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Firmenich, Symrise, IFF and Givaudan Form FSAC

The Fragrance Science and Advocacy Council will advocate for science-based public policy decisions.

The four largest fragrance suppliers have formed a trade organization in the U.S.

Firmenich, Symrise, IFF and Givaudan have formed the Fragrance Science and Advocacy Council. According to a statement from the association, it is “dedicated to the strategic development of responsible science-based public policy in response to the fast-evolving legislative and regulatory landscape in North America.”

The organization is chaired by Shawn Blythe, the chief integration officer at IFF. As regulations are expected to shape-shift, Blythe said a science-rooted trade organization would become a must-have. “The overriding objective was an increasing need for stronger science and technical public policy support,” he said. “There are a lot of good trade associations out there, but we felt that there was really a need to bring that science and technical perspective. The other thing, it was really an opportunity to bring the four largest fragrance suppliers in the world under a U.S. trade organization.”

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Ingredient defense is set to be a priority of the organization, which anticipates more stringent regulations around ingredients. “[Forming FSAC] is more of a strategic, proactive move. If you go back to some of the issues we’ve faced over the years, the fragrance houses have done their best to provide technical and scientific-based support where needed in the advocacy arena,” Blythe said. “There are specific ingredient issues behind regulation, and in order to advocate on behalf of a particular public policy, we need to be able to explain our science, we need to be able to bring scientific, fact-based arguments to bear.”

Given the companies that formed it, FSAC will have a wide range of resources for ingredient defense. “When the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] starts down their risk assessment pathway through the Lautenberg act, there will be specific fragrance ingredients that we’re going to need to defend with data, and being the largest manufacturers, we’re going to have the most of that data,” Blythe said.

Blythe sees other areas of interest for FSAC. “There are three broad categories. There is legislation that stresses ‘clean,’ and of course, the definition of what that means can vary significantly. That overlaps with transparency, which means disclosure of some sort. But are you talking about material disclosure, or simple ingredient disclosure? The last one is safety, which is where FSAC will shine,” Blythe said.

Although different, the organization’s areas of specialty all overlap. “They all have their aspects and they’re not necessarily synonymous. When you think about ‘clean‘ or sustainability, those are areas with a lot of variables. You start to talk about, for example, natural versus synthetic materials. In our case, we want to make sure that discussion is happening on a scientific basis,” Blythe said.

FSAC is planning to collaborate closely with other industry trade organizations such as the International Fragrance Association and Research Institute for Fragrance Materials.

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