Focus: Consumer Goods
Location: Toronto, Canada
For decades, beauty products have been made with toxic ingredients such as parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and toluene. Not only are these ingredients difficult to pronounce, but they are also harsh on the body and harmful for the environment. Over time, even small doses can cause cancer, infertility, and damage to marine life. Out of the 10,000 chemicals used in beauty products, 1,328 have been banned in the European Union, 496 have been banned in Canada, and only 11 have been banned in the United States. Nevertheless, it remains likely that companies which advertise their products as “natural”, “pure”, and “healthy” won’t need to disclose all the toxic ingredients they are using. With the beauty industry valued at about $500 billion, there has been little incentive to change, until now.
In April 2014, Victor Udeh Martin and Younes Terrab founded Lavina with the goal of helping people embrace and celebrate their natural beauty. The company specializes in cold-pressed organic beauty products, sourced from women cooperatives around the world. Younes adds “we source some of the rarest and most versatile plant oils in the world that will have you looking and feeling radiant.” Lavina’s strong commitment to green chemistry can be seen with all their skincare, haircare and facial products. For instance, their Argan oil is cold-pressed from the kernels of the Argan tree, which only grows in southwest Morocco. According to geologists, Argan trees prevent soil erosion and can survive from 125 to 450 years. By working with Ecocert- and USDA-certified women’s cooperatives in Aït Iaaza, Lavina not only empowers women in rural Morocco, but it also raises awareness about the need to conserve the Argan tree. Once covering North Africa, Argan forests are now endangered and protected by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve.
As Lavina grows, the team aims to work with big retailers while ensuring that customers remain their number one source of inspiration. They are also working on their next line of oils, which will feature natural ingredients such as Avocado and Marula. Younes explains: “We want everyone to celebrate their natural beauty, embrace their unique characteristics and bring a focus back to something that many of us sometimes take for granted: the base of our skin.”
Environmental impact: Avoided use of harmful chemicals, avoided deforestation, avoided water contamination
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