Earlier this year, as previously reported by CosmeticsDesign Europe, multinational beauty company Coty, Inc. announced it launched “the first globally distributed fragrance manufactured using alcohol from 100% recycled carbon emissions,” called Gucci Eau de Parfum, Where My Heart Beats, shared the company’s press release regarding the product launch.
The fragrance, developed in partnership with biotechnology company LanzaTech, utilizes proprietary CarbonSmart alcohol produced by a “novel technology process which captures carbon from industrial emissions and transforms it into alcohol for use in fine fragrances,” the release detailed.
To learn more about the product’s formulation and development process, including the challenges that needed to be addressed prior to launch, as well as the potential industry and environmental impact of CarbonSmart technology on the fragrance manufacturing industry, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Dr. Shimei Fan, Coty’s Chief Scientific & Sustainability Officer for her insights.
Product formulation background
Having established its partnership with LanzaTech in early 2021, Coty has been producing fragrances using CarbonSmart alcohols since the beginning of 2022 as part of the company’s larger sustainability strategies for more ecologically friendly products, shared the release.
Alcohols are a key ingredient in fragrance production, and “by employing a new source of alcohol transformed from carbon emissions through LanzaTech’s technology, Coty and LanzaTech are progressing innovative solutions to reduce the beauty industry’s environmental impact,” detailed the company’s press release. In turn, product manufacturing using this technology reduces carbon emissions, uses less water, and requires less agricultural land use than traditional alcohol production methods.
Specially regarding the product formulation process for the Where My Heart Beats perfume, the alcohol used in the formulation process is “recycled from captured waste carbon emissions, for example from steel manufacturing, and they are then naturally fermented into alcohol,” Dr. Fan explained. From there, the process “is similar to conventional alcohol production – it is like beer brewing.” However, she added, “this new fermentation process does not require sugar from plants as the source of carbon, and thus saves precious natural resources.”
CarbonSmart-captured alcohol in fragrance product formulation, according to Dr. Fan, “is a fantastic solution to recycle carbon and reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain, converting industrial emissions, which would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere, into alcohol for our fragrances.”
The formulation process has not been without its challenges. “As the technology has evolved,” said Dr. Fan, “Coty’s scientists have worked alongside LanzaTech and production partners to develop this new alcohol and validate it under the strictest of quality controls.” Further, she explained, “one of the key challenges has been reaching the level of purity needed for fine fragrance – the alcohol needs to be completely odorless, and colorless.”
As a result of a rigorous research and development process, however, “we are pleased to share that it is now comparable to other traditional sources of alcohol used in the fragrance industry,” Dr. Fan shared, and “Coty couldn't be prouder of the final results of this partnership.”
Overall industry impact
The potential impact of this product release is substantial, Dr. Fan maintained, as “this is the ultimate upcycling.” As previously mentioned, alcohol is an essential ingredient in fragrance formulations and comprises approximately 80% of the final product. As a result, said Fan, “by using alcohol from captured carbon emissions, Coty and Gucci are set to revolutionize the beauty industry, and we are incredibly excited by the potential of this technology.”
In addition to the ecological benefits of reduced water and land consumption, CarbonSmart technology protects biodiversity and lowers overall waste production as a result of product manufacturing. Because this “innovative process protects the environment and conserves valuable resources, this makes a big difference,” said Dr. Fan, as “ethanol is the main ingredient in our fragrances,” and has the potential to be a significant detriment to the environment in the ingredient sourcing and product production processes.
Moving forward, “Coty is already using carbon-captured alcohol through a mass balance approach across much of its fragrance portfolio, and we are committed to integrating this ethanol into the majority of our fragrance portfolio,” said Dr. Fan. While “The Alchemist’s Garden, Where My Heart Beats is the first of our fragrances to be manufactured using alcohol made from 100% recycled carbon emissions,” she concluded, “we will continue to investigate opportunities to scale up the use of the ingredient, as supply increases.”