Doing good for sandalwood
One of the most precious raw materials in perfumery, the use of sandalwood can be traced back thousands of years. Consumers today love its refined woody scent, and its exotic, mystical connotations. Many associate India with fine sandalwood, but we prefer to use Australian sandalwood due to the deforestation and quality issues that now threaten the Indian industry.
“Ethical trading is a fantastic thing to guarantee our future for tomorrow… we all want the same result: a good product, a good price and no negative environmental or social impacts”. So says Dr. Richard Walley, Chairman of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Board, who is part of a broader team guiding Givaudan in responsibly sourcing sandalwood from Australia.
Givaudan is part of the National Resources Stewardship Council (NRSC), which implements good practices and responsible sourcing for the beauty industry. As a founding member of this Council, we act on our duty to source ingredients in a responsible manner. This is why, in 2007, Givaudan signed a partnership agreement with Mount Romance, a producer of pure Australian sandalwood oil. This agreement is promoting a sustainable supply of a specific grade of sandalwood oil that is harvested by Aboriginal communities in the southern part of Western Australia.
Reliable and traceable benefits
A premium, paid by Givaudan for the supply of the indigenous grade oil, is passed to the harvesters. A fund has also been established jointly with Mount Romance to finance equipment to help indigenous harvesters to continually improve environmentally friendly harvesting techniques. This project provides reliable and traceable benefits along with economic and social improvements for the Australian Aboriginal communities.
Facts about sandalwood
- Sandalwood essence is made by extracting oil from the ‘heartwood’, the darkest part of the wood.
- Oil distillation takes about 50 hours.
- Fifty kilos of wood for each kilogram of essential oil.
- A cut piece of sandalwood will retain its scent for decades.
- It takes 30 years or more to harvest sandalwood oil.
- Sandalwood is a root parasite and grows best in the wild.
- In India, sandalwood trees have been declared an endangered species due to declining numbers.
Ethical sourcing programme
Sustainable actions such as these are a result of our ‘Ethical sourcing’ programme, whereby we selected special ingredients to protect and nurture over the long-term. This programme recognises the importance of maintaining the world’s supplies of unique raw materials. By operating sustainable business models involving people, products, the environment and society, the future of these resources can blossom.
Read more about our other ethical sourcing programmes below: