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Fragrance Du Bois sings song of sustainability for endangered ingredient

April 7, 2015

Oud is an essential ingredient in many perfumes Oud is an essential ingredient in many perfumes


French perfume house Fragrance Du Bois is promoting the sustainable use of one of its main ingredients by producing a new song in collaboration with Arab singer Nadeem Nour.

The song, titled “Life’s Treasure,” was written to celebrate the dark, resinous heartwood commonly known as Oud or Agarwood that is a key ingredient in many perfumes and incense. Because Oud is in danger of becoming extinct, Fragrance Du Bois’ commitment to harvesting it in sustainable ways shows the brand’s dedication to protecting the environment.

"In our own case we believe that sustainability is the only sensible course of action for commercial and ethical reasons," said Gary Crates, chief executive officer, Fragrance Du Bois, Europe. "The Aquilaria tree is critically endangered in the wild and without the efforts of sustainable plantation companies such as Asia Plantation Capital, the tree would be extinct within a few short years.

"In fact, in Sri Lanka the Aquilaria Crassna species was extinct, and we re-introduced the species to the country," he said. "The Aquilaria is an amazing tree that it can be traced back thousands of years and is referenced in the Bible and Quran. Oud is in fact one of the original ancient Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM).

"The by-products from the tree have many uses beyond just fragrance and cosmetics, including medicinal, pharmaceutical, jewelry and even beverages with the leaves being used for Oud Tea."

Wish you wood

Oud is found in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, but unfortunately it is available in limited quantities and an increasing illegal trade has now threatened to make it extinct. Because Oud is used in many perfumes and incense, the demand for it is very large and outstrips the supply.

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Aquilaria trees are in danger of becoming extinct

It is essential for brands to support sustainable practices of planting and harvesting Oud if they wish to continue using it in large quantities. Fragrance Du Bois is one of a few brands that is committed to this goal, and they are now publicizing that with the song Life's Treasure.

Arab singer Nadeem Nour is very popular in the Middle East, and having him promote the message of sustainability will like reach a large number of fans and consumers, encouraging them to purchase Fragrance Du Bois as opposed to other brands. Mr. Nour explained that he only recently learned about the dire situation of Oud and was inspired to participate in projects dedicated to saving it.

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Nadeem Nour is a popular singer from Jordan

"Of course having Nadeem raise awareness of this issue is absolutely critical," Mr. Crates said, "and to tell the story through his song is a new and innovative concept. It is ironic that most consumers in the Middle East, where Oud and Bakhour have been in the culture for thousands of years, are generally completely unaware of the tree being critically endangered and that wild stocks are being depleted to near extinction.

"By alerting broad audiences across the Gulf to this issue, particularly the younger generations, we hope they will then make ethical purchases of Oud, Agarwood and Oud-based fragrances produced only from sustainable plantations, which will help preserve this amazing oil for generations to come."

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Fragrance Du Bois promotes the sustainable production of Oud

By promoting its message in a song, Fragrance Du Bois has a greater chance of inspiring consumers to support sustainable practices. Popular media such as music, entertainment or fashion is often a good way to reach consumers who would not otherwise be interested in helping the environment.

In addition to making a difference around the world, Fragrance Du Bois’ commitment to sustainability shows that the company cares about more than making a profit. This appeals to consumers and encourages them to support the brand and by extension the beneficial practices it endorses.

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Fragrance Du Bois uses Oud to make its beautiful perfumes

Loud and clear

Other brands have previously used songs to advertise their products and connect with consumers. For example, Jeweler Tiffany & Co. employed Chinese composer Tan Dun to create a piece that set the tone for the brand among affluent consumers.

Mr. Dun’s composition was inspired by the jeweler’s Tiffany Diamond, a 128-karat yellow diamond that made its debut in China early in December 2013. Tapping a local, yet world-renowned, musician helped Tiffany appeal to affluent Chinese consumers with a penchant for modern classical music (see story).

Fragrance Du Bois has also supported other charitable causes in the Middle East. The Niche perfume house honored women in the Middle East by participating as a sponsor for the Arab Women Awards 2014.

Held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Arab Women Awards honors women in the Middle East who have made a positive impact on society. Involvement in humanitarian causes that align with core consumers can strengthen the relationship a brand has with the public (see story).

Fragrance Du Bois' collaboration with Nadeem Nour to bring attention to Oud is another example of the brand's commitment to promoting sustainable practices.

"There are many examples of partnerships between brands and celebrities being successful, such as Sting, Leonardo DiCaprio, Pierce Brosnan and Al Gore, and having high profile celebrities raise awareness is always welcome," Mr. Crates said. "However, we also feel it is incumbent on us all to keep promoting the same message: our resources on this planet are finite, and we need to really bring sustainability into the forefront of our thinking and lives."

Final Take

Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York