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The quality of raw materials has always been a primary consideration at Gattefossé. Firstly because that is one way of standing out in the market; secondly, because effective, safe raw materials have been important to the business since they are essential to the design of the products. And finally, because the whole concept of responsibility is firmly anchored in Gattefossé history; the business has always taken into account sustainability of resources and growing conditions.
In 1925, La Parfumerie Moderne revealed that the Gattefossé business “only sells and works with the purest and finest products. Its terpene-free essences are unrivaled and guaranteed to be pure”. Admittedly, the magazine was a promotional tool for Gattefossé as well as a communication platform for the whole profession.
However, it was made clear that a major concern for Gattefossé was the sourcing of raw materials and what we now call traceability.
In fact, it was founder Louis Gattefossé’s concern for the provenance and quality of his imported products that helped the former aromatics salesman break into the perfume sector.
This advertisement published in La Parfumerie Moderne in 1925 promotes essential oils of citrus.
Louis was quick to import essences from Italy, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland so he could provide perfumers with the best quality products. And in the 1920s, when Gattefossé had become a manufacturer of terpene-free essences with its own laboratory and workshop, it was just as scrupulous when sourcing raw materials for use in those products too. The business maintained close relationships with producers in the Alps, Cévennes region and Rhône Valley. These partners were described in La Parfumerie Moderne as “very old friends”. But as the business developed and expanded in size, more and more supplies were also required. Gattefossé was driven by a desire to offer the best possible essential oils, so looked further and further afield for supplies: Morocco (Atlas cedar, labdanum cistus), Madagascar (clove, cinnamon leaf and bark, geranium), America (mint) and even Vietnam (lemongrass, niaouli, star anise, yellow crown imperials*and more).
*In the original text in La Parfumerie Moderne, the plant is called “Pe-mou”. It is, in fact, Fritillaria roylei Hook, which is highly sought-after in Chinese medicine.
Today, Gattefossé will only use raw materials from known sources with high quality standards. In fact, the company would never create a new active ingredient from a plant unless it knew exactly how it had been cultivated and could ensure that harvesting the crop had not caused any harm to the environment. Sourcing has become even more important than it was back in the 1920s; not only does Gattefossé purchase “the finest” raw materials, as described in La Parfumerie Moderne, but it now pays particular attention to the conditions in which the materials are grown and harvested.
Similar standards are expected for the hydrogenated and interesterified plant oils used by the business in lipid chemistry.
Back in 1953, when Gattefossé used palm oil as a suppository base material, it could not have imagined that the ingredient would become so essential to the agri-food industry (the cosmetic industry, in comparison, uses much less). And there would have been no way of predicting that the intensive farming of oil palm trees would go on to cause such serious environmental and social problems.
With this in mind, in 2010 Gattefossé became a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), a body tasked with promoting the growth and use of palm oil that meets stringent sustainability standards around the world. In 2020, the company was awarded RSPO certification for its manufacturing sites in France and Singapore.
Lipocire™ A SG is composed of 100% RSPO segregated sustainable palm and palm kernel oils. The fruit of the palm tree has dark red skin and yellow-orange flesh.