"naturamus – Sustainable Innovations for a Forward-thinking Cosmetics Industry" - Interview with Ralf Kunert, Managing Director, naturamus GmbH
Ralf Kunert, Managing Director
Mr. Kunert, what does naturamus stand out for?
For the production and marketing of innovative cosmetic raw materials. We focus on finding solutions for a growing market for sustainable cosmetics.
Why do you claim to be sustainable?
The naturamus team develops ecologically and socially sustainable cosmetic raw materials the market has not known before. For example, almost 20 years ago we developed the first organic shea butter with Agrifaso. Together with our partner, Castor Products Company, (CPC), we also were the first to develop Fair for Life certified organic castor oil with.
We see ourselves as a recognizer of innovative solutions. We see a sentence like "this does not exist" as a mandate for action. But our focus is not only on measurable product quality, but also on the conditions at the origin of the raw material. We promote ecological agriculture as well as fair working conditions and traceable supply chains. A noticeably growing demand for organic raw materials, or the expected supply chain law in Germany prove that we are in line with the trend.
The “Supply Chain Act”, you mentioned, will transfer the responsibility for manufacturing practice to traders and producers like you. How do you deal with this?
Product traceability and supply chain transparency are the keys to success here. This is part of our self-understanding. We work directly with our international partners and guarantee product traceability. The manufacturing practice of our partner project “Limbua” in Kenya gives prove to this. Thanks to a sophisticated and self-developed tracking system, the employees of Limbua can trace the macadamia nuts back to the individual farmers. In our opinion this is absolutely unique and worth supporting.
Therefore, we are constantly expanding our cooperation with Limbua. The 5000 smallholders with whom Limbua cooperates grow avocados, among other things, in addition to macadamia nuts. We in turn support Limbua in marketing organic Fair for Life certified avocado oil for the cosmetic industry.
This shows that our business relations with Argentina, India, Kenya, Afghanistan, Spain or Italy have been growing for years. We visit our partners as often as possible. Our cooperation is always designed for the long term. Therefore, we know our partners very well and can evaluate working conditions. If our partners face challenges, we can look for solutions together.
In addition, all our partners are at least certified organic; some have Fair for Life certification. This shows that our partners and we are subject to the control of external auditors. Compliance with high environmental, product quality and work standards are regularly monitored.
You have spoken of innovations can you give an example?
We develop raw materials that the market did not know in organic quality before. For example, together with our Argentinean partner "Fuhrmann Argentina", we developed the world's first certified organic wool wax. Wool wax is a traditional cosmetic and pharmaceutical raw material that is a by-product of wool production. So actually, nothing new. Nevertheless, up to now no producer has been able to produce wool wax in organic quality due to the complexity of the process handling.
You mentioned that you also process by yourselves. What exactly do you do and why?
At the beginning, I’ve mentioned that we don't base our quality standards only on the product quality itself. We also attach importance to process quality in manufacturing.
In our oil mill, we, therefore, process organic and Demeter seeds such as almonds, apricot kernels and macadamia nuts particularly gently into native premium oils for the European and US food and natural cosmetics markets. By adhering to the strictest hygiene standards, we produce pure batches and varieties. Our years of expertise make us a carefully working, reliable oil partner.
In recent years, we have been able to perfect our production processes not only in the oil mill. In our second area of production, our experience has also enabled us to reduce the methyl eugenol (ME) content in organic rose oils (analog cert.) with as little change as possible to the sensory notes of the rose oils. In addition, we produce organic hydrolates with essential oils which promise consistent quality throughout the year and have microbiological advantages in comparison to genuine products.
If you summarize this again, what is the strength of naturamus?
We recognize challenges in the cosmetics industry and offer solutions for our clients. We distinguish ourselves through integrity, traceability and transparency, and we work out customer-specific opportunities that meet the expectations of critical consumers.