Sustainable scents: Firmenich completes DRT deal, opens third fine fragrance workshop

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Rose de Mai is just one of many fine fragrances Firmenich produces in France (Getty Images)
Rose de Mai is just one of many fine fragrances Firmenich produces in France (Getty Images)

Related tags firmenich Fine fragrance Fragrance Perfume Sustainability

Swiss fragrance major Firmenich has completed its acquisition of French plant ingredient specialist Les Dérives Résiniques et Terpéniques (DRT) and opened a third perfumery workshop as it pushes forward with its focus on naturals, renewables and sustainability.

The acquisition of DRT – a specialised supplier of renewable and naturally-derived plant-based ingredients, mainly from pine trees – was initially announced back in March​. The deal sees Firmenich acquire DRT’s sustainable raw material supply chain and extraction, distillation and advanced innovation capabilities, along with nine global production sites: four in France, two in the USA, two in India and one in China.

50% of ingredients from renewable carbon sources

Julien Firmenich, vice president of sales for ingredients and perfumery at Firmenich, said the DRT acquisition would “transform”​ Firmenich’s fragrance and flavour portfolio.

“After integrating DRT’s ingredients portfolio, close to 50% of Firmenich fragrance and flavour ingredients, in volume, will be manufactured from renewable carbon sources,”​ Firmenich told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich, said the acquisition gave the company a “competitive advantage”​ in meeting a “growing demand for sustainable products in perfumery and beyond”.

Ghostine previously said it also reinforced Firmenich’s presence in France – the company’s second-largest market in the world.

Fine fragrance workshop in Grasse

Expanding its French footprint even further, Firmenich also unveiled plans to open a third fine fragrance atelier or workshop in the Grasse region – a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its history in perfumery.

The Villa Botanica site – a 40,000-square-metre workshop with gardens – was set to formally open in Spring 2021, showcasing a range of high-quality natural ingredients sourced locally and worldwide.

Ghostine said the atelier would enable close collaboration with beauty and fragrance developers on products that targeted “today’s conscious consumers and tomorrow’s trend setters”.

Jerry Vittoria, senior vice president of global fine fragrance at Firmenich, said the site offered a “unique opportunity”​ to delve into the world of natural ingredients and raw materials.

“Guided by our perfumers, [customers] will be able to pick the flowers, crumple the leaves, smell the first fruits of each season, and co-create new fine fragrances together,”​ Vittoria said.

'No equal' in perfumery heritage

Fabrice Pellegrin, principal perfumer and director of natural product innovation at Firmenich, said the location in Grasse was important, given floral productions from the region had “no equal” ​in perfumery heritage.

Firmenich already had a Centre of Excellence in Grasse where it treated over 80 globally sourced raw materials and produced more than 800 natural ingredients, including Rose de Mai which was harvested and extracted in France.

Villa Botanica adds to Firmenich’s two other fine fragrance ateliers – one in Sao Paolo and another in Shanghai, both opened last year.

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