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In the heart of Europe, a silent storm is brewing. One that, if left unchecked, may not just change the very essence of our daily routines but also imperil an age-old art form. The European Green Deal, while a commendable initiative aimed at creating a sustainable future, is poised to affect the perfumery industry drastically. And thus, perfumers across Europe have united, penning an open letter in hopes of altering the course of this well-intentioned but potentially damaging legislation.

The European Green Deal Unveiled

The European Green Deal is a transformative strategy by the European Union to create a sustainable, competitive economy by 2050. Its primary objectives include:

  • Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  • Ensuring economic growth without exploiting natural resources.
  • Guaranteeing no individual or region is left behind in the transition.

To make these ambitious goals a reality, the European Commission has proposed a set of proposals designed to revolutionize sectors like climate, energy, transport, and taxation. The idea is to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.

Moreover, the European Green Deal is more than just an environmental initiative. Post-COVID-19, it’s also a pathway to economic recovery, with a third of the €1.8 trillion from the NextGenerationEU Recovery Plan and the EU’s seven-year budget earmarked to finance its goals.

Fragrance Under Fire – The Implications of the Green Deal on Perfumery

Photo by Fulvio Ciccolo

The fragrance industry, deeply rooted in European tradition, stands at a crossroads. The European Green Deal’s Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) mandates substituting and reformulating certain chemicals in consumer products. This change could amount to an annual industry loss of approximately €2 billion (US$2.1 billion).

Specifically, the CSS’s approach involves revising established standards and introducing new chemical use and assessment measures. For perfumers, this translates to the potential loss of over 400 crucial ingredients from their aromatic arsenal.

While reducing environmental toxicity is noble, the fragrance industry implications are profound. Consumers could experience a significant reduction in product choice, affecting their mental and emotional well-being. It’s not merely about the scents; it’s about memories, emotions, and cultural traditions being lost in the process.

Perfumers’ Plea – The Open Letter and its Significance

In response to the proposed changes, perfumers across Europe have rallied to voice their concerns, articulating them in an open letter addressed to the European Union. At its core, this letter emphasizes:

  • The deeply rooted connection between the fragrance industry and European heritage.
  • The rigorous safety and sustainability standards are already adhered to by the industry.
  • The potential negative consequences on the EU’s cultural, agricultural, and industrial sectors.

Perfumers argue that their work, which expertly combines art and science, already prioritizes safety and sustainability. The proposed restrictions might not offer additional consumer or environmental benefits but would hinder creativity and tradition. Furthermore, they urge the decision-makers to involve industry experts in framing regulations to ensure balanced, effective policies.

“The craft and profession of perfumery is closely linked with European communities, people and trade, and perfumers do not work in isolation. We are supported by chemical and safety expertise in our profession. We are pleading with you to continue and build even stronger collaboration with the subject matter experts in our trade on all matters of fragrance regulation”.

Perfumer’s Open Letter – extract

Accessing the Open Letter: We’ve provided direct access for those interested in reading the comprehensive open letter on this critical topic. Click here to view the letter in its entirety. We value transparency and believe this document provides invaluable insights into the challenges and aspirations of the fragrance industry.

To Conclude,

The perfume industry has navigated turbulent waters in the past two decades, evolving and adapting to modern challenges. Time and again, renowned perfumery houses and brands have displayed resilience, innovation, and a commitment to excellence. They’ve married the traditional art of scent-making with state-of-the-art technology, ensuring products that are not only delightful but also safe and sustainable.

It’s essential to recognize the delicate balance between safeguarding our environment and preserving the cultural richness that defines us. And in the delicate dance of scents, where every note plays a pivotal role, it’s crucial not to let the essence of Europe fade away.

A Fragrance is more than just a scent; it’s an emotional experience, a connection to memories, and a celebration of artistry. The constraints proposed by the European Green Deal threaten not just the tangible notes in a bottle but the essence of perfumery craft. We must balance sustainability and preserving the rich heritage of European perfumery.

In the words of a famous saying, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” But in a world dictated by the European Green Deal as it currently stands, would that rose even exist? Let’s hope that with collaboration and understanding, the future remains as fragrant as our cherished past.

José Amorim
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