LMR Naturals by IFF develops reliable methodology to calculate the carbon footprint of natural fragrance ingredients

Since 2020, LMR Naturals by IFF has taken steps to develop an innovative and reliable methodology to calculate the carbon footprint of natural fragrance ingredients to establish an efficient reduction strategy and to support customers in their reduction objectives.

“The increasing use of natural extracts in perfumery and food flavours mandated a study of their footprint,” said Bertrand de Préville, general manager of LMR Naturals. “However, there are huge variations which depend on the nature of biomass, its origin, and its extraction process; we needed a reliable, reproducible methodology, based on a detailed understanding of our ingredients.”

In concert with Carbone 4 — a consulting firm which specialises in low-carbon strategy and climate change adaptation — the team at LMR Naturals used its expertise in scent production, deep-rooted partnerships with suppliers and fundamental knowledge of life-cycle assessment to complete a greenhouse gas (GHG) study of LMR Naturals. It goes beyond evaluating Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions, which are direct emissions and indirect emissions from purchased energy. Instead, the study offers a holistic perspective — integrating Scope 3 emissions — which refer to the indirect emissions across the entire value chain.

“Indeed, 95 per cent of LMR’s carbon footprint can be traced to Scope 3 activities,” said Bernard Toulemonde, consultant and natural ingredients expert. “It’s then easy to understand the breadth of the gap between the data published until now, limited to Scopes 1 and 2, versus the reality of the actual footprint encompassing the full value chain.”

To evaluate the carbon footprint of ingredients, the team followed a life-cycle approach to generate a matrix filled with data such as flow inventories for agricultural practices, extraction, transport, and purification practices, among others. The study identifies high-volume ingredients such as patchouli or clove, as well as specific areas of importance to reduce carbon footprint. It also outlines the large burden of first transformation — in most cases distillation or solvent extraction — in the total footprint, as well as the ways to reduce it. For example, significant GHG reductions are possible through modernising production units, improving yields and by ensuring sustainably harvested fuelwood is used during extraction.

The carbon footprint of fragrance ingredients may vary by three orders of magnitude, which is why LMR conducted an exercise for each of its ingredients.

“Comparison on an absolute level per kilogram of ingredient, however, misses the true point to this effort,” said Todd Krieger, senior lead life cycle assessment scientist at IFF. “The goal is to provide lower-impact fragrances in use. Therefore, dose rate in a fragrance and olfactory performance need to be included. But, having data on an ingredient basis allows a customer to calculate the carbon footprint of a perfume or aroma formula, thanks to the precision of this unique approach. This data allows clients to assess the impact of an LMR Naturals by IFF product in its formula.”

By disclosing this study’s results to its customers, LMR Naturals is inviting them to contribute to global mitigation efforts.

“The future most certainly lies in an increased collaboration between brands and producers, who will be able to support locally identified partners,” said de Préville. “Unique, reliable and constantly improving, this method is a steppingstone toward lasting change.”

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