Benchmark of sustainable beauty: O’right aims to strengthen SEA presence through net zero products

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

O’right aims to be a driving force in the global sustainable beauty industry. ©O'right
O’right aims to be a driving force in the global sustainable beauty industry. ©O'right

Related tags Taiwan sustainable beauty Packaging circular beauty

Taiwanese hair care firm O’right is looking to boost its presence in Singapore and Malaysia through its net zero products, as it works towards becoming a driving force in the global sustainable beauty scene.

Currently available in over 40 countries, the firm’s key focus markets are China and Japan​, but it has also set its sights on South East Asia since post-COVID.

According to O’right founder Steven Ko, all products sold in Singapore and Malaysia are vegan, and 100% made by renewable energy and boast net zero emissions.  

He reckoned that vegan cosmetics would become the norm going forward, as animal testing is increasingly frowned upon by consumers.

“We have been lauded as the ‘greenest’ shampoo brand, and we believe net zero will be the standard of the future. Consumers today are keen to find out the sources of their food. When it comes to personal care products that are used directly on their skin, it is only right that they pay even more attention.

“Everyone is talking about sustainable beauty, but being green cannot just be for marketing. Greenwashing is an important topic that should be openly discussed. We’re doubling efforts in Singapore because consumers here appreciate and deserve better options,” ​Ko told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​.

The company began operations in 2002, with its “greenifying efforts” starting as early as 2006, a time where sustainability was far from being a buzzword.

In 2020, O’right achieved carbon neutrality across its entire product portfolio, which carry the USDA Certified Biobased Product label.

This label identifies products made from renewable biological resources that promote the circulation of new organic renewable carbon, reduce carbon emissions, and maintain ecological balance.

“What is net zero’s relation with the beauty industry? Due to changes in regulations worldwide, some materials or ingredients could be banned or restricted, affecting their usage in cosmetic products. More importantly, beauty isn’t just about loving yourself, but also taking care of the environment. Beauty shouldn’t result in an impact on the planet.

“Likewise, O’right isn’t just a cosmetics company. We strive to set the benchmark of a green company, in terms of zero carbon emissions, green energy, third-party certification, sustainable packaging, etc.”

Purposeful packaging

O’right’s bottles are composed of 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials, while the plug is made from fully biodegradable and compostable materials derived from vegetable waste and plant starch.

In addition, the cap is created with Moso bamboo, a plant that regenerates quickly after being harvested. A hectare of Moso bamboo forest is said to absorb 35 to 50 tons of carbon.

Particularly for its hero product, Caffeine Shampoo, the bottle is made from used coffee grounds and polylactic acid (PLA). An empty bottle can be buried and broken down into compost. Under ideal conditions, coffee seeds in the bottle could grow into a coffee tree.

“PCR materials come at high costs but they reduce a lot of carbon footprint. Packaging made via electroplating has no real benefits or practical use.

“The process is harmful to workers, production waste pollute the environment, and the material cannot be recycled at all. These packaging are mostly used for visual appeal, but people are increasingly aware and leaning towards eco-friendly designs,” ​Ko said.

The firm also claims to have pioneered a mono-material refill packaging made entirely from low density polyethylene (LDPE), which can be reused and recycled.

Ko believes that conventional single-use materials will eventually become obsolete.

Over the last five years, O’right has collected some 5 million empties. It has invested in a recycling facility that processes items including its own bottles, and bottles of beverages such as milk and beer.

“Many companies collect empties but if you look at their shelves, their products come in packaging made from new materials. It is a good initiative until the empties are not being recycled or reused, and go back to the waste sites.”

Open to collaboration

Touting the need for collective efforts across the industry to perpetuate sustainable beauty, O’right aims to use its influence on spreading awareness, which will in turn allow consumers to better appreciate sustainable products.

Its award-winning headquarters in Taiwan has hosted visitors from all walks of life, including companies from other industries, educators and students. The firm has also shared details of its supply chain in a book.

Ko revealed that the company is working with like-minded international brands to design and develop new products.

A project led by Ko, O’right’s environmental education documentary titled “Melting Greenland” was initiated with the support of prominent organisations like World Climate Foundation and Climate Group’s RE100.

It has been featured at various events, such as the United Nations General Assembly Climate Week and COP27. It was also the first documentary to be recognised by Japan’s GOOD DESIGN Awards.

To date, the film has been screened in more than 500 schools and 3,000 companies.

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