Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall Whose the Most Organic of Them All? Origins Launches an Organic Line

I was invited to speak this afternoon to Origins employees today as part of a series of events in the run-up to the company’s launch of their new organic line. I was so was impressed with the team’s dedication -- as well as their stellar ice cream sundae making skills. The products are hitting shelves in the next few weeks, but it’s taken years to get the line off the ground. A big challenge, they explained, has been the sourcing with zippo of some ingredients in the organic category. Glycerin, a common makeup ingredient, wasn’t available organically, for instance, so they had to get suppliers to shift to organic. Reading the ingredients list of these new products, I was pleased to notice that my brow wasn’t furrowing in worry.

Despite the team’s dedication to the environment and our health, the organic products at Origins, at least for now, will only make up only 6 percent of their total line. And Origin’s parent company, Estée Lauder, refuses to join the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, which has been signed by more than 600 companies and expresses a commitment to improving the environmental and health safety of cosmetics. (I think it’s ironic that Estee Lauder won’t sign this, but they have been getting big PR for their anti-breast cancer campaigns, while they sell products that include ingredients that may cause this.)

As we ate delicious ice cream sundaes (organic, of course) today, I shared the dream that one day we’ll look back on this time as the dark ages, when we humans did the unthinkable: Spread across our faces, in our hair, and on our bodies products with some ingredients that are untested for safety or are probable cancer-causers, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins.