Fragrance is a vital part of consumer product acceptance and preference, or, even a sensory messenger of performance. Most bulk formulation ingredients can be assessed for their environmental and societal impact. However, this is more difficult for fragrances, which are complex mixtures of many aroma chemicals or essential oils.
The fragrance industry uses more than 4,000 ingredients, of which more than 60% are used by the entire industry below 1 ton/annum. This relative complexity and the indefinite combinations that can be derived thereof make fragrances exciting, but also tremendously complex. In recent years, the topic of sustainability has embraced the fragrance industry and is currently actively discussed.
The central questions this paper examines are: 1) what relative role is the fragrance industry playing in the global sustainability debate; 2) what impact does fragrance have in the consumer product life cycle; and 3) what opportunities does the fragrance industry have to contribute to sustainability?