In opening the 2008 conference of the International Federation of Essential Oil and Aroma Trades in Montreal, Canada, organizing committee chair Kim Bleimann (Berjé) announced that this year’s gathering boasted 590 delegates from 42 countries. Bleimann remarked on the great number of participants from India and China—representing nearly 20% of total attendance—which he felt underscored the shifting of business to these areas of the world.
“This past year has been extremely turbulent and certainly exciting,” he said. “Not since 1973–1974 have we seen such shortages and wildly infl ationary price increases on essential oils and aroma chemicals. There have been several confl icting and contributing factors coming into this mess, the fi rst one being the Olympics, disrupting supply from China, which has focused for many of us the incredible reliance we have had on China as a source of supply. [Second,] the cost of fuel has impacted fertilizer, transportation and production and distillation costs, which are more important than we sometimes realize.” Bleimann went on to note that the global credit crunch could affect the industry in as yet unforeseen ways, in addition to impacts from REACH, air freshener legislation in California and environmental concerns across the globe. “We worry daily for the future of essential oils if we fail to be proactive in fi ghting these myriad threats.”
In this spirit of upheaval and opportunity, Bleimann invited the delegates to take the conference as an opportunity to learn, raise questions and foster discussion.