Ethics…..

lfc1892

Well-known member
Dec 12, 2021
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
I found it hard to get clear statements on a few perfumers’ sites with regards to how sustainable their sources are etc.
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
 

lfc1892

Well-known member
Dec 12, 2021
I agree that it should, for me at least on a personal basis.
It just seems tricky to get all the information required to make an informed decision.
Then there’s the cynical view that some companies may make ‘statements’ with regards to their commitments with regards to ethics as a marketing ploy. How much of a difference do such commitments actually make?
Which is better for the planet? Naturally sourced materials or stuff more easily produced in a lab?
 

ultravisitor

Well-known member
Nov 4, 2014
No. There are ethical issues with just about all of the products we consume. Hell, there are ethical issues involving consumption itself. If I'm going to care about sustainability in the perfume industry, then I feel like I'd have to care about it when it comes to all of the products I consume, and I just do not have the time or energy for that.
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 2, 2009
This would be more of an issue for me if there were one or two major, particularly heinous sourcing issues throughout the industry. The over-harvesting of Mysore sandalwood, for example, or animal cruelty such as natural civet oil production. To my knowledge, those issues have been cleared up. I don’t know enough about sources of other modern fragrance ingredients, but at least I’m not hearing about outright cruelty and/or environmentally incorrect practices. I spray, wear, and enjoy with a clear conscience.
 

Minotauro

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2021
I think it is a dead end ... even if a consumer were aware of it and interested in selecting what they buy according to its sustainability it would be impossible for them to discern what is true or what is not ... how would it be possible to get to the truth if everything is full of lies or at best half truths? Greenwashing examples are everywhere (H&M, Nike, Zara ...) and you see that everything remains the same... at least for now.

Don't you think that something similar will happen in the world of perfumes? Or maybe it's not that bad in this industry, I don't know...

In today's world, it seems that it is more profitable for large companies to spend money on marketing to make people believe what they do and do not do, than to actually do or not do it ... that has to stop.

It seems that some countries are starting to do something about it (in principle); I think France last spring (2021!) has introduced one of the world’s first legal sanctions directly against greenwashing for example.
 

Brooks Otterlake

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 12, 2019
The damage done through overharvesting is real.

I wonder how much that was actually a larger issue in the past rather than a pressing issue now. Oud demand is still very high, but I couldn't pinpoint with confidence who/what is driving that.

I'd guess it's not really the big firms. The bulk of fragrances produced by the likes of Givaudan and Firmenich are already so heavily synthetic that I'd have to imagine that for any given mass-market fragrance, the impact is not massive. Even "luxury" fragrances these days rarely use real sandalwood or oud.

For artisanal fragrances, naturals may be utilized in higher quantity, but I'd guess that artisanal perfumers aren't stockpiling vast naturals, if only because of the expense of it and because artisanal fragrance isn't a high-volume field.
 

Paddington

Marmalade Sandwich Eater
Basenotes Plus
Jun 17, 2021
If u dig deep enough there will always be some "ethical" dilemma no matter what, the big boys as @Brooks Otterlake mentioned rarely use materials like sandalwood (there are different types and outside of the artisanal side if they do use sandalwood now days its mostly Australian) and oud.
Sandalwood (specifically Indian) is an interesting one as while it was over harvested the government then banned planting of the trees till about 2002 now's there's now just a a ban on harvesting Mysore (unless ur government)
 

naylor

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2011
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
I found it hard to get clear statements on a few perfumers’ sites with regards to how sustainable their sources are etc.
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
This isn't a major issue within the industry at large, with restrictions already in place for endangered ingredients and the proliferation of synthetics. It would come into play more specifically in the artisanal sub-niche of the industry, IMO.
 

cacio

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Nov 5, 2010
There are very many dimensions regarding ethics and sustainability, so, as others were saying, it really depends on the specific issue.

Regarding oud specifically, overharvesting is an issue, as it was in the past for sandalwood, though in the oud case it's not because of western perfumery, in which it is all synthetic.
 

StylinLA

Well-known member
Aug 9, 2009
There are very many dimensions regarding ethics and sustainability, so, as others were saying, it really depends on the specific issue.

Regarding oud specifically, overharvesting is an issue, as it was in the past for sandalwood, though in the oud case it's not because of western perfumery, in which it is all synthetic.
Not positive about this but I would generally also tend to feel like the big boys of the perfume industry have little to do with demand for real oud.

Personally, I think it is a shame if the trees that produce oud or sandalwood are depleted/played out. But they are trees. Not people or animals.
Someone correct me I'm wrong, but the trees don't go extinct. The regrowth curve just pushes any more way down the road.

When it comes to any animal abuse as regards a scent, I would have issues with that.
 
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slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
The question you have to ask yourself is whether the bureaucracy that is implemented for the sake of ethical preservation and measurement is achieving its stated aims, or whether it measures and produces results pertaining to sustainability that justify the existence and proliferation of the bureaucracy itself.

Would you be willing to share the video you were watching if it is available via an internet link?
 

lfc1892

Well-known member
Dec 12, 2021
Sure, I’m out at the moment but I’ll link it later. It’s an Al Jazeera one on Oud and it’s on YouTube if you can find it in the meantime
 

Janjanjan

Well-known member
Oct 1, 2013
As with all ethical considerations regarding consumption, the foisting of this responsibility onto individual consumers only serves to obscure the central role producers play while saddling conscientious individuals with misdirected personal guilt.

The threat to the environment, sustainability of raw materials, and to animals is all very real. The solution however is not individual hand wringing but good government regulation on producers. Any energy used trying to navigate the green washing by individual companies to make ethical decisions on a personal basis is probably better spent lobbying for effective industry regulations to the degree they don't exist.
 

JBHoren

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 25, 2007
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
[snip]
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
"Ethics"? No, not at all. I look at this as yet-another sibling of the "Diversity, Equity, Inclusion" movement... and I want no part of/in them -- certainly not from a corporation (fragrance, or otherwise).
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019

5spice6

New member
Oct 17, 2010
No. There are ethical issues with just about all of the products we consume. Hell, there are ethical issues involving consumption itself. If I'm going to care about sustainability in the perfume industry, then I feel like I'd have to care about it when it comes to all of the products I consume, and I just do not have the time or energy for that.
 
Dec 8, 2016
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
I found it hard to get clear statements on a few perfumers’ sites with regards to how sustainable their sources are etc.
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
INFLATION bothers me!! 🙄
 
Jan 31, 2013
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
I found it hard to get clear statements on a few perfumers’ sites with regards to how sustainable their sources are etc.
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
Sustainable development and ecology are considered to some degree in everything I do. The fourth law of ecology is "There's no such thing as a free lunch," meaning everything is a trade-off.
 

myrrhman

Active member
Feb 18, 2017
Excellent and thoughtful discussion. It would seem there is merit with both views, we certainly are supposed to enjoy the resources that are granted us, maybe the problem is we waste too many resources on worthless things like weapons or there would be plenty of natural resouces and no need for inferior chemicals. The lie is that using chemicals is better for the environment, or for you! Fragrances should be enjoyed and being considerate generates another pleasing fragrance!
 

5spice6

New member
Oct 17, 2010
No. There are ethical issues with just about all of the products we consume. Hell, there are ethical issues involving consumption itself. If I'm going to care about sustainability in the perfume industry, then I feel like I'd have to care about it when it comes to all of the products I consume, and I just do not have the time or energy for that.
I disagree. You don’t need to take on every single injustice in the world. It’s not all or nothing, well I don’t see it that way. I’m vegetarian. I was vegan but found it difficult (cheese). I felt so guilty but I don’t anymore. I do what I can to help the planet and all animals. At least I try. I think we all should try. I’m not perfect but I’m still working on that cheese addiction. I have a perfume addiction too so I search for any and all the information and try to make an informed decision on what to purchase. If everyone does something it all adds up. And I try to consume less. Poshmark, consignment stores for clothing, etc. I don’t need everything to be brand new. Pick one thing you feel passionate about - animal agriculture, testing on animals, clothing produced by the oppressed, plastic pollution - the injustices are endless, as you said but don’t give up trying to make the world a better place. ❤️
 

janaka

New member
Jan 11, 2022
I think a big ethical issue if the universal use of phthalates in commercial and many boutique fragrances. They are bad for the health of everybody, but as estrogen mimics especially for reproductive age women. They can cause birth defects in male children (born of women exposed to phthalates). They increase the persistence of fragrances. Bummer for women, babies, etc.
 

ScentSensei

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Aug 21, 2020
I try not to ignore ethics and I am not invested in much actual oud but I have watched several stories about it. I think it's easy for some to just let IFRA be the conscience of the industry. As far as myself goes when it comes to coffee, chocolate, and cologne I haven't become 'woke' enough to curtail my use.
 

jim2154mn

Well-known member
Feb 25, 2003
Was watching a video on Oud production and they industry surrounding it which got me thinking about the ethics of the scents I buy.
I found it hard to get clear statements on a few perfumers’ sites with regards to how sustainable their sources are etc.
Is this a major issue in the perfume industry, and if so, does it bother you good folk?
I was recently asking myself the same question about precious metals and my electric car.
 

Toujours Mink

Well-known member
Feb 9, 2015
I do my part for the planet, when it comes to perfume. I buy only vintage perfumes, from thrift shops, antique stores, etc. I try to make sure that those civet and musk deer and sandalwood trees didn't suffer or die in vain.
Just as, although I'm a vegetarian, I have a fur coat. It was given to my grandmother in 1942, before my parents had even met, so I feel no guilt about it. And I see no reason to destroy it; that would be wasteful.
 

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