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Around the Industry: Sandalwood Sustainability

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Posted: July 18, 2008, from the August 2008 issue of P&F magazine.
This followed news that Grasse-based naturals house Albert Vielle had also signed on to source the Australian material. The TFS plantation features 1,200 hectares of Santalum album and an additional 500 hectares just planted.

A recent conference at the Kimberly Grande Hotel in Kununurra, Western Australia discussed the future of Indian sandalwood in the region. Attended by 75 delegates from the Middle East, Europe, India and Malaysia, the event looked at the decline of the Indian sandalwood supply in India, focusing on poaching, deforestation and adulteration. In this environment, wild stands of sandalwood are being depleted rapidly, and huge disparities exist between legal and illegal harvest quantities. Meanwhile, demand for Santalum album is booming in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. According to experts, the situation cannot be sustained, creating opportunities for responsible suppliers and sustainable supplies.

Conference speakers addressed water management issues, responsible plantation management and certification, agreeing that the key to building an industry in Australia requires cooperation with local communities. 

Ted Carlson, a member of the local indigenous community, greeted the delegates, after which the future of Indian sandalwood in fragrance and cosmetics was addressed by speakers including Mark Lincoln (managing director of Lush Australasia), Michael Stewart (CEO of the Forest Stewardship Council of Australia), Georges Ferrando (managing director of Albert Vieille) and Venkatesha Gowda (assistant general manager of R&D at Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd.). 

“Ironic as it may seem, Australian entrepreneurs may be the savior of the Indian sandalwood species in the wild by fulfi lling its demand in the international market and meeting the requirements of trade in its products,” said Gurdeep Chawla, president of the Indian Sandalwood Exporters Association and Sandalwood Essential Oils Welfare Association. During his talk, Alexandre Choueiria outlined the value of sandalwood to fi ne fragrance. “Out of over 7,000 classifi ed fragrances since [the year] 1750, 3,212 contain sandalwood notes,” he said. “Use of sandalwood is part of the perfumery’s history and is now averaging 200 to 250 new fragrances every year.”