Despite initial protests at the requirements of REACH, the essential oils industry claims to be ready for the registration in 2018 of the essential oils particularly important in the development of signature fragrances.

The European chemicals regulation, primarily designed for large volume synthetic substances, set a daunting if not impossible task for the essential oils sector to comply with legislation. The requirements for compliance were revolutionary and extremely complex for both small and medium sized companies as well as the farmers and growers,” said IFRA in a release.

Upon the joint initiative of the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the stakeholders have worked together since 2014 to establish a program of actions for finding pragmatic solutions to the characterization, classification, environmental assessment and economic aspects related to the REACH registration of essential oils.

According to Prodarom, the French fragrance association, and IFRA, the International fragrance association, the environmental assessment, or eco-toxicity of natural substances was the part of the programme that required the most effort and imagination in order to develop workable protocols.

"The results of this highly productive dialogue will serve as a reference point for other producers in other regions of the world as well as for other sectors facing similar characteristics," said Pierre Sivac, IFRA President.

According to IFRA, this work will eventually strengthen the competitiveness of the essential oils sector enabling compliance with the world’s most advanced system for the assessment of health risks and environmental impacts. “Through such compliance, essential oils producers can demonstrate their expertise and commitment to consumer confidence worldwide,” concluded the organisation.