The synbio company Geno (previously Genomatica) develops and produces biotechnology-based alternatives to ingredients used in everyday cosmetics, personal care, and cleaning products.

Previously, the company banned together with Unilever and Kao in a major venture to develop and scale those sustainably-sourced ingredients. This week, the cosmetics company L’Oreal joins the group as the final founding investor—providing access to the beauty and personal care market (a $571B market.)

In response to the urgent climate crisis, Geno is developing and scaling sustainable materials derived from plant- or waste-based feedstocks instead of fossil fuels. Founded in 1998, the company spent its earlier years developing the bio-based chemical 1,4-butanediol (BDO) and producing it at scale. Made from plant sugars instead of fossil feedstocks, it replaces conventional fossil-based BDO and can be used in a range of materials and consumer products. Building off of that innovation, the company has developed additional materials including plant-based nylon and a natural (R)-1,3 Butanediol ketogenic food ingredient made from plant sugars.

Geno will deploy its biotechnology platform, using proprietary engineered microorganisms to ferment plant sugars that produce ingredients to make sustainable surfactants. These new ingredients will be used in a range of L’Oréal’s products.

“Welcoming L’Oréal to this incredible team of global brand heavyweights signifies just how important and urgent the need is for traceable, resilient, and sustainable materials, at scale,” noted Christophe Schilling, PhD, CEO for Geno. “L’Oréal’s commitment further validates Geno’s ability to deliver at scale and accelerates our journey toward reducing global carbon emissions by over 100 million tons in the upcoming years by targeting large-scale material markets. We’re energized to help L’Oréal achieve its bold 2030 goals of incorporating 95% bio-based ingredients for formulas and using packaging materials that are traceable and from sustainable sources.”

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