Thanks to the growing number of eco-conscious consumers and the increasing interest in niche perfumery, sustainable fragrances are on the rise. Last year luxury Swiss jeweller Chopard announced their return to perfume with a collection of sustainably sourced scents, and a new breed of brands are proving that green credentials and quality fragrance needn’t be mutually exclusive.
Like many aspects of shopping sustainably, finding a planet-friendly fragrance option can be a minefield. When I spoke to Imelda Burke, founder of London-based e-tailer Content Beauty and Wellbeing, she pointed out that there are two key aspects to consider. "Firstly, think about the packaging," she said. "While fragrances aren’t the biggest culprits when it comes to plastic consumption (they’re often housed in glass), forward-thinking companies are looking for new ways to reduce waste further with recycled and recyclable materials, compostable boxes, and refillable options."
Secondly, it’s important to find out how the liquid itself is created. "Look at how the brand source their ingredients and the production process they use," Burke noted. While we might assume that natural ingredients are better for the environment, Burke said this isn’t the case, especially when you consider the scale of the £30 billion global perfume industry.
"We have taken to using fragrance as an everyday essential product rather than the indulgence it originally was," she explained. "Growing plants to feed the scale of the mainstream perfume industry, if it were to go all natural, would mean converting land we use to grow food to perfume crops – that's not really an ethical or sustainable practice." Her advice? Use solely natural scents sparingly or opt for blends that combine synthetics and naturals in a sustainable way.