The study, by consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment, focuses on how specific proposals within the European Union Commission’s proposed Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) may affect fragrance companies and the wider industry in Europe. It suggests that more than a quarter of the industry’s portfolio in turnover terms would be affected in some way by the proposed changes. This impact would be felt by consumers, says the report, with a reduction in choice of products that people consider important to their mental and physical wellbeing.

The study highlights the challenges posed by the current plans to the long-term socio-economic sustainability of our sector, especially for small businesses, which make up half of all companies in the European fragrance industry,” commented Martina Bianchini, IFRA President.

As well as addressing the potential impact on the fragrance industry, the study highlights a ‘ripple’ effect on the wider fragrance value chain – from raw materials suppliers, to manufacturers, consumer goods companies and retailers – due to the need to substitute and reformulate products.

Zero pollution ambition

Published on 14 October 2020, within the EU’s Green Deal, the chemicals strategy for sustainability aims to create a toxic-free environment for EU citizens, in a context where the global chemicals production is forecast to double between 2020 and 2030. It is part of the EU’s zero pollution ambition, which is a key commitment of the European Green Deal.

Among other things, the strategy promises to ban the most harmful chemicals in consumer products, to take into account the cocktail effect of chemicals when assessing risks from chemicals.

IFRA explains that the proposals of the chemicals strategy for sustainability include: an extension of the General Approach to Risk Management (GRA) that does not take account of the specificities of fragrances; the addition of hazard classes to the EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulation (CLP); and the introduction of a ‘mixture assessment factor’ to assess combination effects of chemicals.

IFRA President, Martina Bianchini, expressed her support for the overall objectives of the EU Green Deal, but adds the transition “can only be successful if it promotes sustainable growth, covering social, economic, environmental, and cultural dimensions.

Data for the study was collected from dozens of companies, large and small, from across Europe. It will be used as input to the ongoing consultative process. IFRA will present the findings to European decision-makers as work progresses on implementation of the CSS.