NOPEX 2024 Speaker Spotlight: Mark Smith

In our Speaker Spotlight series, get to know our speakers before you see them. Find out what trends Mark Smith – Sustainable Beauty Coalition & Director General, NATRUE, predicts this year, who they admire in the industry, and why you should attend their session at Natural & Organic Products Expo this April.

Q: What one person or business in the natural & organic industry do you really admire and why?

There isn’t one person or business whom I admire above others in the natural & organic industry. For me it’s more admiration to those committed individuals I have had the pleasure of working with – for example: my fellow steerco members and co-chairs, Jo Chidley and Oriele Frank, at the Sustainable Beauty Coalition; my colleagues in the NATRUE staff; members of NATRUE’s internal working groups; suppliers, brands and manufacturers worldwide whom we interact with as part of our work at NATRUE; and experts from other associations and industry we work with in Brussels.

Q: What do you see as key trends for natural & organic in the coming year?

Sustainability will remain an inevitable primary focus for the cosmetics industry. Increasingly the spotlight falls under aspects across the entire lifecycle of a product. Trends can fall across various areas ranging from ingredient sourcing, conserving natural resources and biodiversity through to ensuring an overall lower environmental impact – including the end-of-life of ingredients and packaging. Packaging and packaging materials still remain a top priority with greater emphasis on recycling of recyclable materials, but applications that permit refill and reuse. It remains the case that the natural and organic beauty sector is impacted by the consumers’ ability to pay for products with rising costs of living. So, there may be a shift from use of higher priced products towards cheaper alternatives.

Q: Can you give us an example of what your business is doing to become even more sustainable?

As staff at NATRUE, wherever we can we walk or take public transport to lower our footprint. However, this is not always possible given that industry meetings may take place internationally in a short timeframe. As an organisation, our business card that embodies our direct sustainable action is our label. In this context we are adapting our procedures to on-going regulatory changes – particularly in the EU, consumer demands and social best-practices and environmental needs in respect of improved sustainability.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role and the most challenging?

Since there isn’t one defining aspect a few examples of the most rewarding aspects include: working with our dedicated team in Brussels; assisting our members and label users; communicating to consumers; and engaging with and presenting to external stakeholders on NATRUE activities. The most challenging aspect is keeping on top of the diverse range of emerging and evolving legislation, as well as how these can impact the NATRUE label and its criteria.

Q: How important is Natural & Organic Products Expo trade show to the you/industry?

The show is a quintessential opportunity to connect with new stakeholders in the UK and international sector, as well as reconnect with colleagues at the Sustainable Beauty Coalition. It also provides the opportunity to share and communicate new research, work, and perspectives from the sector, as well as enhance further collaboration.

Q: Why should visitors attend your session at the show?

To learn more about how businesses can, and will need to, adapt to the opportunities and challenges of the green transition in major markets. The session will provide insight into ways to navigate greenwash and explain the various policy, guidelines, and tools for a sustainable, planet-positive future.

Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given.  

It’s easier to know what you don’t like, than what you do.

Q: Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know.

 I am a keen drummer.

See Mark Smith alongside Jessi Baker and Victoria Brownlie in the panel session ‘Empowering the Green Transition (Sustainable Beauty Coalition)’ at 10.30 – 11.10 on Monday 15 April.  Register for a trade ticket here.