The Perth-based group launched in 2005 and oversees 2,100 hectares of sandalwood plantations in Australia’s Kimberly region. The oldest Indian sandalwood trees on the property date back to 1999. And, since 2013, the investment firm KKR has supported the group.
The Santanol plantations are intended to relocate the sandalwood oil business from India to Australia: “Our first harvest is a major milestone in moving the market from illegal deforestation in India to sustainable plantation in Australia,” Jack added. The company has positioned itself as an ethical provider of the oil to the global fragrance market.
“Pure sandalwood oil is a high-quality ingredient that has been missing from the market for some time now, but Santanol hopes to bring back the essential oil that is fundamental to the fragrance industry,” said the group’s founding director Tony Jack.
Environmental sustainability equates to sustainable business, particularly when the commodity in question has been in demand as consistently as sandalwood. “The documented use of Sandalwood goes back 4000 years to India, Egypt, Greece and Rome,” according to Fragantica.com.
When it comes to natural fragrance and personal care products, consumer education and marketing strategy are significant too. “Sustainability is rarely a reason to buy a product, but it’s a very powerful reason to believe in a brand,” Raphael Bemporad, co-founder of the BBMG consultancy, told Cosmetics Design earlier this week.
“Sustainability is driving the approach to innovation. Brands that win will embed sustainability in every step of the design process,” Bemporad said in his comments on green marketing.
Research and Markets estimated the 2014 fragrance ingredient market at $13.08bn and foresees annual growth in years to come of 5%. By 2017 the market researcher projects the market will be above $17bn. And, the firm credits consumer demand for natural ingredients with this growth.
As more industry players come on board, the natural fragrance market will continue to advance. “If the costs come down and distribution gets easier, you will see more natural fragrances being used in the marketplace. Right now, synthetics are super inexpensive,” Wendi Berger, president of Pour le Monde Parfums told Cosmetics Design.
There has been a fair amount of investment in sustainable fragrance ingredient sourcing lately. Prominent companies are taking initiative in this space as well. Symrise recently teamed up with research center CRIEPPAM, funding work that’s meant to develop more efficient lavender sourcing.
While, the fragrance and flavour company Givaudan has its people working in Malaysia and Indonesia to ensure the company’s supply of patchouli oil.
Investors have stepped into the oud supply chain. Asia Plantation Capital group put equity capital from several private investors into the cultivation of the agarwood tree and oud oil.
“Planting the trees and growing them is relatively easy. The secret lies in possessing the proprietary technology, expertise, experience and production systems through to end product,” the company proclaimed in a January statement to the media.
Proprietary botanical strains and further novel extraction methods aren’t far behind for the natural fragrance category.