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[update] Fragrance Creators Announces Shift Toward Industry Stewardship

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Fragrance Creators Association has announced it will be making a strategic pivot toward industry stewardship.

In a mid-year business meeting with members, Fragrance Creators Association (Fragrance Creators) announced a strategic pivot to drive forward its longstanding mission and meet the needs of members and the public in today’s fast-changing world.

While remaining finished product agnostic, the association has elevated its finished product manufacturers from “Associate” to “Active” members, confirmed with a vote by its membership. This move is aimed at further aligning with and harnessing the power of the fragrance value chain to advance responsible fragrance industry stewardship.

Previously: FCA’s Fragrance Conservatory Website Earns European Design Award.

As interest in fragrance rises, Fragrance Creators is continuing to strengthen its expertise and relationships and cementing its role as the primary coordinating platform for fragrance-related issues across the value chain.

This encompasses the manufacture and use of fragrance in a myriad of products, including cleaning and laundry, personal care and cosmetics, fine fragrance, air care and more.

The organization remains committed to partnering with allied trade associations on efforts to grow appreciation for the importance and benefits of fragrance and to increase understanding of the fragrance industry’s safety program—namely, knowledge of the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM), the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the Expert Panel for Fragrance Safety.

Looking to 2021 and beyond, Fragrance Creators is amplifying critical initiatives that drive at the association’s value:

  • Expanding The Fragrance Conservatory—the digital resource for high-quality information on all-things fragrance
  • Accelerating its Importance and Benefits of Fragrance program—the unified industry effort to review, develop and deliver credible information about the importance and benefits of scent in a wide variety of finished product categories
  • Engaging retailer leadership—the fragrance value chain’s platform to educate and drive greater impacts for the public

During the meeting, Fragrance Creators’ leadership highlighted the organization’s strong track record of performance and leadership—both before and during the pandemic.

From the start of COVID-19, the association successfully protected fragrance manufacturing from shutdown orders, supported resolution of foreign supply chain issues and secured the movement of fragrance industry essential workers and goods to ensure fragrance inputs into critical cleaning and sanitizing products could continue unimpeded.

It also served as the fragrance value chain’s coordinating platform to drive greater impacts for public health and safety.

The association is continuing to empower the fragrance industry and users of fragrance with a myriad of customized COVID-19-related resources and guidance, including webinars, with a particular focus on worker safety and public health.

“Fragrance Creators serves as the platform for unprecedented fragrance representation, leadership and stewardship,” said Farah K. Ahmed, President & CEO, Fragrance Creators. “Our diverse, values-driven membership is engaged, unified and extraordinarily committed to our mission: to promote and protect the fragrance industry's ability to enhance lives of people and the health of our planet.”

“Fragrance Creators has demonstrated remarkable agility in providing equal opportunity for members to engage and in delivering real-world results for the value chain, at the speed of business,” said Robert Weinstein, Ph.D., president & CEO of Robertet USA and chairman of the Fragrance Creators board of directors. “The association’s unique value lies in its ability to collaborate, enhance the work of other trades, and bring stakeholders along to advance responsible industry stewardship.”

Update: Perfumer & Flavorist had the pleasure of asking Ahmed a few questions regarding FCA’s pivot.

Perfumer & Flavorist [P&F]: What does “industry stewardship” mean to FCA? What does it look like?

Farah Ahmed [FA]: For FCA, industry stewardship is about contributing to the ethical growth and wellness of the industry we represent. It is creating a platform for businesses and facilitating consensus and collaboration to deliver positive impacts for the public and the planet in ways only possible by working together as an industry.  It’s also where responsible businesses of all sizes have an opportunity to learn, influence, and flourish. Our job as an association is to help the growth of the industry overall and support its ability to contribute to society.  Being a member of FCA signals that you, as company, believe you have a responsibility to advance industry stewardship.

By harnessing the entire fragrance value chain, we are now able to connect the dots of responsible industry stewardship from end to end—sourcing, ingredient creation, use and more. Our members will have a strategic advantage as we work to break down silos, share ideas and points of views, and create a safe place to advance ideas and innovation.

We all continue to be inspired by our members—they are a great example of the power of community and what responsible industry stewardship looks like in practice. For example, our membership came together to help protect public health and advance worker safety and drive those positive impacts during the pandemic.

P&F: Can you tell us a little more about the decision to elevate finished product members from “associate” to “active,” and how that will help the organization further its mission?

FA: It goes back to our mission—the mission of our association is to protect and support the industry’s ability to enhance lives and the health of the planet through responsible fragrance creation and use. There has been no change in that mission; we’re not expanding it or retracting it. The decision was prompted by an understanding that to best advance that mission, we need to work more inclusively across the value chain, and continue our commitment to listening, respecting and engaging all stakeholders.

So in this case, it’s working more directly in partnership with our finished goods manufacturers, and continuing to engage with policy makers, with NGOs, with our allied trades, all to advance that mission. Previously, as associate members, our finished goods manufacturers successfully collaborated with our fragrance manufacturer members in support of our federal and state lobbying efforts, as well as on key projects like the consumer education website, The Fragrance Conservatory (fragranceconservatory.com), and our importance and benefits of fragrance program. These existing synergies along the fragrance value chain were further leveraged when the pandemic hit. Because we had these relationships on these key projects that we were already working together on, we could create a greater positive impact with our COVID-19 response—importantly our ability to support critical fragrance inputs into cleaning and sanitizing products— which of course is still ongoing.

Now with fragrance manufacturers and finished goods manufacturers working together along the fragrance value chain, the association is continuing to expand and strengthen our expertise and relationships, and cement our role as the platform for fragrance industry stewardship. Fragrance is used in myriad products, and FCA serves as the platform to represent fragrance across these products.

The Fragrance Conservatory is a good example of a growth area. The build-out of this program can not only be leveraged by FCA and our members, but non-members as well.  It can also be used by our allied trades in their work related to fragrance in the context of the finished goods they represent. Overall, this sort of amplification is a much more powerful way to deliver against our mission.

It will support a greater diversity of perspectives, not only on a project basis but in our overall strategy as an organization. It should yield greater impacts for our industry, our members and the public. Years ago, fragrance was being impacted in the context of broader, bigger pieces of legislation; now, we’re finding much more specific interest in fragrance, not only by the technical community and regulators, but also by consumers. Consumers are making decisions about products that contain fragrance, and we want to educate and help them appreciate the benefits of fragrance and the industry’s strong safety program, underpinned by RIFM, IFRA, and the Expert Panel for Fragrance. And, we need to do it in a way that is relatable and understandable. Working as a value chain really helps us create content, education, and a dialogue that overall results in benefits for all stakeholders.

P&F: FCA is looking to expand The Fragrance Conservatory, launched at the end of 2019. What additions and updates can users expect over the coming months and years?

FA: When The Fragrance Conservatory won silver in the 2020 European Design Awards for the use of design to educate, it sent a strong message to us—that we were on the right track—a great validation for our members.

Since we launched the site late last year, the reception has been extraordinary—from members, from the media, from the industry itself, from consumers. The traffic is steadily growing, and we have brands that are linking to the site directly.

The site has an Ingredient Directory and general information sections as well; we are looking to expand those ingredient stories, and to deliver more by the end of the year. Features will also be added to strengthen the general content, putting a focus on the importance and benefits and insights on fragrance creation.

We’re making a modest investment in social media (@fragranceconservatory on Instagram), but really, we’re leveraging our members—that’s the most efficient way to get the message out. Our member companies (both fragrance houses and finished goods manufacturers) have been an invaluable part of this endeavor. Several of them are linking directly to the site, driving traffic, which then grows awareness, appreciation, and trust of fragrance in products.