Àuria Perfumes is embarked on a project to create a sustainable perfume manufacturer that strives to build a better world. The aim of its business strategy is to lead a transformation towards a business model that is committed to the environment and also to society, as it is born from a socially responsible company with an inclusive mission, which employs people with disabilities – 70% of the Àuria Perfumes workforce has a disability. Marta Pelfort Gleyal, Director of Quality at Àuria Perfumes, explains how the company faces the green future of perfumery and details the steps it is taking to decarbonize and to develop fragrance and cosmetic lines for third parties, relying on natural and organic certifications.
Marta Pelfort Gleyal, Quality Director of Àuria Perfumes, explains how a sustainable perfume manufacturer works
The perfumery sector is experiencing a green transformation. What is the actual impact of this eco-turn in a perfume and cosmetics factory?
Society, in general, is becoming increasingly environmentally aware, even more so in the wake of the pandemic, and health-related issues are of great interest. These two concerns have led to changes in our purchasing habits. We are what we eat, what we breathe and also what our skin and hair absorb. We demand local, natural and organic products, a change that directly affects cosmetic products, which we also demand to meet these requirements.
Which developments are you using to become more sustainable?
The main advances at Àuria Perfumes come from the implementation of an energy transition plan. A plan that includes the installation of photovoltaic panels for self-consumption, the renewal of the vehicle fleet towards more environmentally friendly models and the installation of electric charging points, among other actions.
At Àuria Perfumes we offer the possibility to design products with natural and organic ingredients, as we have the Cosmos Organic certification from Ecocert Greenlife. Thanks to this certification, our clients can market organic or natural cosmetics with full guarantees, as they can be sure that the production and processing procedures used to make the products are ecological and healthy for consumers.
Finally, we are developing a range of own-brand products, a line of socially responsible natural cosmetics. We use local products, with natural ingredients, free of toxins, with a minimalist packaging that reduces waste generation throughout their life cycle.
Which steps are being taken towards the green transformation of the perfumery and cosmetics industry?
Our society is fully aware of the impact that we have on our planet, and is becoming more and more demanding in terms of the products we consume. This is good news and also a challenge. We differentiate between natural and organic products. There are natural products in which most of their components are present in nature as opposed to components of synthetic origin, the former being the most sustainable.
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Organic products, in addition to being natural, come from agriculture that does not use synthetic fertilisers or pesticides.
The main ingredient in perfumes is alcohol. At Àuria Perfumes we use alcohol of natural origin (wine, from sugar cane or corn crops) in all our production.
Another trend is the production of ethanol from the transformation of CO2 – the main cause of global warming – which is currently already used in perfumery.
With regards to fragrances, the trend is to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals (parabens and phthalates, among others) and to formulate them with blends of essential oils. It is true that these reduce the possibilities of combination, but this handicap in turn enriches creativity, as perfumers have to be more imaginative to compose natural and ecological perfumes.
Àuria Perfumes is a member company of Companies for the Climate, an initiative that contributes to reducing C02 emissions to reduce the carbon footprint. What is the company’s commitment?
The company’s commitment, set out in its environmental policy, focuses on the progressive reduction of our carbon footprint, i.e. CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, a target we set every year.
Our energy transition plan includes six steps:
- Energy audit.
- Energy self-consumption.
- Energy efficiency in every process.
- Efficiency in facilities and structure.
- Sustainable vehicle fleet.
- Training and awareness.
What environmental accreditations does Àuria Perfumes have and what do they mean in practical terms?
Since 2003, Àuria Perfumes has been working with an environmental management system which is certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard, and since 2013, it has been certified in accordance with the European EMAS regulation («Eco-Management and Audit Scheme»).).
The purpose of these certifications is to promote continuous improvements in the environmental performance of organisations through the establishment and implementation of objectives and action plans, the evaluation of the performance of the management system, the dissemination of information on environmental performance, open dialogue with the public and other interested parties, and the active involvement of staff. This commitment is reflected in our integrated quality, environment, health and safety and occupational health management policy.
The sustainability of a company that manufactures perfumes and cosmetics starts with sourcing. How is the sourcing of raw materials carried out?
Àuria Perfumes’ purchasing policy prioritises sustainability criteria, but also an ethical and responsible management of suppliers. A commitment that includes planning to optimise resources and consumption while minimising the logistical impact.
Our purchasing policy is responsible, which means that, in addition to economic criteria, we take quality and social responsibility criteria into account when selecting our suppliers. We take several factors into account:
- The composition of the products or services.
- Their origin.
- The conditions under which they are produced.
- Compliance with quality, sustainability, safety and health requirements.
- The responsible behaviour of the supplier company.
- The impact of the product or service once its use is over, known as its life cycle.
- The real need for the purchase, which has to answer the question of whether we really need it.
Waste reduction and recycling is another of the beauty industry’s priorities. How does Àuria Perfumes manage the design and production of the packaging for the perfumes and cosmetics that it manufactures?
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In terms of waste, the aim is to comply with the so-called 5Rs (reduce, reuse, repair, recover and recycle), introduced by the circular economy. We must prioritise reduction over repair, and repair over recycling, which should be the last option.
Cosmetic products must be aligned with this circular economy trend. Manufacturers must find a balance to reduce packaging to a minimum while preserving the necessary information on the components of the formula, which must be accessible to the consumer and to guarantee the safety of the product and its application. At the same time, we must opt for reusable packaging, using biodegradable materials.
Recently, Àuria Perfumes has been awarded as the most sustainable perfume manufacturer. What does this recognition mean for the company?
Recognition is always important to us, but, in this case, what we are most proud of are the improvements that the Àuria Group has implemented in recent years, reducing from 891 tonnes of CO2 in 2017 to 387 tonnes in 2021, calculated on the basis of its consumption of electricity and other fuels.
What are your environmental policy objectives?
Our main objective is to continue implementing actions that improve the energy efficiency of our processes, both in the development of our own products and in those we design for our customers in order to minimise the environmental impact throughout their life cycle.
We currently rely on certifications that guarantee the environmental management of our activity, as well as occupational health and safety, as well as good practices:
- Quality management ISO 9001:2015: the international standard that establishes a quality management system.
- Environmental management ISO 14001:2015: the international standard that allows us to demonstrate our commitment to environmental protection by assessing the environmental impact of our activities and processes, enabling us to continuously improve them.
- Environmental management EMAS European Regulation: establishes an environmental management and audit system within the European framework that allows us to efficiently optimise environmental aspects related to our activity.
- Occupational health and safety ISO 45001:2018.
- Good manufacturing practices for cosmetic products ISO 22716:2008.
- Cosmos certification, awarded by Ecocert, a certification body with a European standard for natural and organic cosmetics.