The Future of Transparency

"Is there a middle ground for fragrances?" asked Mark Rossi, research director of Clean Production Action (CPA; Rossi made his comments during the 45th annual meeting of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM; at the Highlaw Pavilion in West Orange, New Jersey, which addressed the issue of increasing transparency in the way products are conceived and excecuted cradle to cradle. Rossi's talk reflected the fragrance industry's wider effort to dialogue with the nongovernmental ogranizations (NGOs) such as CPA while also asserting its legitimate concerns surrounding confidential business information (CBI)—seen as a lynchpin in the sustainability and competitiveness of the industry. By day's end it was clear that progress has been made, but crucial differences remain.

CPA, according to its mission, “designs and delivers strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials and environmentally preferable products.” To that end, the organization works with numerous industries—notably electronics—to effect “cleaner” production practices in order to achieve “the fundamental transformations necessary in our economy.”

Rossi’s perspective on how this transformation might be induced in the fragrance industry centered on a cooperative, rather than confrontational, approach. Among the key areas he identifi ed was ingredient disclosure—the need, as he saw it, for consumers and other parties to have more information about products, right down to the ingredients. Although this topic can be discomfi ting for the industry, Rossi underscored “an opportunity for dialogue.”

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