With a press release, the Natural Perfumers Guild (NPG) has defined what is considered a natural isolate by its standards, to which all perfumers endorsed by the guild will have to abide.
In the same go, NPG has defined what Guild perfumers should NOT consider “really natural” although they are “legally natural” according to international standards.
In brief, natural isolates are those single molecules extracted from essential oils and natural raw materials existing in Nature, while single molecules extracted from Bio-Tech made material are NOT natural.
I fully endorse the definitions of the NPG and we shall refer to them as a standard definition of natural isolates in our ECLIP list of perfume ingredients.
This is a more courageous stand than it appears at first sight, because it openly clashes with the interests of the industry for which bio tech molecules are a new gold mine.
The big players of the perfume industry get rich on research that brings to light new aromas, that is, new molecules, for which they have a patent and are the unique authorized manufacturers.
The patent on aromatic molecules have created a state of monopoly for many aromatics. This monopoly gives complete control of the market to a single company and these patents are at the origin of the wealth and power of the majors.
With the advent of bio technologies a door is opened to new incredible possibilities, because not only new molecules can now be synthesized and patented, but also new processes to obtain existing molecules with existing micro-organisms and also, in some cases, new micro-organisms genetically modified that are at the core of the molecules fabrication, can be patented.
I was stunned during the presentations of such molecules that their smell and olfactory comportment was so typical of the chemical synthetic products but they were presented to perfumers as natural, organic and certified Ecocert.
When I asked the producers, as one of their long time customer, what was the material of origin of the essence, they just replied to me that this information was reserved because it was protected by a patent.
Were I to ask if the micro organisms used in the process were GMO, what do you think would have been their answer?
They are just bound to declare that the molecules have a bio-tech origin. That’s all.
This is what I cannot accept for my customers, even in the name of freedom of creativity and of Art (to me this is just the new ego-trip of the new wave indie perfumers), I cannot accept the secrecy that surrounds these materials, using them on blind trust in the corporations, while our whole recent history from Bhopal to Lehman has proved again and again that one cannot trust the corporations when their interest conflicts with the one of mankind.
Now, the stand of the NPG will not please the industry, and certainly not its “cultural and educational arm”, the Fragrance Foundation, the organization that gives the FIFI awards all around the world.
I believe that the chances of NPG perfumers to win a FIFI are now very slim. As are the chances of any blogger who will support the stand of NPG (Yes, the FF has made a FIFI also for bloggers to make sure they do not deviate from their “philosophy”).
I do not know what is behind a philosophy that certifies “organic” a molecule that does not exist in nature, and I do not know what big interests are behind this insistence to call the bio-tech molecules “natural”.
Maybe someone who reads this can inform us. Economic strategies of corporations fly far over my head, and I can hardly manage a month by month economy in the rough seas of the crisis.
I am a small fishing boat on the ocean, or rather a frail Kayak, corporations are supertankers. Let us hope that at the command there is not a Captain Schettino.