The Last Word: Sustainable Beauty in Naturals—Ylang-ylang and Vanilla

During a presentation at Givaudan's Manhattan offices, executive vice president Cosimo Policastro stressed that a sustainable fragrance industry cannot add man-made waste to the earth's crust, deforest its surface, harm its water supplies, nor rely indefinitely on petrochemicals. What the industry must do, he concluded, is harness green chemistry to find new sustainable ingredients, improve yields in natural and synthetic ingredient production, and use less biomass to produce more material. Most of all, a sustainable industry must meet the needs of the earth's people.

Securing key ingredients: “This is more than marketing or nice stories,” said Rémi Pulverail, naturals category manager for Givaudan, as he outlined two programs that highlight an emerging model for ethical and sustainable natural ingredient sourcing. Givaudan accounts for ~25% market share of the flavor and fragrance industry, making its purchasing strategy a major factor throughout the market. In addition, via its Innovative Naturals program, the company sources about 200 naturals for fragrances. In some cases, Pulverail said, the company might purchase 20% of total available crops for key materials. Complicating matters is the fact that aromatic crops around the world are competing with food crops. Truly sustainable ingredients must be economically viable for local grower communities.

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