Procter & Gamble is pushing deeper into natural ingredients with a new partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, a U.K.-based botanical research operation. "Naturals are a thing," said Alex Keith, head of P&G beauty, who unveiled the partnership during an interview with executive editor of beauty Jenny B. Fine at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit on Wednesday. "At P&G, we have always been about the science of our products and products that really deliver on the benefits we promise," Keith said.The partnership will allow P&G to identify botanicals that could potentially be used across the beauty portfolio, Keith said."As we look to the continuum of interest in naturals, there's lots of space there not only to impact our existing big brands and categories, but also new creations," Keith said.The partnership will span the entire P&G Beauty portfolio, but will become truly visible in a few weeks with Herbal Essences, the first brand in the P&G portfolio to receive Kew verification. Kew is authenticating a natural antioxidant in the Herbal Essences formula, according to Phil Marchant, director of scientific communications for P&G Beauty. "Natural plant derived actives are becoming more and more important," Marchant said. “This partnership will really help us bring innovation that includes natural ingredients." For P&G, working with Kew will ensure its botanic ingredients are sustainably sourced, as well as authenticate existing formulations — like Herbal Essences, which is the first of the P&G portfolio to receive a Kew certification, Marchant said. For P&G, which recently said it would reveal fragrance ingredients in its products online by the end of 2019, the Kew Gardens partnership is linked back to the company’s push for more transparency, according to Marchant. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has a wealth of botanic ingredient knowledge, with a collection of more than 8.5 items, 7 million dried plans and 45,000 plant DNA samples. The group has worked with the beauty industry before, partnering with Walgreens Boots Alliance on the business’ Botanics line.
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