Sou: Integrated results

New sub-brand shows the way to more conscious forms of consumption and proposes new production methods that are now being applied to other Natura product lines

“Why do you need what you don't need?” During three years, this question was formulated and reformulated countless times by dozens of people in the different Natura areas involved in the development of a new sub-brand. The challenge was to launch a product line for daily use in which the company believed there was a great opportunity for products linked with Natura's Essence and its commitment to sustainable development. This led to the launch of the sub-brand Sou in June 2013, which made a significant contribution to company sales and environmental results in the second half of the year.

Every detail of the new line was planned to optimize production and commercialization, resulting in a lower cost and a more environmentally sustainable product for the consumer.Aimed at encouraging consumers to reflect on relevant contemporary issues, Sou also assumed the challenge of addressing conscious consumption and combating excess and waste, while delivering full Natura quality. “We were seeking to establish a direct dialog with our consumers and a way of conversing with a more urban audience. During the creative process, we developed the understanding that the theme was conscious consumption”, Business Unit director Fabiana Pellicciari, recalls. “It was very clear from company research that the consumer already understands the value of sustainable products, but still does not want to or cannot pay more for these. Conscious consumption is nothing more than focusing on what is truly necessary. So we started to ask: how can we make a product focused on what is essential from the consumer's viewpoint?”, she adds.

 

This led to the development of a formula containing fewer ingredients and 80% vegetalized content. “We realized we could have just a single fragrance and not use coloring agents, which are not very important for the consumer”, Fabiana recalls. The single pack for the 27 items in the line adopts a pouch format that uses 70% less plastic than conventional ones and permits consumers to use every last drop of the product. The new pack also generates gains during the distribution phase, permitting a greater number of products to be transported per vehicle.

Natura acquired exclusive manufacturing equipment for the line, enabling a reduction in energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste generation at all stages of production.

The development of the Sou line has already led to changes in other company sub-brands. In 2013, Natura launched new refills for the Natura Plant hair care line in pouch format – the same used by Sou, which have a lower impact than conventional refills.

When the Ekos line was launched in 2000, it led to a series of innovations at Natura, such as the relationship model with the supplier communities and the use of new social biodiversity ingredients. The expectation now is that Sou may also generate learning that will be incorporated throughout the company's value chain.

Key differentials

Every last drop: the pack permits every last drop of the product to be used
No excess in formula: with vegetable ingredients and no coloring agents
The important things remain: moisturizing, involving texture and delicious fragrance
Efficient process: less waste, less time to manufacture and less energy
New pack: 70% less plastic and 60% fewer pollutant gas emissions

Pack disposal is the next challenge

Gains in the production and distribution stages of the new Sou line were guaranteed by the pouch format packs, with significant reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and in waste generation. But the project team is still working on one challenge: the pack consists of a mixture of plastics not readily acceptable in conventional recycling chains.

To make recycling of the pouch pack technically and commercially feasible, Natura established partnerships with external researchers to find solutions that enable the reinsertion of the material in the production chain or use as an input for other industries.

After the challenge was launched via the Natura Campus, the company's open innovation platform, these partners identified different technological applications and items in which the post-consumption pouch could be used. These results will be incorporated into the development of a disposal strategy for the Sou pack.

In addition to launching refills in the same pouch format as the Sou line, significantly reducing waste generation, the Natura Plant sub-brand also incorporated new packs produced with green plastic, generating fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The brand portfolio was renewed, with new formulations and labels containing product descriptions in Braille for the visually impaired.

The Aquarela make up sub-brand was relaunched with a collection inspired by the Brazilian Modernist movement, containing a lighter formulation, new textures and new pack designs developed to reduce environmental impact.

Another novelty for the year was the launch of Natura UNA BB, a multi-benefit SPF 30 cream that controls oiliness and confers a uniform tone on the skin while moisturizing and protecting it from the sun.

Extending the presence of Brazilian biodiversity ingredients in Natura products, the Natura Ekos line launched four new products based on açaí palm oil, two of which use buriti and one which uses yerba mate leaves, as well as two new bath essences.