Impact of the European Green Deal on the fragrance industry and future policies and strategies

Last week, the International Perfume Association (IFRA) and the French professional perfume association PRODAROM organized an event as part of the European Commission’s annual flagship event, the EU Industry Days , designed to shed light on industrial pioneers, ongoing industrial policy discussions and improve the knowledge base of industry. Via two virtual roundtables, IFRA and PRODAROM hosted in-depth panel discussions on the resilience of the fragrance industry in a post-COVID era and how the category could work to become a positive force for the sustainability as the EU develops its green and digital agendas as part of its broader European Green Deal.

Florence Ranson, independent adviser for European affairs and moderator of the event, said that these discussions were more timely than ever and necessary given the way in which “deeply rooted”The perfume industry was in Europe, particularly France, and the heritage, culture and economic value it offered.

“Like many other sectors, the fragrance sector has been forced to adapt to the pandemic and has done quite well, in fact. It was at the forefront of producing essential hygiene products, for example , and it has shown its resilience and adaptability.At the same time, the sector continues to be one of Europe’s success stories, especially in terms of sustainability, as it paves the way for a green transition. and digital – the main objectives of the European Green Deal.Ranson told attendees as he opened the event.

She said that the objective of the round tables was therefore to “Designing the basis for the most appropriate policies”necessary for the perfumery industry to continue to progress in these areas.

The perfume industry “ready to work with the EU”

Martina Bianchini, President of IFRA, said that as the EU began to develop concrete policies under the European Green Deal, it was important for the global fragrance industry to voice its concerns and needs.

“Although rooted in Europe, the fragrance industry has also gone global in recent years and today the fragrance value chain is a global value chain, but it has relevance and strength. specific in Europe”,said Bianchini.

The global fragrance industry and value chain, she said, enabled consumer market sales of approximately 357 billion euros each year worldwide, in personal care, home care home and fine fragrances, so it was vital that the industry was involved in thinking about and defining future policies.

“Our industry is committed to using fragrances in a safe and sustainable way and we stand ready to work with the EU to ensure that we build resilience in the global value chain and achieve predictability and certainty among the policy options that the EU is selecting at the moment to enable our industry not only to build resilience, or not only to survive, but also to thrive in the future,”she says.

“…I very much look forward to the fragrance industry being part of this dialogue with the EU as they consider their policy options under the various Green Deal strategies and sub-strategies and we would like to promise that we are ready to enter into dialogue and negotiations.

Bridging the gap between local, pan-European and global policies

Bianchini said a critical area the industry wanted to highlight moving forward would be achieving broader European green and digital goals on the ground at local level and ensuring fluidity and alignment with global markets.

“To move from the pan-European political level of the EU to the local level where the implementation of these policies takes place, you see that there is a gap that has to be bridged – from the pan-European to the local and from the local to the pan-European and ultimately global,she says.

There is a necessary partnership between the local elected world and the economic world – Jean-Pierre Leleux, French politician and former senator of the Alpes-Maritimes

Jean-Pierre Leleux, a French politician and former senator for the French region of Alpes-Maritimes, agreed that the engagement and alignment of local industry leaders, elected officials and the wider community would be key. the success of policy deployment.

“We have national elected representatives and we have European elected representatives [MEPs] and they must support local authorities and urban communities in their work, and really their concerns in the various assemblies (…) There is a necessary partnership between the local elected world and the economic world”,said Leleux.

For the perfume industry, local communities in France – particularly in the Grasse region – would be at the heart of this, he said, due to the perfume industry’s roots here. The Grasse region holds UNESCO World Heritage status, as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, and has also been recognized by the French government for its expertise in creating perfumes, he said – achievements that reflect the hard work of all artisans. , manufacturers and other stakeholders involved in the “extremely dynamic”​ evolution of Grasse perfumery over the last decade.

Patrice de Laurens, head of the international Europe department of the French Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, said agricultural land dedicated to perfumes and aromatic plants in the south of France had doubled in size in ten years, with 1.4 billion euros now associated. with perfumes in this region. And the French government, said De Laurens, is committed to further promoting this sector, particularly within the framework of the European Green Deal and its green and digital objectives.

In our industry, our essential economic activities take place outside of Europe, and therefore the competition is not only European – Jean Mane, Chairman and CEO of The Mane Group

Jean Mane, chief executive of French flavor and fragrance maker The Mane Group, said it would be vital that this competitiveness was maintained in the future.

“Indeed, we have the single European market, but it must be taken into account that in our industries, in our industry, our essential economic activities take place outside Europe, and therefore the competition is not only European ; it is a competition that we also face every day outside of Europe,”said Mane.

He stayed “considerable work”to do, therefore, taking into account “the state of the European economy after the crisis”, he said, no matter how strong the scents. “We have to reconcile what is achievable now and what is achievable in the long term. We will have to reconcile this in the ambitions we have if we are to maintain this global competitiveness and resilience for the perfume industry in Europe.

EU industrial strategy – Alignment with the single market is crucial

Johanna Bernsel, Deputy Head of the Bioeconomy, Chemicals and Cosmetics Unit (GROW.F.2​) of the European Commission at the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG- GROW​), said the European Industrial Strategy​, updated in May 2021, would prove important moving forward.

“[The updated strategy] can be summarized in three parts. First of all, we understood that it is essential to strengthen the resilience of the single market. The single market remains extremely important for Europe; the crisis has revealed the importance of the free movement of goods but also of services and workers,”said Bernsel.

“The second part of the conclusions was that we have to deal with strategic dependencies. I think part of that is the importance of maintaining international cooperation. We are currently talking about diversifying international partnerships, but also about addressing strategic dependencies from the perspective of European industries.

Bernsel said DG-GROW would release a staff paper later this month specifically analyzing the resilience of the chemical industry and taking a closer look at critical dependencies within that sector.

The third finding, she said, was that there was “still a very strong business case for the green and digital transition”.

As the European Commission continues to shape its policies under the European Green Deal, Bernsel said close collaboration with industry and stakeholders will be vital, including for fragrances. It was “really crucial” All the challenges felt by the chemical and fragrance industry have been understood by the European Commission and DG-GROW, she said. “And with the perfume industry, we have heard a lot this morning about the importance of social heritage, the cultural heritage of France and Europe, and we also recognize that. We understand that very well. »

Chemical strategy for sustainability is an area that Bernsel encouraged the fragrance industry to move closer to, particularly with regard to impact assessment and the development of new hazard classes in this area.

“At the end of the day, all this European regulation is a way of maintaining the integrity of the single market, the European market, rather than having member states legislate individually,”said Bernsel.

Donovan B. Sanford