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Natura — one of South America's largest skincare and cosmetics companies — is launching a new line of sustainable care products. Biōme takes a holistic approach to sustainability: its solid soaps and shampoos aren't just waterless and plastic-free, they're vegan and come in optional containers made of biopolymers created using captured methane.
Biōme's products also contain an ingredient that conscious consumers have learned to avoid: palm oil. But rather than switching to a less controversial emollient, Natura partnered with Brazilian farmers and scientists to develop a regenerative method of cultivating oil palms.
Instead of huge tracts of monoculture, palms in the world's first oil palm agroforestry system are planted alongside crops like cassava, banana, pepper, cocoa and açaí. Which doesn't just create a more biodiverse environment, but also provides growers with income throughout the year, and removes their reliance on a single crop.
Currently only available from a physical concept shop in São Paulo, Biōme is set to launch on Natura's online store soon, and will expand to 20 products.
Over the past decade, consumers have become increasingly aware of the devastation connected to palm oil, as deforestation of millions of hectares of tropical rainforest is driving orangutans and other species to the brink of extinction.
However, there's a reason palm oil is used in everything from doughnuts to lipstick. It's cheap, extremely versatile and, most importantly, an incredibly productive crop. Replacing palm oil with rapeseed oil, for example, would require five times as much land.
So the simplest option for progressive brands and their conscious customers — boycotting palm oil — might not be the most sustainable solution. Natura's methods have the potential to build natural resources instead of depleting them. Want to learn more about how consumerism can align with climate activism? Check out our TERRAPY trend briefing.
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