For almost two centuries, Maison Guerlain has been revered across the globe for its exquisite fragrance and beauty creations. The historic cosmetics house established its first factory, “La Savonnerie,” in Paris’ Place de l’Étoile neighbourhood in 1828 and continues to manufacture its mythic creations in France to this day.
From the beginning, nature has been the inspiration, and its conservation is an unfaltering mission for the celebrated French cosmetics house. With the bee as its sentinel, it unites its partners and customers that share the same vision to imagine and shape a more beautiful and sustainable world together.
A decades-long commitment toward uniting luxury and sustainability continues at Maison Guerlain as the historic French cosmetics house celebrates the 15th anniversary of its sustainability department.
A Passion for Nature Vested into Guerlain
A deep respect for and desire to preserve nature is nothing new for the house. Values around sustainability were passed down the Guerlain family line until Jean-Paul Guerlain entrusted his predecessor, Master Perfumist Thierry Wasser, to continue the legacy his family had built over centuries. Leading the charge for Guerlain’s biodiversity and sustainability program alongside Thierry is Cécile Lochard, who was appointed the house’s Chief Sustainability Officer in 2019.
We had the pleasure of interviewing these two Guerlain visionaries and were given an inside look into the cosmetic house’s eco-conscious endeavours.
Last month, Maison Guerlain celebrated the reformulation of its Aqua Allegoria fragrance collection. Each unique creation pays tribute to nature’s beauty and sweeps us up in a discovery of exceptional raw ingredients and notes, beautifully enhanced by Guerlain’s perfumer-explorers.
And because loving nature also means committing to protecting and defending it, the new Aqua Allegoria campaign is a powerful invitation to act for change. “Sustainable innovation gives consumers a new way to appreciate luxury – a new luxury,” says Cécile. Guerlain’s commitment to innovating sustainably and in full transparency is evident from the plethora of sustainable considerations that comprise the Aqua Allegoria collection.
Impactful Decisions for the Future
A powerful symbol of Guerlain’s commitment to the planet, the Aqua Allegoria collection boasts formulas composed of up to 95% natural origin ingredients and are now contained in unscrewable refillable bottles made in France from at least 15% post-consumer recycled glass. The 200 mL refill extends the life cycle of the Aqua Allegoria bottle without compromising on quality, sensoriality, and effectiveness. “When experiencing the new eco-packaging, one does not feel anything has changed, but in reality, everything has changed,” Cécile assures us. The spray unscrews manually to top up the bottle with a user-friendly refill, fitted with an anti-spill system. This launch marks the first time a Guerlain perfume bottle can be filled at home. “The bee bottle was already refillable, but only in-store,” explains Cécile. “Developing this format enables us to offer the ability to refill all over the world, through our boutiques and e-boutiques.”
The Aqua Allegoria fragrances are formulated exclusively with alcohol from organic farming, a first for Guerlain. The French beetroot alcohol used in its formulas comes from a network committed to responsible farming. “Formulating a low-impact fragrance is a complex affair,” explains Thierry, “But we are committed to continuous learning and progress to ensure that not only our products but our partners’ practices are as light in carbon footprint as possible.”
Cécile works closely with photographer-director and ecologist Yann Arthus-Bertrand to ensure Guerlain employs a holistic approach to sustainability, extending eco-conscious considerations beyond product packaging and formulation to include campaigns. “The footprint for each campaign is measured meticulously, and several measures are taken to ensure the lowest possible impact,” marvels Cécile. Even the flowers photographed for the Aqua Allegoria campaign were sourced no more than twenty kilometres from the shoot location in France.
To complement the Aqua Allegoria reformulation, the collection has welcomed a new scent, Nerolia Vetiver. Containing 95% natural origin, this vibrant and luminous woody floral embodies the radiance of Calabrian neroli, accentuated by vetiver, refreshed by basil, and fused with a delicious fig accord. While the Aqua Allegoria collection started as an allegory of gardens, this creation moved into the abstraction of the Italian lifestyle. It is the love of Italy, its landscapes, and its art of living. “It has the chic and elegance of 1950s Italians,” explains Thierry, the scent’s creator. However, he encourages people to go on their personal journeys with Nerolia Vetiver. “A scent is a story, and molecules are words meant to be perceived uniquely by everybody. No two experiences are the same.”
All living things depend on the climate, and Guerlain acts to protect them by aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030, a mission strengthened by its membership in the UEBT association, Union For Ethical Biotrade. This non-governmental organization is recognized worldwide for its standard of practices regarding the ethical sourcing of ingredients produced through biodiversity, and Guerlain aims to have its forty most significant sourcing channels certified with the UEBT standard by 2026.