Aveda Supply Chain


Social and Environmental Responsibility in Our Supply Chains

In our 2013-2014 Earth and Community Care Report, we explained some of the complexities of multiple supply chains for commodity materials and small quantity specialty botanicals and showed how the Aveda Mission is fulfilled through our ingredient sourcing practices and partners, particularly around transparency, traceability and commitment to the Aveda Mission. We also noted the challenges of finding suppliers that can meet business requirements, including compliance with ELC’s Code of Conduct (COC), and provide environmental and social value, while at the same time diversifying our supply sources to reduce risks from global climate change and encouraging suppliers for whom Aveda is an overwhelming majority of sales to seek out new customers and new markets.

Going beyond the required COC audits, Aveda has been involved with a vendor survey on social and environmental responsibility as part of the ELC Green Chemistry program. The survey was developed with ELC’s consultant Sustainability A to Z, sent to all suppliers in 2012, and analyzed by Sustainability A to Z. Aveda-initiated updates to the survey included questions on raw materials and sustainability management that were distributed in autumn 2016. The results and analysis will be used to develop vendor scorecards in fiscal year 2017.

Aveda R&D personnel look at the “green” profile of vendors and their materials in an informal upfront screening prior to pursuing certification as an ELC supplier. Aveda, which serves as the ELC Corporate Center of Excellence for Hair Care and for NOGS (Natural, Organic, Green and Sustainable), is developing training modules to support Aveda scientists who work directly with our vendors. For example, in June and July of 2016, the NOGS team delivered training to the scientists on sustainable palm that included questions to ask potential vendors on their palm policies, our requirements for RSPO Mass Balance[1] certified ingredients (see palm discussion in the 2013-2014 ECC Report), and how to encourage vendors to seek RSPO Mass Balance certification for noncertified ingredients that Aveda may be interested in using.

Palm-Based Ingredients

In 2015-2016, Aveda continued our effort to source more sustainable palm-based ingredients. Our 2013-2014 report [include link], includes an extensive discussion about the issues associated with palm-based ingredients, and our program for addressing them. Aveda exclusively sources palm fruit oil that is both RSPO certified Identity Preserved and Organic certified for the very limited quantities we use of this ingredient, and we are in the process of shifting our supply chain of palm kernel oil (PKO) derivatives to RSPO Mass Balance (MB) certified, switching to non-PKO alternatives where possible, purchasing GreenPalm certificates for noncertified PKO derivative ingredients, and making sure our suppliers comply with ELC’s non-deforestation palm policy.

We have developed a babassu betaine which is used as an alternative to palm-based surfactants in a number of our products. The vast majority of our palm-based purchases are commodity ingredients derived from palm kernel oil (PKO). Aveda’s Global Supplier Relations team has worked with the Research and Development team to inventory our PKO derivative materials and in partnership with ELC, has been working with our suppliers to gain access to versions of these ingredients made with RSPO MB certified PKO.

Based on these efforts, we have set the following goals for the percentage of palm-based ingredients purchased by Aveda that are RSPO Mass Balance Segregated or Identity Preserved (IP) certified:

Annual Goals for Certified Palm Ingredients













Aveda achieved a little over 30% MB or IP certified in 2016, and we are confident of achieving our 2017 and 2018 goals of 50% and 70% respectively, based on work already underway by several key vendors to convert additional materials to MB certified PKO. While the path beyond that is currently not as clear, we believe that continued pressure will lead to the availability of MB certified PKO versions of our remaining palm-based ingredients and enable us to achieve our goals for 90% in 2019 and ultimately 100% in 2020.


Organic Content

Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher was a passionate advocate for the power of plants. “They give us food, medicine, clothes and shelter,” said Horst, “they exhale what we inhale.” His awareness of the importance of plants to humankind made him concerned with protecting biodiversity. He deeply feared deforestation would cause loss of plant species with yet undiscovered powerful beneficial properties.

Aveda’s logo includes the words, “The art and science of pure flower and plant essences,” referring to the importance of essential oils in the aromas of Aveda products and our commitment to use plant-based actives. Sourcing high-integrity essential oils and extracts, from organically grown or responsibly wild-harvested plants is a foundation of Aveda’s success.

We seek out ingredient suppliers that are capable of working with a wide variety of growers and processors, some of which are traditional communities that have had limited experience with industrial scale supply chains. Some of Aveda’s ingredient suppliers provide training to growers and processors such that they increase their ability to meet requirements for consistent quality and delivery. In addition, they may help provide training in organic agricultural methods and associated business procedures such as recordkeeping and modern social and labor practices increasing opportunities in organic and fair trade markets.

We use a wide variety of botanical oils and herbal ingredients. In fiscal year 2016, 96% by weight of Aveda’s essential oil purchases used in our aromas, and 85% by weight of other whole botanical oils and butters purchased, such as sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, babassu oil, shea butter and cupuaçu butter were certified organic. Products with certified organic ingredients may be labeled in different ways depending on the percentage of certified organic content.[2]

Aveda products that contained 100% certified organic ingredients in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 included:

Aveda Certified 100% Organic[3]

Comforting Tea - Loose

Comforting Tea - Bag



Aveda products that contained at least 95% certified organic ingredients in fiscal years 2015 and 2016 included:

Aveda Certified Organic

All-Sensitive™ Body Formula[4]

Aveda Love™ Composition Oil[5]



The following Aveda products were certified 100% organic in fiscal year 2015. In fiscal year 2016, we continued using certified organic ingredients, but we made a business decision to stop certifying the product itself. 

100% Certified Organic Oil Products 2015[6]

Pure Essence Bergamot Oil

Pure Essence Chamomile German Oil

Pure Essence Cedarwood Atlas Oil

Pure Essence Clary Sage Oil

Pure Essence Eucalyptus Oil

Pure Essence Geranium Oil

Pure Essence Ginger Oil

Pure Essence Grapefruit Oil

Pure Essence Helichrysum Oil

Pure Essence Lavender Oil

Pure Essence Lemon Tea Tree Oil

Pure Essence Neroli Oil

Pure Essence Patchouli Oil

Pure Essence Sandalwood Oil

Pure essence Vetiver Oil

Pure Essence Ylang Ylang Complete Oil



[1] RSPO is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

[2] Labeling rules are established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under its National Organic Program (NOP).  A summary of the rules are in the USDA fact sheet Labeling Organic Products.

[3] Certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI) to NOP standards. Also certified to the EC Council Regulation 834/2007 for the European Union, Canadian Certified Organic Equivalency and Japan Certified Organic Equivalency.

[4] Certified by QAI.

[5] Certified by ECOCERT Greenlife according to COSMOS standard. The COSMOS-standard AISBL* is a not-for-profit, international association registered in Belgium. The AISBL was founded in 2010 by the five main European organizations involved with organic and natural cosmetics standards: BDIH in Germany, Cosmebio and Ecocert in France, ICEA in Italy, and Soil Association in the UK.

[6] Certified by ECOCERT Greenlife according to ECOCERT standard.


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