest with you, we have sachets. Globally, we’re moving towards moving away from sachets by 2025. For the meantime, we’re influencing from within.”

The ingredients for the products are also largely sustainably derived: “We partner with communities around the world. We pick communities that actually produce these ingredients, and we source it from them.”

Garnier was acquired by French cosmetics giant L’Oreal in the 1970s. With the push of its Green Beauty campaign, it would seem that only Garnier is vocal in its environmental advocacies. However, L’Oreal has not tested products on animals for about 30 years. “The whole company is green,” said Mr. Vega. “It’s just that with Garnier, it’s always been its core; it’s always been its essence.”

He cites that L’Oreal Paris has advocacies for women empowerment, while Maybelline (another L’Oreal owned-brand) advocates for self-confidence and expression. “There’s a mouthpiece [brand] for each advocacy,” he said.

One wonders sometimes what the whole point and benefit is for a conglomerate to have to be caring about the environment, when for business purposes, it’s usually easier for companies to turn a blind eye.

“It actually does cost us more,” said Mr. Vega. “The production of renewable materials and ingredients is not that scaled yet. But it’s a matter of starting it. As we start this, and as the big conglomerate that we are, we have the bets that will trigger the change,” he said.

It should be noted that Garnier is relatively inexpensive, this new serum costing P649 for 30mL. “Usually, sustainable products are very expensive. The fact that Garnier is priced accessibly, I think that’s a big thing as well,” said Mr. Vega.

“Right now, we’re bearing that cost, but what matters is really how we’ll be able to impact the environment moving forward,” he said. “We understand that corporations and manufacturing have been a culprit in previous years, and it’s about owning up to that and saying that now is time for us to change,” he admitted.

“It’s about really trying to make a difference and making sure that this planet is still around for future generations.”

The Garnier Bright Complete Anti Acne Serum is available on Lazada and Shopee and leading stores.

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