Opinion: Formulating Fragrances for NPA and DfE

Why create a fragrance that meeting both Natural Product Association (NPA) and Design for the Environment (DfE) safety criteria? Answer: Consumers are demanding it. Though they may not ask for NPA and DfE certification specifically, a large and growing number of consumers who purchase cleaning and body care products want assurances that they products the are purchasing are safe, green, and environmentally friendly. Right, wrong or indifferent, many consumers do not want to see the term "fragrance" on labels.

Unfortunately, the word “fragrance” connotes synthetic chemicals to many consumers, which are in turn viewed by many as toxic, unsafe, and environmentally challenging—despite ample evidence to the contrary. For those of us charged with creating, manufacturing and selling fragrances for a living, the landscape is changing, and changing quickly. At times it is also frustrating.

Today’s Complex Environment

Pick up any newspaper or magazine today and one will be hard pressed not to find an article that discusses some aspect of the green-sustainability phenomenon. Meanwhile, the plethora of certifications, standards and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that abound in this space is staggering (EcoCert, USDA Organic, NSF, Green Seal, etc.). The large numbers of certification bodies jockeying for position in the body care category, to name just one, are actually doing more harm than good.

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