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How Decarbonizing Makeup Could Lead to Fossil-Free Aviation Fuel

Startup Global Bioenergies has devised technology to produce cosmetics from plants instead of fossil fuels.

Eyeshadow, mascara, and eyebrow mascara
Eyeshadow, mascara, and eyebrow mascaraPhotographer: Chelsea Kyle for Bloomberg Green

When Marc Delcourt founded Global Bioenergies more than a decade ago, he dreamt of transforming the aviation industry by getting rid of fossil fuels. In June, the company launched Last, a makeup brand with eyeshadows in colors ranging from mocha to iridescent lime. Despite the shift, he hasn’t deviated from his initial purpose, he says. That’s because the company has devised technology to make isododecane, a key component of long-wear and waterproof makeup, from plants instead of fossil fuels. And decarbonizing eyeshadow is just the first step.

“Cosmetics will lead the environmental transition because it’s the first oil-based sector that will completely get rid of oil,” Delcourt says. “For us, it’s the starting point.”