The company itself is not following any important sustainability initiatives, and they are not transparent about their production process or supply chain. While they use some ingredients that are natural and plant-based, they also include byproducts of petroleum, an unsustainable resource, and chemicals that are seemingly unnecessary to the function of the product.
The active ingredients in the classic Carmex lip balm are camphor (1.7%), which acts as an external analgesic, and white petrolatum (45.30%), which acts as a lip protectant. Petrolatum is a mineral oil jelly that is a byproduct of the oil refining process, and is not only harmful to the environment, but has associated health risks from contamination with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are carcinogenic. The inactive ingredients in the product include lanolin, cetyl esters, theobroma cacao seed butter, paraffinum liquidum, beeswax, menthol, salicylic acid, phenol, vanilin, and “flavor”. Some of these inactive ingredients are areas of concern for me – for example, salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid often found in acne medications and can cause irritation, and I am not sure why this is necessary to be included in this product. To summarize, while a few of the ingredients are natural and not harmful, most of these ingredients are not sustainable or have associated health risks to both humans and the environment.
While the company is transparent about the ingredients in their product, they are not transparent about information on their supply chain or factory conditions in which their products are manufactured.
Carmex is owned by Carma Laboratories, Inc. While they say they value transparency, there is a lack of information available about their production processes. They also do not seem to have any sustainability initiatives that they are working towards in the company.