Former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined 850 fragrance executives at a recent inaugural program by the Fragrance Foundation where he was a key speaker addressing issues like inequality, instability and unsustainability.
The event dubbed 'Fragrance Foundation Talks,' also incorporated speakers from non-cosmetic backgrounds to inject fresh perspectives into industry thinking as the chair Jill Belasco had pointed out, the fragrance sector is “so isolated" that "we talk among ourselves.”
Attendees included fragrance professionals and students from Marymount, Trinity High School and New York University, who were treated to presentations from passionate and creative thinkers across various platforms on some of the world’s greatest challenges.
The former President spoke about several issues, ranging from world hunger to embracing diversity and deemed there to be three major problems in the world:inequality, instability and unsustainability.
“I am particularly grateful to be here because of the work that several of you have already done in Haiti,” Clinton told industry professionals, whilst singling out Donna Karan for her work with Haitian artisans and the fragrance houses for purchasing vetiver from more than 30,000 earthquake-stricken farmers.
Measures that the fragrance sector can take..
Clinton repeatedly returned to themes of global interdependence and the importance of collaboration over conflict.
“That is a metaphor, in some ways, for the world we face today. [Today’s world] is full of benefits, and virtually everyone in this audience is a representative of the positive impact of the 21st-century world,” he outlined.
The former President also commended fragrance houses that purchase ingredients from disadvantaged countries like basil from Indonesia and citrus from Brazil.
“These added-value products are critical for the development of poor countries, or for poor areas within no-longer-poor countries like Brazil.”
Clinton then offered his thoughts on a variety of ways that these issues could be ameliorated, all leading to the same conclusion: We live in an interdependent world where we must help one another, with shared responsibility and a sense of community.
“It is every citizen’s responsibility to build more shared responsibility and a sense of community, and appreciate that common humanity means more. In the fragrance world, one way these measures can be carried out is through thoughtful attention paid to the way ingredients are sourced," he said.