Naturals, Synthetics & Sustainability
At first, we were on a bit of a soap-box about this topic. But as we learned more, we realised how more nuanced the issues are that are driving this debate. Where we’ve landed is an ethical framework of “do no harm”, meaning we use ingredients that:
• are not known to cause any material harm to humans or the environment
• are linked to sources that are sustainable (ie responsibly grown, harvested, re-planted, with remediated soil and water);
• don’t involve child labour (eg there are some systemic issues with certain vanilla crops);
• are sourced from suppliers who support fair compensation for growers.
This means that certain synthetics need to enter the equation for consideration where they meet the “do no harm” test and where there aren’t sustainable or ethical natural alternatives. These two sources of aromatic ingredients can sit side by side, and their use will be driven by these ethical considerations.
Ancient resins, such as frankincense and labdanum have been used for thousands of years in healing and spiritual practices. Working with those materials connects us to a broader human experience across time and history. That provides a more powerful, almost mystical, connection than working with synthetic materials recently made in a science lab.
Ancient healing practices involving the use of aroma chemicals from plants are also fascinating. Various scientific studies have shown the impact on brain activity following the inhalation of plant derived scents, and this field of the chemistry of aromatherapy is another area that informs our decision to work with naturals.
Our goal is to make a range of fragrances that highlight the beauty of natural ingredients at the highest concentration possible.
This is a big topic. It touches on environmental, ethical, political, and cultural issues. It’s complex and nuanced with challenges on both the demand and supply side of the fragrance industry ledger.
As a natural perfume house, our ability to source quality natural fragrant essential oils and plant extracts from around the world is critical to our business. However, we cannot do this without having regard to the impact that our design decisions have on plant species that are endangered or critically endangered. And also without understanding how many of these ingredients are grown, harvested, processed and the impact their currency has on local communities living in remote parts of the world.
Our goal is to add a lens of conscious design to every aspect of our business and hopefully influence our customers to make more conscious consumption decisions. And ultimately for us all to have a deeper connection to, and respect for, nature.
Click here to learn more about our Sustainability Protocol.