CO2 Has Never Smelt So Good: Making Perfume out of Carbon Emissions by@alahausse

CO2 Has Never Smelt So Good: Making Perfume out of Carbon Emissions

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Have you ever thought that something as luxurious as perfume can be made out of carbon emissions? Mass perfume manufacturer, Coty, is doing the unexpected with their new fragrance line.

Mass Manufacturing in the Perfume Industry

Creating fragrances was once a delicate art that involved the tedious extraction of floral essential oils.

As this technology improved in the late 19th century, there became an increasing number of fragrances created in a lab, with little regard or knowledge of their adverse effects. Scientists are now revealing that of the 4,000 possible chemicals in perfume, 1,200 are “chemicals of concern”.

And what’s even more alarming, is that seven of these are known carcinogens AKA cancer-causing chemicals. 

New Beginnings

Coty has partnered with eco-innovation brand LanzaTech to create perfume that is made of carbon emissions. Before they introduced the carbon-capture method, Coty made their perfumes from sugar cane and sugar beet-derived ethanol. Eliminating this process saves lots of water, fertilizer and land. Their new manufacturing methods allow for a carbon-negative experience.


Carbon Negative Perfume

LanzaTech has coined the term carbon-negative to define the process of creating perfumes alongside Coty. Their method is even better than carbon-neutral manufacturing, as it helps to rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gasses. Even after accounting for the many steps that follow ethanol production, there is still an overall positive impact.

Carbon to Perfume…How?

A sustainable way to produce ethanol is something that Coty has been working on for some time now. For just over two years, LanzaTech and Coty have been collaborating to create the best fit for their needs. Here’s how they do it:

  1. They capture industrial carbon emissions (like carbon dioxide) and place them in a bioreactor. 
  2. Glycolysis occurs to break down sugar molecules into pyruvate. 
  3. Ethanol fermentation continues as bacteria further breaks down pyruvate into ethanol.

Though this sounds like a simple two-step process, it has taken lots of trial and error to create the perfect formula.


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Demand for Sustainability

Sue Y. Nabi, the CEO of Coty, has stated: “Ethanol is the number one ingredient purchased for the fragrance category and over time this partnership with LanzaTech will significantly reduce the environmental impact of our products. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it makes commercial sense too – with today’s consumer rightly demanding that their favourite brands share their commitment to sustainability”.

It looks like customers are putting pressure on large companies to change their ways in favour of environmental consciousness. 

“The consumers of today and tomorrow are Gen Z, and they are absolutely not able to compromise anymore on anything that’s not sustainable,” Nabi said.

Where Can I Buy it?

Coty is the manufacturer of many high-end brands that retail in different drug stores and online perfume boutiques. 

They supply: 

  • Burberry
  • Chloe
  •  Bottega
  • Veneta 
  • Miu Miu 
  • Philosophy 
  • Kylie Skin 

Select perfumes made with the carbon capture method will be released this year, though Coty has said they won’t disclose which are made with the new formula.

By 2023, their complete line will be made using carbon capture.


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The Future of Carbon Capture in the Beauty Industry

This is the second time LanzaTech has collaborated with a company in the beauty industry. Just a few years ago, L’Oreal and Lanzatech introduced their shampoo bottles completely made out of carbon emissions. Coty has expressed some interest in the idea of using recycled packaging, and hinted that this may be in their future. 

Coty is the world’s largest perfume manufacturer, supplying brands like Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta and Gucci. With big brand names at the forefront of this initiative, we hope many other companies will follow in their footsteps.


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