Fairglow's Ingredient Emission Factors

Fairglow's Ingredient Emission Factors

Dec 20, 2023

Emission Factors for Every Cosmetic Ingredient

Fairglow has derived proxy emission factors for the entire INCI universe, or 29,354 chemical ingredients!

In LCA or carbon accounting, the use of Proxy Data is extremely common. Proxy data refers to the use of substitute or surrogate data when direct data for a specific process or ingredient is unavailable or difficult to obtain. In the absence of data for a given ingredient, practitioners will pick a chemical with a known emission factor that they think best fits that ingredient.

Sometimes the practitioner uses something that is close to the chemical in terms of production, or sometimes they use something that is close to the chemical in terms of function.

We wanted to approach the use of data proxies algorithmically, to remove the confusion, guesswork and time it takes to arrive at proxy evaluations. So we created proxy emission factors for every INCI ingredient.

About the Algorithm

Taking known emission factors and data fields relevant to them, we used a Random Forest algorithm to estimate other emission factors in the dataset.

The most impactful factors we included in our modelling process:

  • Semantic Inference: certain words such as “stem”, “flower”, and “seed”, carry significant signal towards the overall impact

  • Chemical Origin: synthetic, biological, or animal

  • Chemical Function: knowing whether a chemical serves an ABRASIVE versus EMOLLIENT purpose in a given cosmetic process is meaningful

Using this data on INCI ingredients and comparing to known emission factors, we were able to estimate the CO2eq impact of every registered INCI ingredient.

Without going into the nitty gritty of each element of our ML model, here’s an example of how semantic inference found deviation in the emission factors. In this instance, looking at ingredients derived from plants, you can see differences between the flower, stem, and seed derivations.

Future refinements to the dataset will include assessments of the following:

  • Chemical Production Process: exact methods of chemical synthesis

  • Chemical Production Origin: the country and supply-chain estimated from the chemical

Tune in for the next round of improvements, or contact us today if you would like to see the data!

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© 2023 France, EU, and USA. All rights reserved.

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© 2023 France, EU, and USA. All rights reserved.

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