Opinion

To Congress: Protect the Fragrance Industry’s Ability to Provide Jobs

In the 1920s, a group of importers, processors, and dealers in essential oils gathered in Washington, D.C., to speak on behalf of a growing, important industry. Since then, the association has grown to represent the companies responsible for the vast majority of all fragrances developed and sold in the United States, used in scents for home care, personal care, fine fragrance, home design and industrial and institutional products.

A fragrance is like a musical score — some are simple, using just a few instruments, while others are complex, using a full symphony orchestra. Both simple and complex can be beautiful. Similarly, for the fragrance industry, having the ability to source naturally as well as use and develop new fragrance ingredients is critical. It allows us the ability to help local farmers and the environment while also introducing new and innovative scents that bring joy and delight to the world. In this way, fragrance truly has the power — beyond all frontiers and cultures — to enhance lives.

This week, fragrance manufacturers from around the country — from owners of small family businesses to representatives of large fragrance houses — assemble on Capitol Hill to represent those who labor to produce fragrance. Our mission is simple and critical: to inform lawmakers of the importance of fragrance jobs and benefits to the American economy and educate about our industry’s robust safety program.

Fragrance manufacturers support a diverse group of contributors, including small and large businesses, scientists, agricultural workers, artists and perfumers, while promoting sustainability and biodiversity.

The 115th Congress is poised to discuss regulatory reform and tax and trade. Our goal is to ensure commonsense, science-based reforms that protect fragrance manufacturers’ ability to innovate and grow and enhance consumer choice in the marketplace.

The process of creating fragrance requires many different steps and supports thousands of jobs and livelihoods. In fact, fragrance scientists spend decades researching and innovating, while perfumers spend years crafting beautiful scents that enhance our lives.

In the marketplace today, companies develop their own fragrance ingredient communication initiatives, tailored to provide appropriate levels of formula information while also meeting the needs of their customers. This is a tailor-made approach.

However, requirements forcing full fragrance disclosure strip away this ability and undermine the consumer, the fragrance industry, jobs, and the environment, and significantly increases the likelihood of dangerous counterfeit products flooding the market.

Each fragrance manufacturer must have the freedom to determine the appropriate level of fragrance ingredient communication that best meets the needs of its brands and customers. This is the best way to meet a wide variety of needs of our diverse consumer population. The open marketplace will adapt and respond to consumer demand, as this is the basis for a flourishing and free economy.

As fragrance creators did a century before, we will gratefully exercise our freedoms and meet with representatives on Capitol Hill today. We hope to share the story and importance of the fragrance industry — a composition of innovation, sound science, tradition, and creative artistry, all supporting people, the economy, and the environment.

 

Farah K. Ahmed is the president and CEO of International Fragrance Association North America.

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