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Procure biodegradable ingredients for personal care products


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


Conduct an ingredient assessment: Work with internal teams to evaluate the sustainability of current ingredients. This process can include a life cycle analysis, to determine a baseline for key factors such as water and energy usage. Focus on identifying harmful ingredients that can be targeted for replacement.

Research biodegradable alternatives: Evaluate potential ingredients such as surfactants, preservatives, and emollients on multiple factors including sustainability credentials, sourcing methods, environmental impacts, and emissions reduction potential.

Cost-benefit analysis: Compare current ingredients with biodegradable ingredients, considering a variety of factors such as switching costs and the need for product reformulation, ingredient quality and efficacy, energy and water efficiency, compatibility with existing production processes, and commercial availability.

Opportunity Identification 

Business: Meet customer demand for effective products that are gentler and less toxic, as well as ensure compliance with environmental regulations

Sustainability: Contribute to the reduction of toxic chemicals within local water systems

Strategy Build & Execution

Work with internal teams to examine current products and processes to determine internal goals and KPIs for integrating biodegradable ingredients into product offerings. Example KPIs include the percentage of biodegradable ingredients used, reductions on environmental impacts, or cost savings.

Engage relevant stakeholders, including company leadership, product and marketing teams, suppliers, and customers to gauge their understanding of the benefits of using biobased ingredients and address concerns such as ingredient efficacy

Define the criteria for biodegradability: The term biodegradable is not currently defined or regulated, so it is critical to work with internal stakeholders to determine a common organizational understanding of biodegradability

Identify potential risk associated with switching to biodegradable ingredients, including supply chain disruptions, cost fluctuations, and quality standards and develop risk management strategies

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

Connect with current suppliers to identify the availability of biodegradable ingredients and determine if ingredient sourcing can be scaled to match your production needs.

Work with new and existing suppliers to verify ingredients comply with relevant regulations, which may include regulations around safety, environmental claims, and labelling

Develop a scorecard for evaluating suppliers to standardize comparison between different biobased ingredients, as well as between biodegradable ingredients and conventional products

If negotiating with suppliers is necessary, consider including clauses regarding ingredient traceability, quality standards, or sustainability performance to align with organizational goals.

Supplier Performance & Management

Encourage suppliers to proactively share new developments or initiatives and leverage their expertise to innovate in areas such as developing new formulations or improving existing formulas.

Where possible, seek out suppliers with relevant certifications (e.g. Good Manufacturing Practices, EU Ecolabel, ECOLOGO) and encourage existing suppliers to pursue certifications.

Continuously update and refine supplier scorecards with new metrics, revised scoring methodologies, or stakeholder feedback to reflect changes organizational priorities and criteria for biodegradable ingredients.

Resource Links

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