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Smelling the Forest for the Trees

By: Christian Thwaites and Nathan Janz
Posted: May 4, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 3

New ingredients with unique and pleasant aromas are great, but too often such ingredients come from areas of the world where sustainability standards are either poor or nonexistent. This is not the case with ingredients derived from the Northwest rain forest. A 2003 independent study conducted by Yale’s Benjamin Cashore and Constance McDermott compared British Columbia’s environmental forest practice regulations with those practiced in other parts of the world.2 Cashore and McDermott’s study concluded that British Columbia “takes a stringent approach to forest policy, regulation development, and on key measures we compared, is among the top of the 38 jurisdictions we studied from around the world.” Specifically, British Columbia’s forests are 95% government-owned, and its annual allowable cuts are based on sustained-yield principles. The region, which has more certified forest lands than either Sweden or Germany, is a leader in designating protected areas and in third-party sustainable forest management. Suppliers in the area are committed to making the production of regionally derived essential oils more than a cottage industry.

In Summary

The availability of natural and sustainable ingredients from the Northwest temperate rain forest comes at an important time for the fragrance industry. With the global economy continuing to struggle, the need for innovation and differentiation is strong. New ingredients can play an important role in facilitating this innovation.

Courtesy of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine. The unabridged March 2010 article, which includes technical data, is available for purchase at

Christian Thwaites and Nathan Janz are with Northwest Aromatics, which specializes in supplying North America’s fragrance industry with new essential oils derived from Canada’s rain forest. Address correspondence to: Nathan Janz, 3800 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC V6S 2L9, Canada;


  1. WM Ciesla, Non-Wood forest products from conifers: Essential Oils. United Nations Forestry & Agricultural Organization FAO (1998)
  2. B Cashore and C McDermott, Global Environmental Forest Policies: Canada as a Constant Case Comparison of Select Forest Practice Regulations. International Forest Resources (2004)