RSPO formulating and certification in cosmetics manufacturing

Expert insights from an R&D and Regulatory Compliance perspective on the significance of the stringent standards surrounding RSPO formulation and certification in the cosmetics industry.

May 13, 2024

5 mins read

Today’s consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental and social impact of the products they purchase. In a conscientious response to this environmental urgency, and the corresponding shift in consumer sentiment, the beauty industry is embracing more sustainable and responsible sourcing, production and regulatory practices.

One significant step forward is the formulation and certification of cosmetic products in accordance with the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

As a leading UK cosmetics manufacturer, THG LABS recognises the importance of RSPO certification and are committed to paving the way for a more sustainable future. In this post, members of our R&D and Regulatory teams explore the significance of the stringent standards surrounding RSPO formulation and certification in the cosmetics industry.

Palm Oil in Cosmetics

“The extensive use of palm oil in cosmetics is rooted in its unique bio-chemical properties, such as fatty acid composition, that make it a versatile and widely used ingredient for a broad range of formulations,” explains Kirsty Gainey, Account Head of R&D at THG LABS. “Palm oil derivatives enhance product stability, texture, and moisture retention but unregulated extraction has led to ecological concerns and the challenge lies in harnessing these properties while mitigating environmental disruption.”

Understanding RSPO Certification

The RSPO is a globally recognised organisation that promotes the responsible production of palm oil. RSPO certification is a voluntary process that allows companies to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable palm oil sourcing. It involves adhering to a set of stringent criteria designed to minimise the negative environmental and social impacts associated with palm oil production.

Our Quality and Regulatory Director, Richard Keightley talks us through the key benefits of RSPO certification for beauty brands:

  1. Environmental Responsibility:
    RSPO certification ensures palm oil used in cosmetics is sourced from suppliers who adhere to environmentally responsible practices, including forest conservation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This aligns with the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products.
  2. Social Accountability:
    RSPO certification also addresses the social aspects of palm oil production, ensuring that workers' rights are respected, fair wages are paid, and communities are not adversely affected by palm oil plantations.
  3. Responsible Choices:
    Brands that obtain RSPO certification demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and responsibility and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.
  4. Market Access:
    With more awareness of RSPO certification for both countries and retailers, and consumers looking for certification of the goods they purchase, having beauty products RSPO certified gives brands access to more purchasing possibilities for consumers.

THG LABS Expertise in Formulating with RSPO Certification

  1. Ingredient Selection:
    Formulating cosmetics with RSPO certification in mind requires a thorough understanding of palm oil derivatives and their variations. Different palm oil derivatives, like palm kernel oil, palm olein, and palm stearin for example, have distinct properties that can impact a product's texture, stability, and performance. Selecting the right palm oil derivative for specific formulations is crucial.
  2. Sustainable Palm Oil Sourcing:
    The journey toward RSPO formulation starts with responsible palm oil sourcing. To help us excel in this area, THG LABS have established strong relationships with RSPO-certified palm oil suppliers and we use our expertise to verify the integrity of the supply chain, ensuring that all palm oil derivatives meet the RSPO's stringent sustainability standards.
  3. Transparent Labelling and Communication:
    Clearly communicating your commitment to sustainability is crucial for building trust with your customers and accuracy is essential for certification. THG LABS regulatory team are experts in the guidelines around labelling to ensure consumers can easily identify RSPO-certified products.
  4. Formulation Stability:
    Understanding the impact of RSPO-certified ingredients on product stability is essential. Changes in ingredient sourcing can affect a product's texture, shelf life, and overall performance. The technical expertise of THG LABS cosmetic scientists in stabilising formulations to account for these variations is crucial to maintaining product consistency and quality.
  5. Sustainability Audits and Compliance:
    Compliance with RSPO guidelines requires attention to detail and a commitment to continuous improvement.  We regularly review our processes and conduct internal audits as well as annual audits from RSPO to ensure their standards are adhered to and maintained.
  6. Consumer Education and Advocacy:
    Beyond formulation, our teams across THG LABS advocate for sustainable practices and we educate our clients about the benefits of RSPO certification and the positive impact responsible palm oil sourcing has on the environment and communities. 

Navigating RSPO Certification with THG LABS

Formulating cosmetics with RSPO certification is a complex and multifaceted process which demands in-depth knowledge and experience.

As a leading UK-based Cosmetics Manufacturer, THG LABS state-of the art R&D labs and holistic, end-to-end service supports customers with a scientific and regulatory rigour which encompasses: ingredient selection, responsible sourcing, mapping global cosmetic legislation, transparent labelling, innovation, formulation stability and comprehensive auditing that ensures continuous compliance and market readiness

Our expertise in RSPO formulation makes a significant contribution to the sustainability and responsible sourcing goals of our clients while delivering high-quality products that meet the demands of the ever-growing number of eco-conscious consumers.

To explore how our team can support your brand, please get in touch: