MILAN — Davines Group — the Italian beauty company that owns professional hair care and skin care brands Davines and Comfort Zone, respectively — has teamed with Rodale Institute, a nonprofit specialized in regenerative organic agriculture.
Considered the global leader in the field, the U.S.-based organization has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers, scientists and consumers since 1947. In particular, the institute is credited with coining the term “regenerative organic” in the ’80s to distinguish a kind of farming that goes beyond sustainable, as practices suggested are aimed not only at maintaining internal resources, but improving them over time, ranging from soil fertility to productivity.
The tie-up between the entities will be officially revealed in Parma, Italy on July 6 during the first edition of Parma Green Week Festival in the presence of both Davines Group’s president Davide Bollati and Rodale Institute’s chief executive officer Jeff Moyer.
As part of the collaboration, Davines Group’s headquarters in Parma will be expanded to include a regenerative organic farm, research center and education hub that will mark Rodale Institute’s first outpost outside the U.S. The organization is headquartered in Pennsylvania and operates three additional regional resource centers in Georgia, California and Iowa.
Encompassing a 10-hectare site on the Davines Village campus and set to begin operating this fall, the Davines Group-Rodale Institute European Regenerative Organic Center will focus its research and education on small- to mid-sized European farms growing specialty crops for food, nutrition and beauty. Supporting farmers in the region, the center will focus not only on organic management in a Mediterranean climate, but also explore the relationship between personal care ingredients and farming.
Scientists and staff of the research center will study alongside the Davines Group research and development laboratory to find ways in which these practices can influence the supply chain of personal care products while simultaneously helping to mitigate climate change.
Overall, so far Rodale Institute’s research has proven that organic farming conserves and builds soil health as well as replenishes natural ecosystems for cleaner water and air compared to conventional systems, which rely on chemical intervention to fight pests and weeds and provide plant nutrition. Based on natural principles like biodiversity and composting, organic farming also uses 45 percent less energy, releases 40 percent fewer carbon emissions and generates three to six times greater profits for farmers compared to the conventional one.
“In this critical phase of life on our planet, a new paradigm of economic and demographic growth is only possible if the Earth’s ecology is preserved and enhanced,” said Bollati, defining Rodale Institute “a true kindred spirit and dynamic pioneer of this regenerative vision.”
The executive underscored that the partnership represents “a collaborative way to take greater steps on our journey to making the world a more beautiful place through beauty, ethics and sustainability” and that he hopes it won’t “only positively impact our product development and supply chain, but also serve as a catalyst for change that will animate sustainability studies and regenerative organic farming practices in Italy, Europe and beyond.”
“Since our founding in the ’40s, Rodale Institute has supported organic farmers and their communities as organic has grown to a $60 billion industry in the United States,” said Moyer. “We’re thrilled to partner with Davines to achieve their vision — a world where not only organic food is transparent and healing the planet, but a consumer can embrace a regenerative organic lifestyle in their personal products as well.”
Yet this won’t be the first time Davines Group explores the relationship between food, farming and personal care. Previously, the company launched Slow Food Presidia projects supporting local small producers through the sourcing of ingredients from regenerative agriculture to develop Comfort Zone’s “Sacred Nature” organic and natural skin care line, for instance.
Overall, the success of the firm is rooted in the performance of its products and its sustainable focus, sealed by the B Corp certification the company received in 2016 for its social and environmental positive impact and by an an even higher certification score in 2019.
The partnership between Davines Group and Rodale Institute follows another tie-up aimed at exploring new solutions for the beauty industry. As reported, earlier this year leading cosmetics manufacturer Intercos Group inked a five-year agreement with the University of Milano-Bicocca to team up in conducting scientific research on formulations and sustainable processes aimed at developing innovative beauty products. Dubbed “Joint Lab,” the shared laboratory hosting researchers and tech equipment from both parties will begin its activities in September in one of the university’s campuses, a 20-minute drive from Intercos headquarters.