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What is responsible sourcing of raw materials like? Kiilto’s criteria for raw materials are even stricter than usual

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Kiilto's environmental leadership is also reflected in the requirements for its suppliers and raw materials. The sourcing process of raw materials can take several months and the responsibility criteria for both the suppliers and raw materials are strict.

Responsibility is reflected in Kiilto’s way of operating and covers the entire supply chain. In product development, we are constantly working to find more responsible and environmentally friendly solutions, and new and alternative raw materials are being tested as part of this work.

“Our product development team works closely with our suppliers and the sourcing function of raw materials. In the case of new products, our product development experts specify the kind of raw materials we are looking for and what criteria there are for them,” says Mira Suominen from Kiilto’s purchasing operation, and continues:

“A suitable raw material is either sought from existing suppliers or a suitable supplier is searched from a database based on the CAS number of the raw material. Our current suppliers know Kiilto’s exact requirements and criteria for responsibility, and are also able to offer suitable alternatives themselves. For example, Kiilto Natura requires that the carbon in the raw material is plant-based, i.e., its BCI (biorenewable carbon index) is 100%. The raw material must also be readily biodegradable.”

Raw materials must often be sought from international suppliers outside Finland. Kiilto’s high environmental goals and responsibility requirements for partners have often surprised new suppliers. The criteria are even stricter for the Nordic Swan Ecolabelled products.

“Potential suppliers are evaluated using Kiilto’s supplier evaluation form, which considers the supplier’s environmental objectives and the country of origin of the raw materials, for example. The aim is to find suitable raw materials as near as possible.”

Introducing new raw materials is a long process

For new Natura products and raw materials, the process starts once a suitable supplier is found. The supplier is asked for a sample of the raw material, which is sent to Kiilto’s product development for testing. All new and alternative raw materials are thoroughly analysed and subjected to various tests. For example, it can take up to three months to get the results of a shelf life test. If the raw material passes the tests, negotiations with the supplier will start. In the case of Nordic Swan Ecolabelled products, the raw material manufacturer must also complete the required documents.

“Sometimes we can’t obtain the Nordic Swan Ecolabel documents. This suspends the process with the supplier, and we cannot continue to cooperate on the raw material in question. Aware of this, we always try to have a few alternative suppliers”, says Suominen.

“It’s well known that responsibility criteria are high in the Nordic countries and Scandinavia, and responsibility is reflected in the way companies operate. Kiilto’s own goals are even higher, and this can sometimes surprise suppliers. We have been commended, for example, for our promise of reaching carbon neutrality as early as 2028, when the promise at EU level is 2050.”