North: Sarbec laboratories want to make cosmetics rhyme with ecological
Innovate to resist. Since their creation more than 50 years ago, Sarbec laboratories have tried to apply this motto in the ultra-competitive world of cosmetics and perfumery. Installed since 1969 in Neuville-en-Ferrain, in the North, the factory inaugurated, last week, a new production unit, focused in particular on the manufacture of “biosourced” bottles and packaging. A favorite domain for this little-known flagship of French industry which cultivates discretion.
A few hundred meters from the Belgian border, the “success story” of Sarbec is written daily in this old industrial area near Tourcoing. The northern cosmetics producer, better known by the name of its flagship product Corine de Farme, employs 700 people, releases 150 new cosmetic formulas on the market each year and has established itself in 60 countries. Turnover ? “We do not communicate on the subject”, underlines the CEO, Eric Jacquemet.
Frying oil to preserve beauty products
We would like to be able to tell you a great story about the choice of this brand name “Corine de Farme”. But the reality is more prosaic. “Farm because originally, vegetable decoction products were sold in pharmacies and Corine because it was the most common female first name in the 1960s”, merely indicates the communication department.
The presentations made, it is behind the scenes of production that we must look for the reasons for success. “We developed natural products before others and we immediately bet on mastering packaging,” explains Eric Jacquemet. In fact, the bottle factory allows the site to offer subcontracting to many brands: 42% of secret turnover.
And in this field, the company plays the precursors with the manufacture of containers entirely based on recycled vegetable oil. Frying oil to preserve beauty products, the idea may make you smile, but it has the merit of being ecologically innovative.
Developing the eco-refill market
“We are going to make the bottles thinner, underlines the boss of Sarbec. Bio-sourced products cost 50% more because there is no sector yet, but we compensate for the prices by reducing the weight of the bottle by 25%. This new natural light bottle will be used from September.
And to further reduce the use of raw materials, the company is counting on the emergence of the ecorefill market, which would make it possible to reduce the weight of the packaging by 70%. “We had already tried the experiment twenty years ago, but the French market, unlike its German counterpart, was not yet ready for change”, notes Eric Jacquemet. In any case, the production lines are ready to multiply the production of ecofills.
The challenge of recycling bottles remains to be met in the future, in order to permanently limit the use of raw materials. “The problem is that our natural products force us to enter the “food contact [contact alimentaire] “. However, there is no recycling channel for these containers, apart from a very small one in the United States”, regrets the CEO of Sarbec who says he dreams of a goal: “carbon neutrality” by 2050.
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