Soap Cycling Singapore is an NGO that works with students, hotels, businesses, volunteers, and charities across Asia to recycle soap. In a movement to improve sanitation and hygiene, the organization collects, cleans, and renews gently used soaps that are about to be thrown out. Its efforts help support recycling and greener living, as well as waste reduction by distributing soap to regions without it and that need it most.
Soap Cycling was founded in 2012 by David Bishop, a law professor at The University of Hong Kong, and a group of his students. In 2017, operations started in Singapore, pioneered by students from the National University of Singapore.
We had the opportunity to connect with Jacqueline (Jackie) Tan, Soap Cycling Singapore’s partnerships manager, to discuss the organization’s journey and mission. She explained the recycling process that the organization follows, from initial collection to final distribution.
The process starts with the collection of lightly-used soap from local hotels in Singapore. “At the moment, we are saving 510kg of lightly used soap from the incinerator,” she explains.
Next, the soap is sent to Soap Cycling warehouses, which rely on partnerships. As in any other company, growth happens in small steps; after years of storing soap under their beds, one of their local partners has offered a modest storage place and activity spaces for volunteering sessions. “We experience an amicable collaboration here. This local charity is serving the migrant workers community in Singapore. Injured workers cannot work, so we compensate them by giving them tasks they can perform and covering their transport, leases and food costs” explains Jackie.
The soap is then sorted, recycled, and distributed to the needy with the help of NGO partners. In 2019, they distributed over 300kg (7,500 soap bars) in Singapore and the nearby region. Besides their local distribution, they also sent out soap to Indonesia and The Philippines.
To face down the COVID-19 crisis, Soap Cycling is joining forces with charity partners to distribute soap to vulnerable populations. “Our partners have already hand sanitizer and masks, so we are putting together a care package that we distribute. So far, we have distributed this care package to 1,800 workers in the past 2 weeks,” Jackie adds.
When asked about where she sees Soap Cycling moving in the next 5 years, Jackie explained that the organization wants to keep supporting the Singaporean and migrant worker communities and expand rapidly so that it can provide soap to disadvantaged communities throughout Southeast Asia. Moreover, she sees the future of the organization including liquid soap collection and recycling.
Eurofragance has contributed immensely to Soap Cycling Singapore’s recent development, and that’s just the start. We are going to continue to support this organization so that more projects can be undertaken and developed, and even more people can be helped.
EcoVadis is an international CSR and sustainability ranking operating across 155 countries. It is a globally recognized solution for monitoring sustainability in global supply chains.
Eurofragance has ranked among the top 22% of companies participating in the EcoVadis assessment in our sector. This was our first time being part of the evaluation and we are pleased to announce that we earned a prestigious silver rating.
Laurent Mercier, CEO of Eurofragance, said: “This is a real milestone for Eurofragance. Participating in the EcoVadis assessment for the first time was an eye-opening experience for many of our people. Not only was our performance ranked high against other companies in the sector but we were also provided with feedback on how to improve each of our practices. We’re proud to share this silver rating with our team, partners, and community because it highlights our commitment to sustainability now and in the future.”
Our performance was evaluated against 21 criteria across four categories – ethics, sustainable procurement practices, environment, and labor & human rights. Here are some of our highlights:
- We have extremely strong and thorough ethical policies that are inclusive and responsive to our employees’ needs, including detailed procedures on how to swiftly handle complaints. In this category, we ranked among the top 18% of companies in our sector.
- Our investment in green energy and company-wide recycling programs has strengthened our environmental sustainability score, averaging a score of 60 points out of 100.
- Employees at Eurofragance enjoy many benefits and protections that encourage a work-life balance, such as high standards of health and safety, private health insurance, and kindergarten services for young children.
These are just some of our strengths that were highlighted in the EcoVadis 2019 assessment. We are thrilled with our silver rating and are more motivated than ever to continue improving our practices across the board and work towards a higher rating in 2020 (and beyond!)
Now that the consumer’s mindset is shifting, as they are becoming aware of how important it’s for health and for a sustainable development of the planet to consume organic products, industries need to adapt. That’s why the perfume’s industry has recently started to shift towards “green” fragrances. But does it mean it’s only producing organic and natural fragrances? If you want to know more continue reading, as we explain everything in this post!
Are “natural” and “organic” the same?
In the world of perfumery there is a great confusion regarding natural fragrances and organic fragrances. First of all, not every natural fragrance is organic nor sustainable. So, lets clarify it.
Natural essences come from vegetable or fungal origin, such as Eucalyptus Oil, while bio essences come from organic farming, which have not been treated with chemicals or synthetic pesticides. Therefore, a natural essence can be either organic or not, depending on how it’s its growth process.
Furthermore, Global Organics define 4 categories of organic products:
- “100% organic”: if the product only contains organic ingredients
- “Organic”: if more than 95% of the ingredients are organic
- “Made with organic products”: if more than 70% of the ingredients are organic
- And a fourth category that allows to indicate when a particular ingredient is organically grown.
Natural ingredients are understood to be beneficial for the health and environment, nevertheless, some can contain harmful allergens and substances of endangered species.
Let’s introduce a third type of ingredient: synthetics. They can be natural identical, taken from an existing molecule in the nature, or a created olfactory molecule, which produces a smell that does not exist in nature. Natural identical can be extracted naturally or replicated in the laboratory. Taking into consideration the different legislation, and the extraction method, some of these molecules can be included in natural fragrances.
Taking into account that, not all the natural ingredients are Eco-friendly, we want to highlight that many synthetics are environmental friendly, as they could replace over-harvested species of naturals like sandalwood.
We must pay special attention to labels that certify ingredients and production processes. There are many certificates that can ensure us that we are buying sustainable products. They look at the life cycle of the product, from its ingredients to its final use (renewable sources, recycled materials etc.). This does not require that they are mandatory natural!
Sustainable fragrances certifications can be official (regulated by official organisations), private and self-declaration (they are not official, but it’s the company itself which declares they are following certain sustainable regulatory and processes). Moreover, there are certifications related to the nature of the product and to the impact of the product on the environment. You can find some of these labels in the info-graphic bellow.
Sustainable fragrances represent a balance between economic growth, environmental protection and social welfare. Not every natural fragrance is organic, and synthetic can be also sustainable!.
In Eurofragance, we are working to offer you a collection of natural fragrances based on real and reliable criteria. Stay tune, we will keep you updated!