CEW sat down with Catherine D’Aragon, General Manager, North America at Laboratoires Expanscience, to find about the family-owned company’s mission to improve the wellbeing of the planet and global communities.

CEW: Can you tell us about Laboratoires Expanscience’s evolution towards becoming regenerative?

Catherine D’Aragon: Expanscience’s sustainability journey began in 2004 with the signing of the United Nations Global Compact for the advancement of Corporate Social Responsibility. We were passionate about this issue and continued to increase social and environmental efforts. Fast forward to 2018, when we received B Corp certification and pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, 20 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s 2050 deadline. This commitment was a critical step in ensuring that our business model has a positive environmental impact, but we did not stop there.

In 2021, we became a mission-driven company. We participated in the Convention of Companies for the Climate (CEC), where we realized that reducing our impact on ecosystems and achieving carbon neutrality were not enough. Our mission is to become a regenerative company, striving to revitalize ecosystems that have been negatively affected.

CEW: How is the company lowering emissions?

CDA: Expanscience has launched several energy-reduction programs. One of our key initiatives is decentralizing production, which brings manufacturing closer to raw materials and results in lower emissions. We are also exploring innovative ways to transport products and are proud to partner with Grain de Sail, the world’s first modern cargo sailboat. This method of transportation significantly reduces our carbon footprint. Additionally, we are investing in a new boiler for our manufacturing facility in Epernon, which will reduce gas emissions by 70%.

CEW: Can you share best practices for accomplishing your “waste nothing, transform everything” goal?

CDA: Yes. We believe upcycling is essential to minimize waste and unnecessary steps. This approach aligns with our goal to be regenerative, and we have successfully implemented a circular system at our manufacturing facility in Peru. We recover unsold avocados from the food industry and upcycle them to create active skin care ingredients.  We use the entire avocado, including the pit. For example, pressing the fruit into oil generates oilcakes and polyphenols, which are used to create Mustela’s proprietary ingredient, Avocado Perseose. This ingredient contains plant-based sugars that improve skin barrier function in babies and support the production of proteins and lipids.

This valuable extract is ideal for consumers who prefer gentle, chemical-free products for newborns and toddlers. By processing avocados that would otherwise go to waste, we promote a circular economy, benefiting both the environment and the local economy. Our supply chain in Peru is overseen by the Union for Ethical BioTrade, ensuring our operations support biodiversity, promote responsible farming practices, and guarantee fair prices to local farmers.

CEW: What’s in store for the company’s future?

CDA: Marketing has driven the beauty industry into excessive segmentation, and one of our goals is to reverse this trend. For example, we launched our first solid shampoo, which can also be used as a body wash, making it a true two-in-one product. We also have our Multi-Purpose Balm, which is intended for all-over use and is made with avocado extracts that restore and soften the skin. Multi-use, multi-benefit products are practical for consumers. Our aim is to create products that can be used by the entire family, making them cost effective, space-saving, and waste-reducing.

CEW: Is Laboratoires Expanscience focusing on any other regenerative initiatives?

CDA: Yes. We believe that collaborating with competitors enhances our focus on regenerative initiatives. For example, in France, Expanscience spearheaded a multi-brand zero-waste refill initiative. Alongside five competitors, we offer refillable glass bottle packaging and have established refill stations in select pharmacies. We also participate in Pulp in Action, a program that allows us to partner with other beauty companies and share R&D resources. Our shared goal is to replace our plastic packaging with cellulose-based fibers. Additionally, Expanscience belongs to B Corp’s B Beauty Coalition, a collective of international beauty brands dedicated to improving the social and environmental footprint of the cosmetics industry. Together, we are committed to addressing key industry issues such as ingredient supply and sustainability, greener logistics and eco-responsible packaging.

CEW: What is Expanscience leadership doing to support the company’s mission to be regenerative?

CDA: As a company, we continuously seek ways to better serve our consumers and the planet. This includes exploring new sourcing solutions and packaging options, as well as reducing pollution and our carbon footprint. Our leadership is taking steps to eliminate excessively polluting products, such as wipes, which currently represent 20% of our turnover in France. Their withdrawal is planned for 2027. However, we just launched Mustela Compostable Cleansing Wipes – the market’s first fully compostable wipe – and are also testing washable wipes.

We recognize the challenges in asking consumers to change their habits and have therefore redirected part of our marketing investment into education. Our commitment starts with leadership, as they are willing to accept short-term financial losses if it means reducing our impact on the planet. It is our responsibility to prioritize long-term prosperity over top-line growth and change the way we do business. Being a family-owned brand means we are well-positioned to make these eco-conscious decisions to ensure the future of the planet is top of mind.