IFRA to launch new sustainability initiative in 2019 as consumer interest grows

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

IFRA to launch new sustainability initiative in 2019 as consumer interest grows
The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) will be launching its own sustainability initiative in collaboration with the flavours industry later this year.

Michael Carlos, chairman of IFRA, said sustainability will continue to be a “key driver for change” in 2019 as consumers increasingly value it as a priority.

“Our customers and the public are increasingly making sustainability and ‘values’ a part of their purchasing decisions and we will continue to move with and shape that trend.”

Holistic and inclusive

The new initiative will take a “holistic approach” said Carlos.

“Our sustainability initiative is not just focused on environmental sustainability but on sustainability in every sense – from how we source, to how we process and manufacture, to how we develop and protect our employees and consumers, to how we interact with regulators and stakeholders.”

He added that the initiative aims to be challenging, yet inclusive to ensure smaller companies are not left out.

Carlos said: “We want to bring along the many smaller businesses in our sector and provide a framework for them to develop their approach to sustainability in the same way that many larger companies have done. We can then set a benchmark upon which we can continue to get better.”

Additionally, IFRA will be launching a new report on the socio-economic impact of the fragrance industry during the first half of 2019.

“[The report] highlights the value that we add both ‘upstream’— to farmers and raw materials suppliers – and ‘downstream’ – to consumer goods companies, retailers and the public,”​ said Carlos.

Updates to Standards

The launch of the latest update of the IFRA Code of Practice and the IFRA Standards – IFRA’s key self-regulatory tools will be another key area of focus for 2019.

Carlos said the association plans to work with both policymakers and stakeholders to inform about the Standards, encourage dialogue to ensure a “workable, stable and sustainable regulatory environment that can enhance creativity and growth”.

“[IFRA] will work to explain the Standards and build trust in these important mechanisms. It is also an opportunity for us to highlight the benefits of fragrance, highlight our responsible approach to safe use, and work to address misperceptions about what we do and why we do it,” said Carlos

As Asia continues to be the fast-growing market for fragrances, IFRA hopes to work closely with APAC regulators for the benefit of the fragrance industry.

“We will continue to work with regulators in APAC to build measured and consistent regulation that allows us to grow, to provide high-quality jobs, and to give consumers the benefits and enjoyment they seek from fragrance,” ​said Carlos

Currently, there are 191 Standards on different fragrance materials. These Standards apply to fragrance materials based on a safety assessment by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) and safety management by IFRA. The whole process is overseen by an independent Expert Panel.

Natural ingredients, added Carlos, are assessed for safety in the same way as synthetics.

Carlos estimates that around 90% of the fragrance manufacturing industry by production volume work according to the IFRA Standards.

“We believe that through our work approaches to safety and sustainability we make a positive contribution to the profile of final products,” ​said Carlos. “The regulation of all fragrance ingredients can make a critical difference in the safety of the end product, which is why the role IFRA plays in the industry is so important.”

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