DESIGNING THE FUTURE: Smarter, Simpler, Cleaner

Who made this? How and where was it created? By purchasing it, am I supporting a just cause?


Who made this? How and where was it created? By purchasing it, am I supporting a just cause?

Conscious consumerism is partially a result of the “Who made my clothes?” global movement, which started in 2013 calling for a fairer, cleaner, safer and more transparent fashion industry.

Although the fashion world was at first slow to embrace this concept, changes eventually took place. Last year, Jacquemus announced the integration of both his women’s and men’s collection into one show. In May of 2020, a collective of designers led by Marine Serre and Dries Van Noten launched a manifesto to invite the fashion world to consider new paradigms.

In June of 2020, prominent designers like JW Anderson, Victoria Beckham and Burberry spurned the ubiquitous fashion week schedule by not participating in London Fashion Week. In Paris, Saint Laurent announced the house’s withdrawal from the official schedule, as did Michael Kors in New York City. Alessandro Michele, Artistic Director of Gucci announced recently that the brand would become “seasonless,” stating, “I’m going to abandon the old-fashioned ritual of seasonality and fashion shows to adopt a new rhythm, closer to my creative needs.” What these events reveal is that fashion designers want to produce less, and to create in a more environmentally friendly way. They wish to slow down and regain their own cadence and independence. The beauty and fragrance industry will likewise follow suit, leading to new behaviors and new codes.

Consumers are reconsidering their habits and their choices. As we face more challenging environmental and public health issues, we are turning away from excessive consumption in a search of new balance. We are adopting a less-but-better approach. Conscious consumerism is on the rise and we are more determined than ever to meet the new challenges


Products will certainly have to offer guarantees in terms of naturalness, traceability, sourcing, respect for the environment and social impact. Through our worldwide Conscious Consumer study led in 2019, we measured that it was important for 70% of consumers to have a perfume with natural and eco-friendly values. We identified three key purchase drivers for consumers worldwide: natural ingredients, quality and primary product benefits. 

“It’s essential to offer our perfumers a curated palette of raw materials mixing responsibly-sourced naturals, innovation in extraction processes and science through safe and sustainable molecules offering better levels of renewability, and biodegradability thanks to green chemistry and white  biotechnology,” says Virginie Gervason, Global Marketing Director, Ingredients.

Recent Firmenich launches offering a “cleaner” formula:

  • NaturalsTogether™ sustainable production of frankincense with partner Neo Botanika in Somaliland. Watch here.
  • Dreamwood™ the new captive ingredient from White Biotechnologies inspired by the iconic Mysore Sandalwood. This 2020 launch is 100% renewable, 100% biodegradable and offers secondary cosmetic benefits. More info here.

The Conscious Consumer study showed that while for 86% of consumers worldwide, fragrance promotes a pleasurable sensorial experience, at the same time 64% think that perfumes can impact both their health and natural resources. “To solve this tension we definitely have to offer smart transparency and reassurance,” says Juliette Sicot-Crevet, Vice President of Business Development Naturality and Sustainability Perfumery. “We created a first-of-its-kind tool to measure the footprint of fragrance and improve sustainability: the Ecoscent Compass™. Being committed to positive design, we launched in January 2020, CreateforGood™, harnessing the incredible potential of natural and sustainable fragrances in one comprehensive solution. Our fragrance design program activates five informed and connected steps to develop a more sustainable future. Creating fragrances that delight consumers and marry sensorial experiences for pleasure, naturalness and trust, while protecting the planet, people and society. Based off of this, our ScentforGood™ collection offers more than 300 eco-friendly fragrances combining trust, delight and responsible design.”



Time, simplicity and the ability to reconnect with oneself is the new positive luxury. Thoughtful design is a natural reaction to the overabundance and acceleration of today’s world. The focus is on history, memory, and authenticity. In uncertain times, we look to the past for examples of how to survive the turmoil of the present. We draw inspiration from classic scents, and we combine old and new to rejoin the fragments of our culture together through olfactive sensorial experiences and conversations. 

In this vein, we are turning to more protective, simple and clean beauty products. We focus on the essentials. In terms of olfaction, we reinterpret a desire for purity and simplicity through shorter formulas, the idea of “less is more,” and the notion of a labor of love—in contrast to fast and impersonal.

“While keeping the quality of our products intact, we are simultaneously clarifying, reducing, and minimizing our footprint. We are also envisioning performance and strength differently, through the ideas of impact and aura,” said Olivier Cresp, Master Perfumer. 

Besides fragrance architecture, the concept of “togetherness” is central. In terms of the creative process, our perfumers are more frequently collaborating together, sharing ideas and best practices. “Our perfumers enjoy co-creation, as a means of amplifying inspiration and highlighting different points of view. It’s good for the perfumers to get outside of their comfort zone during the creative process,” observes Mehdi Lisi, Vice President of Creation and Innovation, Fine Fragrance.

Positive design—designing for the future—means collective intelligence and openness in all our actions. It represents a new era by being in tune not only with how a fragrance is made, but also with the purpose behind it.


PROVIDE FEEDBACK in a three-minute survey here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on NaturalsTogether, Dreamwood™, Conscious Consumerism, Ecoscent Compass or ScentforGood, please reach out to your Firmenich sales representative, or email