Though efforts in sustainable fashion production continue to expand and evolve, the beauty industry has been slow to follow, particularly when it comes to fragrance.
As luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci increasingly add fragrances to their product portfolios, few have prioritized eco-friendly ingredients and certified processes for developing perfume formulas. However, Swiss jeweler Chopard announced earlier this week that it will launch a series of unisex fragrances made from sustainable ingredients, sharing the news with the help of Livia Firth, founder of the sustainability organization Eco-Age. It was a significant move, particularly as several independent perfume brands have long touted natural ingredients and recycled packaging, though few major fashion and beauty brands have followed suit.
Eric Korman — CEO and founder of Phlur, an online fragrance company launched in June 2016 — said the disconnect is a result of a lack of stringent protocols on perfume development and ingredient listing. Despite the fact that many scents are derived from natural plant and flower products, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require ingredient transparency, a practice Phlur enforces regardless.
Another challenge for brands is navigating differing perspectives on fragrances that are botanically derived versus those made with synthetics. Nannette Pallrand, founder of the natural fragrance line Rich Hippie, said she created her company in an effort to offer all-natural fragrances for women that wouldn’t harm their health, a practice she believes requires banning synthetics entirely.
“Organic perfume means there are no harmful pesticides sprayed on the plants that we use, and it also means we don’t use harmful man-made chemicals that can cause cancer,” she said. “It’s also safer for the environment because, in the places where the plants and flowers are grown, no toxic chemicals are being used, so the air is clean and the water…