In response to increasing consumer demand for greater transparency in product development, dsm-firmenich created EcoScent Compass in 2018.  This innovative digital design tool allowed the fragrance and taste company to integrate sustainable, socially responsible practices into the creation of new fragrances. In January of this year, they upgraded the program with even more data and renamed it EcoScent Compass Next Generation.

“In the new version we continue to demystify fragrances with significantly more sustainability data offerings,” says Michal Benmayor, Head of Perfumery Innovation and Sustainability at dsm-firmenich. “Now, perfumers and clients can access 80 data points for any fragrance, a significant leap from the 2018 version. This enables an educated dialogue with our clients on how to better shape the fragrances of tomorrow.”

In the simplest terms, EcoScent Compass Next Generation works by assessing and ranking the entire fragrance formulation process, from raw materials to sourcing to production. To do this, the tool uses three pillars: circular creation; climate and nature; and the impact on people and community. The tool’s data also updates in real-time, ensuring that the information perfumers are using is always the latest.

Since the introduction of the upgraded EcoScent Compass tool earlier this year, dsm-firmenich has created more than 12,000 new fragrances, ranging from fine fragrances to blends infused into homecare items like candles or personal care products like body wash.

“It helps tremendously to have more knowledge about the ingredients we use,” says Clement Gavarry, a senior perfumer at dsm-firmenich. “EcoScent Compass Next Generation shows us the ratings a formula would garner, based on categories like renewability and biodegradability of the ingredients—or its environmental and social impacts.”

The ratings system ranks each step of the process on a scale of A to E, with A being the “best.” When a final fragrance formulation receives an AAA rating, that means it has been created using the most sustainable and socially responsible standards possible given current, available data.

EcoScent Compass Next Generation is also quickly becoming an invaluable tool for fragrance brands who strive to prioritize eco-conscious product development. Ellis Brooklyn worked with dsm-firmenich on several scents. “At this point, they know our brand and our sustainability goals. We have an exclusion list—ingredients they know we don’t use,” says Ellis Brooklyn founder Bee Shapiro. “Without access to a tool like this, all the work to source information falls on the brand. And it’s a nearly impossible task for us. This gives us a degree of transparency and an accurate, overall view of our sustainability.”

In addition to making the process of creating eco-friendly fragrances easier for perfumers and consumer brands, the EcoScent Compass Next Generation tool has also provided a reliable sustainability metric for an industry that didn’t really have one before. Historically, “there has been a general lack of consistent and comparable data across the industry,” explains Benmayor, who adds that when there is data, obtaining it from suppliers and production plants can be a challenge. “Digitalized tools like EcoScent Compass Next Generation allows us to manage and access this data more easily.”

“We’ve worked hand in hand with IFRA [International Fragrance Association], Sustainability Consortiums, and Working Groups to align on methodologies,” says Benmayor. The good news is that dsm-firmenich is driving transformation across the industry and competitors are following suit with their own eco-design tools. “I think the fragrance industry acknowledges the need to collectively align and accelerate efforts to define sustainability data,” says Benmayor. And dsm-firmenich is leading the way.