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Eco-socio-designed fragrances with the Flor-Index tool

Committed to a CSR approach for over fifteen years, TechnicoFlor, a French, family-owned and independent perfume composition house specializing in the creation of fragrances for the biggest names in perfumery, cosmetics and hygiene, has created Flor-Index, a tool for assessing the environmental and societal impact of perfume formulas at every stage of their development cycle. This tool, recently audited by Afnor Certification, now offers brands the opportunity to propose eco-socio-designed fragrances. Interview with Maxime Gransart, Deputy Managing Director of TechnicoFlor.

Why develop Flor-Index? What's in it for brands?

At TechnicoFlor, we've been genuinely committed to CSR for some fifteen years now. At the same time, we're seeing a real demand from our customers (perfume and cosmetics brands) for transparency in the composition of their formulas. Consumer expectations are also evolving. They no longer want to compromise between responsibility, creativity and quality. It's really important to be able to provide them with concrete, quantitative information about what they're buying. With this in mind, we have created Flor-Index, an innovative tool that enables our perfumers to design eco-socio-designed fragrances and encourages our suppliers to provide us with more data on their raw materials. The perfume industry of tomorrow, if it is to continue to exist, must move towards greater transparency and eco-responsibility! Perfume is no longer natural, but responsible.

What makes Flor-Index innovative?

Flor-Index is the only tool to date capable of measuring the environmental and societal impact of fragrance formulas at every stage of their development cycle, and the only tool whose relevance, transparency and robustness have been audited by Afnor Certification - a world first! With Flor-Index, it's the first time that brands can lay claim to the eco-socio-design of their fragrance formulas. 

Which indicators are taken into account in the measurement process?

From the sourcing of raw materials, through production and transport, to the perfume's end-of-life, the tool analyzes 38 indicators to evaluate eight criteria: the weight of responsible raw materials, the weight of fair-trade raw materials, the content of unnecessary solvents, the energy required for production, the impact of transport, the biodegradability of a formula and the measurement of its toxicity on the environment and health. It's the most complex and robust tool in the industry today. After weighting these elements, the tool assigns the fragrance a score from A to E, working on the same principle as the nutri-score or ecoscore known to the general public. TechnicoFlor's regulatory department then issues a certificate indicating the formula's eco-socio-design rating. An A or B grade indicates that the perfume formula is eco-socio-designed. This is an evolving tool, designed to adapt to changes in regulations and new data on raw materials.

How does the assessment work in practice?

The weight of responsible raw materials is assessed according to several criteria: respect for biodiversity, the transformation process (green chemistry or not) and the type of production (fair trade or not). Thanks to these elements, we can quantify each responsible raw material used. Unnecessary solvent content is a historically taboo subject in the industry (as it is used to reduce the cost of formulas), and we aim to lift the veil by analyzing the weight of this solvent in a formula in complete transparency. To measure the toxicity of a product on the environment, we use criteria established by European regulations. Finally, the energy required for production is linked, for example, to the number of raw materials used in the composition (short or long formula). In 2021, TechnicoFlor will be inaugurating an eco-designed plant in Allauch (13), which is the most automated in its sector and uses very little energy thanks to its gravity-fed weighing system. Our goal is to be 80 % energy self-sufficient within two years.

From tools to eco-socio-designed fragrances, how do you make the leap?

Since the tool was created, all the collections we pro-actively develop, especially for trade shows, are eco-socio-designed. The idea is to show that eco-socio-designed perfumery can be highly creative and sensorial. Our latest collection "Our Daily Sustainable Beauty Routine presented at In-Cosmetics Asia, illustrates this "new" perfumery through a variety of applications (eaux de toilette, shower gels, hand soaps, multi-purpose cleansers and home fragrances). The event also provided an opportunity to present Flor-Index at a conference dedicated to industry professionals; a tool that was very well received by the profession.

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