In an unprecedented move, Clarins Fragrance Group is blazing new transparency trails, with brands MUGLER and AZZARO committing to produce perfume alcohol in a way that meets rigorous environmental and social requirements under a groundbreaking “made in France” program.
The key aim of the “responsible alcohol” project is to promote biodiversity in agricultural practices. Other benefits of the program include local production, which will create a short circuit between harvest and transformation sites.
Located on the Remicourt Farm at Amifontaine near Reims in the Champagne-Ardenne region of Northeast France, the program is based on a simple principle: To achieve an optimal ecological production of sugar beets grown for perfume alcohol, a balanced ecosystem that protects and regenerates the environment has to be created at the production site.
“Luxury according to Clarins Fragrance Group is based on a bold, long-term view of the world, where making each day wondrous and transmitting a heritage to future generations coexist. This luxury is resolutely committed to the planet, without compromising the emotions and dreams that our creations bring. This pioneering project is in perfect keeping with our ongoing commitment,” said Sandrine Groslier, President of Clarins Fragrance Group.
The project was developed in partnership with PUR Projet, a French social business that assists companies in integrating social and environmental innovation into the heart of their corporate activities, and built upon an agro-forestry model.
In December 2016, 2,290 diverse trees — covering approximately seven percent of the plot’s non-tillable surface — were planted at the edge of and on the field in an effort to reinforce biodiversity in the agro-ecosystem and generate more resilient sugar beet growth. The different tree varieties were chosen for their biodiversity benefits and to meet the needs of soils and crops that are rotated on the plot. Other interventions, such as the installation of fifty perches for birds of prey, were also integrated into the site. Sugar beets were planted on the 12.5-hectare plot in late March 2017 and harvested in October.
The project is the result of an encounter between Céline Corpel, an agronomist and farmer at Remicourt Farm and other project stakeholders. Since taking over her family farm, Corpel has been looking for ways to reduce the environmental impacts of her agricultural practices.
“By nature, our production system is based on annual crop and is sensitive to weather conditions. But for several years now, we have very concretely experienced seasons that are particularly disrupted. In addition, we work with fragile soils that are sensitive to drying and that must be protected and improved if we want to continue producing sustainably,” said Corpel at the outset of the project.
“I’d like to experiment with a pilot plot and am convinced that it’s a solution that can ensure the sustainability of the farm for the mid and long-term. It’s a natural and independent way to make the land more resilient. A long, long time ago, trees were what enabled the genesis of fertile soil. The idea is to reintroduce them into the landscape in an organized way that is compatible with modern agriculture.”
The “responsible alcohol” project is one in a series of collaborations between Clarins Fragrance Group and PUR Projet. Since 2011, the company has participated in several community programs run by PUR Projet, including soil remediation and the development of agroforestry gardens in northeast China, reforestation in Thailand and the support of indigenous traditions in the Brazilian Amazon.
“With PUR Projet, we contribute to restore diversity into crops in a way that benefits farmers and their ecosystem. We assist around 10,000 small agricultural producers in more than 30 countries who are concerned with implementing this transition,” said Tristan Lecomte, Founder of PUR Projet. “An ever-increasing number of companies are becoming aware of the importance of this strategy and want to encourage the evolution of agricultural models, namely to reduce their environmental footprint and support the changeover of their suppliers to more sustainable and effective models. In this way, they commit to a progressive approach.”