The three perfume houses of the LVMH group will collaborate with Cristal Union — a French agricultural cooperative that brings together more than 9,000 beetroot growers and employs more than 2,000 people to produce and market sugar, alcohol and bioethanol – to improve the agricultural practices in the beetroot sector. The cultivation of beets is a key element in the perfumery supply chain since it produces the alcohol that serves as a support for most luxury fragrances.
Agroecological transition of 380 hectares
This year, Parfums Christian Dior, Givenchy Parfums and Kenzo Parfumsare financing a project aimed at supporting the agroecological transition of 380 hectares of beetroot cultivation in the east of France to produce the equivalent of 45% of their alcohol needs (“Mass balance” approach).
The project is based on the Regeneration Index, a tool developed by French NGO Pour une Agriculture du Vivant. It allows to assess the agro-ecological score of farms and to support farmers on their path to progress.
“This collaboration sets an important milestone on the path traced by the LIFE 360 program towards the regeneration of 5 million hectares of ecosystems. Beetroots hold a prominent place in the supply chain of the LVMH Beauty business group. The implementation of new, virtuous production models in this sector represents a key step on the way to our commitments,” highlights Hélène Valade, Environmental Development Director of the LVMH group.
A five-year R&D program
In addition, and for a period of five years, LVMH finances a Research & Development program with Cristal Union within 12 farms with the objective to test new agronomical practices with a particular focus on:
Reducing nitrogen inputs in beetroot cultivation by optimizing cover crops.
Limiting the addition of fertilizers of mineral origin through an increased use of organic matter.
As part of these trials, the three Maisons will work with Genesis, selected by the Maison des Start-ups LVMH and awarded for its tool measuring the health and quality of soils. Genesis will be in charge of collecting precise data about soil health on a regular and geolocated basis in order to assess the impact of agricultural practices on their health and their contribution to ecosystem functions.
Perfumery brands have made very different sustainability choices when it comes to perfumery alcohol. Some of them, usually niche brands, have opted for organic alcohol, but quantities of organic beet alcohol is very limited and they usually have to switch to organic sugar cane alcohol. Others, like Coty, have opted for synthetic alcohol from carbon recycling. The transformation of the perfume industry in a context of ecological transition will be one of the key topics of the next Fragrance Innovation Summit on November 30 in Paris.