There are many actions that can be taken in favour of sustainability, the most important one comes from the consumer and it is: buy responsibly. Any product, no matter how hard the producer tried to make it sustainable, will turn into a waste, with an impact – however small – in the environment.
If you are sensitive to the environment as we are, you will certainly do your grocery in shops where they can assure that vegetables are sourced at 0 Km, implying a low CO2 impact. It is difficult to do the same in perfumery: the precious natural ingredients that we so much love come from all over the world and sourcing the plants locally is not an option. We need also to question the sustainability of the very process of transformation of natural materials into essential oils or absolutes, as well as all other ingredients, no matter if natural or synthetic: CO2 impact, waste of water, etc. I chose to work with a supplier of raw materials who is very careful in monitoring these processes, ensuring the most respectful practices for the environment are put in place.
Besides, in my packaging I am using a FSC type of paper and non-toxic inks. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international organization which promotes and certifies the responsible management of the world’s forest: for each tree you cut, you plant a new one.
I eliminated cellophane and I am using a new type of box which can be reused for storing items instead of being trashed. As alcohol is flammable, we need to protect the perfume bottle with suitable packaging, so let’s make it durable.
The glass bottle is easily recyclable, and as per the raw materials, especially the natural ones, I chose to work with a supplier of raw materials who’s participating in a program ensuring application of guidelines for Company Responsibility, both in terms of sustainable development, and in terms of respect for human resources. These values are checked and verified not only internally but especially among the other suppliers from whom they source the materials all around the world.
Cruelty on animals
I am not testing on animals: actually, I cannot! Luckily, as of 2003 a law entered in force in the EU, according to which “cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU” (perfume is a cosmetic).
Many consumers ignore this law and ask me sometimes about animal-testing. I am grateful that in the EU nobody can test on animals, and no cosmetic tested on animals outside the EU can enter the EU.
Let’s touch another topic, always animal-related: in the great history of perfumery some glorious animal-derived ingredients have been employed, with a different degree (or none) of cruelty. If this was acceptable to the sensibility of the past, it needs to be revised with the modern eye.
Ambergris: this is a rejection of sperm whales, that floats in the sea for an indefinite time, eventually arriving to the shores. It goes without saying that no whale have been killed. It is a very rare and expensive natural ingredient, difficult to use in industrial perfumery because of the obvious impossibility of having consistent batches of product. For this reason, in modern perfumery, most times you read ‘ambergris’ in the note list of a perfume, it is a synthetic replacer. This is also the case in my perfumes.
I have a batch of real Ambergris aging in my laboratory: in case I will be using it, I will certainly highlight this information to the attention of those of you who are vegan.
Musk: I am using synthetic musk replacers and not the natural one. This is not just an ethical choice (as the musk deer would be killed to obtain the pods), but it would be almost impossible nowadays, as the hunting of those animals is strictly limited by CITES and forbidden in most countries.
Castoreum and Civet: both ingredients are derived from animal glands. Unfortunately their extraction is not cruelty-free, so I have replaced these fantastic but unethical ingredients with safe replacers that are not harming animals.
Respecting human beings
Human beings are the highest value of my perfumes. It is not just because connecting with inner humanity is my purpose, but especially because you couldn’t enjoy my creations if it wasn’t for my manufacturers, for each person individually working on each product, from those who are filling the bottles to those who are checking the allergens, from those who are carefully mixing materials for me to those who are cooling the perfumes before filtering them by hand.
I am lucky to have one person helping me, employed according the Dutch rules.
I decided to work with suppliers based in Europe, among France and Italy – France for the glasses and raw materials, Italy for the manufacturing and packaging production – as it reassures me as per the application of the most developed work laws in the world, respectful of workers’ rights (read here). As I mentioned above, my supplier of raw material is also engaged in a program ensuring application of guidelines for Company Responsibility, and this guarantees also the respect for human resources, both internally and among their own suppliers around the world.
Difference is a plus
During my life, I have lived in different countries in Europe, and I am blessed to have been always surrounded by people different from me – in cultural background, in religious orientation, in political opinion, in ethnical origin, in gender identity, in sexual orientations.
I believe in individuals because of their unique talents, ideas and creative energy, regardless of their opinions, appearance, or gender. Additionally, I feel privileged that the manufacturer of my fragrances is a company run by women.
Being a small-scale company, where I am the only person working in it and with little budget for communication, I am lucky to rely on a network of friends that have specific knowledge on perfumes and whose opinion I take into great account.
I do not do collaborations with influencers (i.e. sending a perfume and expecting a review in exchange, not to mention paying someone to do so).
On the other hand, I have a list of people both with many or few followers, which I trust regardless, as their taste matches with my vision of Beauty in perfumery. To those people I send samples of my releases, adding a note where I beg them not to review my perfume if they do not feel like it but especially if it is not interesting for their channel and their public.
Not only I think that an honest and spontaneous opinion is the best form of communication, but also I find that influencers promoting perfumes with no critical view is dangerous, as they would give the impression that these perfumes are easy to wear. Well, my perfumes are not, and I am happy when an influencer is highlighting this point.
Of course, I feel free to give bottles as a gift to my close friends, but this is a private matter, and not a barter for a good review.
Perfumery Code of Ethics
I support the PERFUMERY CODE OF ETHICS promoted by Christophe Laudamiel, which touches specific and crucial points related to this very job of perfume creating.