Davines Group’s Davide Bollati On The Importance Of Sustainability In The Beauty Industry

Lindsay Judge   |   27-05-2024

The Davines Group has been focused on creating a more sustainable approach to beauty for over 40 years.

Founded in Parma, Italy, the group is headquartered in its “village” which features its own  Scientific Garden and EROC – European Regenerative Organic Center – a research centre focusing on regenerative organic agriculture stemming from a partnership with the Rodale Institute. The Group began in 1983 with Davines, a haircare line with a sustainable approach that cares for your hair and the planet. In 1996, it launched [ comfort zone ], an innovative, science-based skincare line that offers results-driven treatments and products. 

Today, this family-owned business is led by its Chairman Davide Bollati who inherited the company from his father. After graduating from university with a degree in Pharmacy and a Master’s in Cosmetic Sciences, Bollati worked for international companies before joining the family business in 1992. Today he is leading the company with a strong commitment to ethics and sustainability, product innovation and international business growth. His vision of Sustainable Beauty: a combination of cutting-edge chemistry and respect for the environment and society, has led the Group to become a B Corporation. 

Here, we find out more about the company’s vision moving forward and how its unique approach to sustainability could inspire others. 


Tell us about the vision and direction for Davines Group today.

Since the foundation of our Group in 1983, thanks to the care and passion of my parents, our purpose has always been to do our best for the world – creating a good life for all – through beauty, ethics, and sustainability.

Today, these words still represent the essence of the Davines Group. What sets us apart within our industry—our commitment, both today and for the future—is to produce highly performing and scientifically advanced products that satisfy the needs of our customers without harming the planet or future generations. We are the last ones to have this chance.

We have been a B Corp since 2016. We see this commitment as our mission, and we aim to involve an increasing number of companies in embarking on this journey towards a regenerative transition, capable of replacing the extractive economic approach – take, use, dispose of – that has characterised our economy for too long. 

Last year, we also obtained our second B Corp recertification with a remarkable score of 123.5, significantly above the average score in our industry, which globally stood at 94.7 and did not exceed 93.8 points in the beauty sector last year.

In 2023, we closed the fiscal year with double-digit growth, recording sales of over €260 million (preliminary figures), which is up 14% from 2022. 

Can you share a little about the company in the Middle East and why it is an important market for you?

The Middle East is certainly a very important region to our Group, with interesting growth perspectives. It’s facing an increasing interest in sustainability and regeneration topics, which perfectly matches our brands’ values and vision – Davines and [ comfort zone ]. We’ll keep evaluating any possible opportunities for innovation in this market, which has become very relevant for us.

Tell us about the company on a global level and where we can expect more growth over the coming years.

Today, we have more than 900 employees and nine offices globally, in addition to our headquarters, the Davines Group Village in Parma. We have offices in New York, London, Mexico City, Deventer (Netherlands), Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Paris and last year we opened our new subsidiary in Dusseldorf.

We generate 80 per cent of our Group sales in foreign markets. North America is still our top market, as of 2022, where we reached $100 million in 2023. For Italy, we exceeded €50 million in revenues last year and we also faced an increase in France, with a 20% growth compared to 2022.  

Our far-reaching international presence has played a key role in our growth over the last years, and for the future, we aim to expand further in Southeast Asia and South America, major markets that are still quite unexplored for our brands. 

How do you think the Davines Group differs from any other product on the market?

I believe that the payoffs of our brands – sustainable beauty for Davines and conscious skin science for [ comfort zone ] – perfectly embody the core values of our Group. We are committed to promoting and realising an ideal of beauty that’s sustainable and has a strong scientific connotation, respecting people, our planet, and the communities that inhabit it.  

Sustainability is at the heart of your company. Tell us about some of your recent developments in this field. 

Our commitment is to demonstrate that product quality, sustainability and science are strongly linked. The study of new active ingredients for our products starts directly from the Scientific Garden of Davines Group Village, in Parma, which is an open-air laboratory from which the 60 researchers of our R&D department carry out their research activities. 

In 2021, in partnership with the Rodale Institute, we founded the European Regenerative Organic Center (EROC), the first European research and training hub focusing on regenerative organic farming, as an expression of our willingness to invest in the study of new ingredients grown according to these practices that positively impact soil health. To date, EROC consists of 17 hectares with 188 experimental plots in which 22 different plant species are grown in rotation. 

Not only that, but we will also continue to work on protecting biodiversity and studying new ingredients for our supply chain: we aim to have 100 ingredients from regenerative organic agriculture in our product formulas in 10 years. 

In May 2022, we signed our commitment to the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) and we are currently working to formulate our Net Zero goals and develop a long-term strategic roadmap to achieve them. This is also why we will be initiating an Agri-voltaic project in EROC with the goal of achieving energy self-production in the Davines Group Village and our production facility in Parma. 

Why do you think it’s important for beauty brands to be considering a more sustainable approach today? 

I know that pursuing sustainability is often not the easiest choice and that this may discourage many companies from embarking on this path. However, we perceive that today, more than ever, it is the only possible choice to ensure a future for the next generations in an increasingly challenging global and social context.  As a B Corp company, we strongly believe in pre-competitive cooperation – which considers the well-being of our planet and its people over profit. 

In January 2022, we were among the founders of the B Corp Beauty Coalition, which now includes almost 90 companies internationally. The aim of this coalition is to promote and improve sustainable standards through the sharing of know-how and best practices within the beauty industry.

What are you currently working on, and are there any launches we can look out for this year? 

Regarding our hair care brand, Davines, at the moment the focus is on “Grow Beautiful”, our first global socio-environmental campaign that supports regenerative agriculture. Launched in 2022, Grow Beautiful celebrates Earth Month, inviting us to balance environmental impact and help regenerate the Earth with our choices. For this year’s edition, we designed a limited-edition Hair & Body Wash bar containing an activist® ingredient, 99.7% biodegradable formulas and packaged in 100% recyclable paper. Named in Davines as an activist® ingredient, the white yarrow extract is the active ingredient in the product formula grown and harvested for the first time ever in the 17-hectare fields of the EROC. 

Another important launch for 2024 is the shampoo refill pouches in the Essential Haircare Line. NOUNOU, MINU, LOVE SMOOTHING, LOVE CURL, and MOMO shampoos will soon be available in 500ml formats to refill twice the bottles for daily consumption. Again, with this launch, we aim to inspire low-waste habits at home and promote reduction, reuse, and recycling. Our new refill and recyclable pouches use 74 per cent less plastic compared to two 250ml sizes of Essential Haircare shampoo and have reduced CO2 footprint impact.

For [ comfort zone ], our skincare division, we have just launched Luminant, targeting uneven complexion. Inspired by the most effective dermatological techniques for treating hyperpigmentation, the new Luminant 3-bright technology ™ effectively corrects and prevents hyperpigmentation. Combining natural extracts and high-tech molecules, the pro and retail formulations very well embody our vegan, conscious skin science approach. 

Can you tell us more about the skincare line?

We launched [ comfort zone ] in 1996 as an innovative, science-based approach to beauty and wellness, translating into a result-oriented professional menu of facials and body rituals, and a home care collection targeting various skin conditions. The combination of high performance and guest experience has allowed us to serve prestigious day, destination and hotel spas. We now have over 5,000 partners around the world, whom we also sustain with education and business consultancy.

The constant innovation that powers the brand’s timeless modernity has inspired a very recent innovation called FACE SPAce: a revolution in the skincare industry. It brings cutting-edge pro results from behind the spa’s closed doors to an open, social setting for regenerated, radiant skin in condensed timeframes.

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a company today?

I think one of the biggest challenges that many companies face today is to be aware of the key role they play in ensuring a future for our earth and trying to restore our planet’s resources.

Industries must accelerate their efforts to achieve sustainability and the transition towards a regenerative economic model and, thus, a new way of inhabiting the planet. To do so, strong cooperation and a common goal between every actor—businesses, the public and private sectors, and individuals—are fundamental. 

We have no other choice but to do our best to ensure the transition to a regenerative economic model. However, long-lasting and sustainable positive change can only occur when we strive towards a common goal. In my opinion, this willingness and desire to collaborate are essential for anyone looking to be a part of this change.

How do you feel about endorsements and partnerships as a company?

I believe that a bond of mutual trust and shared values should be fostered between a company and its partners and customers, as well as with broader stakeholders. Our business model is stakeholder-oriented, meaning it aims to positively impact all our stakeholders and the planet.

We seek to build long-term relationships with our partners. As a B Corp, we strongly believe in the power of interdependence, and we prefer partners and collaborators who share our same values, ensuring harmony of purpose and transparency throughout our value chain from the sourcing of raw materials for our formulas to the distribution of our products on an international scale.

What would you still like to achieve at the company that you haven’t done yet?

We have been committed to sustainability for over 16 years, and our growing, increasingly holistic, and integrated engagement is further evidenced by the B Corp certification in 2016. 

We perceive sustainability as a never-ending journey, and we will always strive to do our best to respect and protect our planet and its inhabitants. 

For the future, our challenge will be to demonstrate that scientific research and physical well-being can get along with the regeneration of our planet. One of our priorities is to carry on developing high-end, innovative and performant products for our clients and our customers, ensuring their well-being and one of our planet and our people.