THE FOUNDING OF IFEAT (part 1)

by Peter Greenhalgh

Forty years ago, in the summer of 1976, about 2,000 drums of various “essential oils” from Indonesia, valued at several million dollars, arrived at ports in Northern Europe, the USA and Taiwan filled with muddy water with a hint of oil on top. This well-planned and orchestrated fraud eventually led to the foundation of the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades (IFEAT). Many well-known importers from the USA, UK, Netherlands and Germany were affected by this scam – but the initiative for IFEAT’s formation came from the UK, which at that time was probably the second largest importer of essential oils after the USA.

The telephones and telexes were hot with discussions about how to re-coup the losses and how to avoid such incidents in the future. Ronald V Neal, Managing Director of Fuerst Day Lawson of London flew to the USA in August for discussion with various US organisations, including the need for an international organisation to represent the in terests of the essential oils trade. On 18th April 1977 seven members of the UK essential oils trade attended a meeting in London, chaired by M P Murray-Pearce of Cosmetics World News. A majority favoured the immediate formal establishment of an association (with the suggested name of “The International Federation of Essential Oils and Allied Trades”) and opening it to worldwide membership as soon as it had a legal entity as a non-profit company, limited by guarantee. Interim officers were elected, namely joint chairmen (Neal and Wells), secretary and treasurer (Murray-Pearce) and a Steering Committee established comprising the seven present along with three who had sent apologies. The companies were Biddle Sawyer, Blythe Greene Jordan, Cosmetic World News, De Monchy, Fuerst Day Lawson, Hamburger, R C Treatt, A E Wells and Zimmerman Hobbs. Following the meeting all the Steering Committee members endeavoured to interest a wide range of companies and organisations to join the association, the initial aims of which were:

  1. To promote international trade
  2. To agree terms of business worldwide for the settlement of disputes
  3. To liaise with the appropriate government and other official bodies worldwide
  4. To authorise and/or organise international meetings.

A range of discussions took place e.g. do we really need another association when IFRA, IOFI and various national associations were already in existence? Should membership be by individual, company or by association? Was an international essential oils contract feasible and necessary? Some traders opposed the establishment of IFEAT worried that such a body would like up producers with end users and lead to a reduced role for traders. The American Essential Oils Association was split, and Eric Bruell who was a major figure in the essential oils trade was opposed as was Dennis Cox of Copelands in the UK.

After various discussions, it was agreed that these issues should be developed, presented and discussed at the 7th International Congress of Essential Oils at Kyoto, Japan. On the 9th October 1977 in the grand setting of the Kyoto Conference Hall, under the chairmanship of Ron Neal, IFEAT became a reality as the presidents of American, French, Japanese and other major associations of traders, as well as individual traders without national associations, gave their overwhelming support to the London Steering Committee’s ideas.

The meeting went on to elect the nucleus of a World Council, to be based in London, by which IFEAT would be governed. From the very start, IFEAT was an international organisation aimed at bringing growers, merchant houses and compounders from developed and developing countries closer together to harmonise their trade in essential oils and aroma chemicals. 18 nations joined IFEAT’s World Council and elected officers included R Bordas (President), R V Neal (Chairman), J L Adrian (France), C Breunesse (Netherlands), S C Datta (India, who was funded by Sant Sanganeria), R C Pisano (USA), K D Protzen (Germany), N H T Suwignyo (Indonesia) and M A Murray-Pearce (Hon. Secretary).

Two major committees were established, the Executive Committee and the Contracts Committee, chaired by Jack Abehouse, from the US Essential Oils Association, who had already drafted contract proposals. The formulation of a universally acceptable contract was too receive top priority, in part to raise the status of the essential oils trade to that of other major commodity markets trading in raw materials, such as sugar, grains, coffee, cocoa and vegetable oils. Other familiar names on the contract committee included Dr W S Brud, E J Dierberger, L Fischbeck, D Narpati and H Ueno.

IFEAT’s Memorandum and Articles of Association were presented and agreed in Kyoto, including two categories of membership – association and individual.  The 2nd IFEAT Executive Committee meeting was on Saturday 26th November 1977 at the Chelsea home of Eileen Day Lawson and chaired by Ron Neal, with many of the international officers present. Discussions centred on the draft Memorandum and Articles of Association from Kyoto, which were considered “too elaborate” by many. Membership was discussed, particularly how to increase numbers, leading to a recruitment drive, as well as the desirability of “consumers” of F&F ingredients NOT being admitted to IFEAT membership. However, if a “consumer” company were already a member of a national association then its application would not be questioned or refused. Individual company annual membership fees were agreed at $250 and for those joining via their national association at $50, substantially lower than the fees proposed in Kyoto. Other topics discussed were very similar to those that were to dominate Executive Committee discussions over the next 39 years!!

IFEAT formally came into existence on 18th May 1978 with the Certificate of Incorporation. This is how a scandal relating to drums of muddy water shipped around the world led to our thriving and vibrant federation that we know today!

Peter Greenhalgh

THE FOUNDING OF IFEAT (part 2)

by Peter Greenhalgh

IFEAT: The Early Years By Peter Greenhalgh, Consultant to IFEAT This is the second instalment of Peter Greenhalgh’s “History of IFEAT” series, which is being prepared to celebrate IFEAT’s fortieth anniversary this year. It follows on from his article “The Founding of IFEAT”, published in the December 2016 issue of IFEATWORLD.

Following IFEAT’s creation in 1977 the next few years laid the foundation for the IFEAT that we know today. With much effort and considerable uncertainty, the first few years saw the foundation of IFEAT’s committee system, membership structure, educational initiatives, an irregular newsletter, an initial study tour to China in 1982 and most importantly the development of annual conferences. The early days were not easy, particularly if you were a founder member. Administration was “run on a shoestring”, predominantly by Murray-Pearce from his Cosmetic World News offices in London, and it was a struggle to meet the many expenses associated with setting up IFEAT. Insufficient funds meant that some founder members had to make donations to supplement membership subscriptions. The appointment of a Director-General was discussed in some detail but never materialised because of funding issues. As today, all the Executive Committee (EC) members met their own travel and hotel expenses when participating in any IFEAT activities.

Membership gradually increases

A recruitment drive began from the very beginning, and the annual $100 membership fee agreed in Kyoto in 1977 was soon lowered to $60 to encourage membership. Both individual companies and associations were encouraged to join as well as all industry stakeholders: producers, shippers, exporters, importers, brokers and users. Concerns were expressed over end-users becoming members and the voting structure, especially for associations. Membership numbers were not high (53 companies by late 1979) and there was resistance to the concept of IFEAT from some larger companies in our industry. Nevertheless, the EC was undaunted and, through dogged determination and effort, gradually built up IFEAT’s reputation and membership.

Formation of IFEAT committees

Various committees were formed, most of which are still in existence today e.g. Finance, Membership, Education, Technical (now Scientific), Planning (now Strategic). In addition, there was the Contract Committee, aiming to establish an essential oil trading contract. Despite several re-incarnations the “vexed question” of an IFEAT contract governing the trading of essential oils and other aromatic materials was never resolved. There was too much opposition to a general contract from some quarters. A Trade Relations Committee was established in which Richard Pisano (chair), Dr Brud and Klaus-Dieter Protzen undertook the important task of liaising with both international (especially IFRA and IOFI) and national organisations involved in the F&F sector.

Technical Information and data

An early IFEAT member was the Tropical Products Institute (TPI), a UK Government scientific organisation based in London. This organisation dates back to the late 19th century and had been intimately involved in the industry for many decades. At that time, it had by far the world’s best and most comprehensive library on essential oils, and it made this available to IFEAT members along with its information service. Today it is often forgotten that the UK, and predominantly London, was a major trading centre, along with New York and Grasse, for flavour and fragrance ingredients. Dr Clinton Green was Head of its “Essential Oils, Spices, Gums and Resin Section” and was closely involved in IFEAT’s development, both as a provider of technical expertise and later as Conference Programme Coordinator. TPI staff often gave papers at IFEAT Conferences and provided considerable technical support to IFEAT activities.

Early IFEAT Conferences

Over the past 40 years, conferences have taken pride of place in IFEAT activities. In the early years, IFEAT held a Conference every two years, while the third year was devoted to the International Congress of Essential Oils (ICEO), later becoming the International Congress of Essential Oils, Flavours and Fragrances (ICEOFF). The first triennial ICEO was held in Reggio Calabria, Italy in 1956 and these Congresses were much larger affairs than the early IFEAT Conferences. They were dominated by scientific/technical papers rather than commercially-orientated papers. In establishing IFEAT Conferences, the EC had a number of objectives. Increasingly the aromatic ingredients industry was a dynamic and rapidly evolving sector and conferences needed to reflect these changes. Annual meetings were much preferred to triennial ones; conferences needed to be more commercially orientated; by attending, delegates would be able to update themselves on the many changes taking place, not only by listening to presentations but also by putting questions to experts on subjects such as legislation, which was becoming a major issue for the trade. This was particularly the case from 1992 when the 12 countries in the European Community (later the European Union) intended to be regulated as one market. The number regulations and laws expanded alongside the expansion of membership of the EU, which by 2017 had reached 27. Whether EU membership numbers continue to expand or decline remains to be seen!

The first IFEAT Conference, and associated World Council meeting, was planned for October 1979 in Cairo, Egypt but was switched to Bangalore, India to coincide with a four day “Seminar on Essential Oils” being organised by UNCTAD/GATT/ITC along with CHEMEXIL. Many speakers that IFEAT had arranged for Cairo were willing to switch to Bangalore, and IFEAT’s efforts in making Bangalore a success were much appreciated by the organisers. Nevertheless, it was a relatively small affair compared with recent conferences, with approximately 80 foreign attendees alongside several hundred Indian companies. Some excellent presentations and discussions took place. To quote Ron Neal: “It was a very good Congress because we started out with not too high hopes, but in the end it proved to be very unusual in my experience of these congresses. It had a very high top rate participation from abroad.”

Education is an early IFEAT objective

Support for education was an early IFEAT initiative, with the 1980 Cannes Congress seeing IFEAT launch David William’s Perfumery Correspondence course, while the 1984 Cairo Conference saw the first IFEAT Medal Lecture by Dr Brian Lawrence, but these are stories for future instalments of IFEAT history! The founders would no doubt be amazed at how successfully IFEAT has developed! Today, virtually every country and sector involved in the global industry is represented in the membership, and the annual IFEAT Conference has become a major item on the F&F industry calendar.

 

Peter Greenhalgh

THE FOUNDING OF IFEAT (part 3)

by Peter Greenhalgh

“Education” was not included as one of the initial aims of IFEAT but, led by Murray-Pearce, the first Chair of IFEAT’s Education Committee, and later by Michael Boudjouk, the promotion of various aspects of education very soon played an important role in IFEAT’s activities. “Education” took a variety of forms, including supporting and helping to organise perfumery and flavour courses; organising lectures, workshops and discussion panels at IFEAT Conferences; circulating relevant information on F&F industry issues to members; and study tours, as well as sponsoring student attendance on various courses and conference attendance. For the past four decades, IFEAT has offered substantial support in terms of financial and technical resources, promotion and help in all these various educational areas.

Perfumery Education

The support of perfumery education was the first success story for IFEAT. Murray- Pearce worked closely with David Williams to launch the IFEAT supported Perfumery Education Centre (PEC) during the second IFEAT World Council meeting at the Cannes Congress in 1980. Williams, Director of the PEC, had since 1970 pioneered a comprehensive open entry approach to perfumery education based on evening lectures at South East London College. However, the College was unable to obtain approval to offer a correspondence course in perfumery, which led to the setting up of the PEC in 1980 offering the IFEAT diploma duly certified. The course provided a thorough introduction to perfumery and was particularly suitable to newcomers. IFEAT was very pleased to be associated with the PEC and strongly believed that education opens new avenues of personal achievement and would be the key to the industry’s future development and success.

In the 1980s, with the encouragement of IFEAT and other industry supporters, Williams completed the monumental task of writing a complete distance-learning package. It was designed to provide students with a recognised qualification and a firm grounding in the perfume industry enabling them to develop their careers. The duration of the course was normally one academic year during which students received detailed study notes and guidance. A programme of sensory work formed an integral part of the course and for this purpose students were supplied with aromatic materials and smelling strips. IFEAT’s role included assessing the special studies submitted by each student and awarding diplomas if the special study and coursework reached the required standard.

Williams, along with IFEAT, set in motion a perfumery education programme that encompassed the world. The course was not only of interest to trainee perfumers but also attracted some of the big compounding companies who placed their newly recruited sales and marketing staff on the course. Some of the sons and daughters of owners of essential oil businesses also took the course. By 1984 some 196 students from 48 countries had registered for the course and already some 40 diplomas had been awarded, 26 at ordinary level and 14 with distinction. Now, well in excess of 1,000 people from many countries have participated in IFEAT sponsored perfumery and later flavour training programmes.

While IFEAT provided financial support for the running of the perfumery and later flavour courses, IFEAT member companies also provided financial and material support and offered company visits.

Following David Williams’s retirement in 1993 the next phase began, involving an expansion in the number of perfumery courses. This initially involved a five-day residential workshop at Plymouth University Business School supported by IFEAT and The British Society of Perfumers (BSP). This led to the four-year BA degree in the Business of Perfumery at Plymouth Business School. Course management was now under the direction of Dr Tony Curtis, who had previously worked at Bush Boake Allen. With the support and advice of IFEAT and the BSP the new degree was validated and the first students graduated in 1998. IFEAT financial support was vital in supporting students. The degree course was re-structured and transferred to the Science Department to become a four-year B.Sc in Aroma and Formulation Science.

IFEAT made substantial annual donations to Plymouth to help support the course as well as fund library texts on perfumery and flavourings. The first BA graduates entered the industry in 1998. This course ran alongside the Diploma in Perfumery correspondence course. Plymouth also developed a flavouring module for the course, with Mike Boudjouk closely involved as IFEAT Education Coordinator. The courses were also supported by the BSP and the UK Society of Cosmetic Chemists.

In 2009 Plymouth, with IFEAT support, started a new distance-learning programme and also, beginning in 2008 at the IFEAT Montreal Conference, Plymouth gave a one-day Perfumery Workshop, which continued at later conferences. Another IFEAT initiative made possible with IFEAT support was a Medical Elective at the Plymouth Peninsular Medical School on ‘Odours in Medicine and Health Care’. IFEAT financial support also allowed Plymouth student attendance at the BSP New Materials for the Perfumer Symposium. Another key development was the introduction of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) where students could take selected modules to fit their career development plans.

Flavourist Training Programme

2002 saw the start of a six-week Flavourist Training Programme at the University of Reading, supported by IFEAT. Following initial teething troubles leading to a shortening and re-formatting of the course in 2003, the course has continued to run until today and provides potential flavourists with the foundation to build a career.

While the large international companies had their own flavourist training programmes, there are many smaller companies where flavourists receive little formal training. Hence, with a few notable exceptions, course participants have been from small to medium size companies. Over the first 15 years there have been 156 participants from 44 countries. IFEAT’s publicity has helped significantly to make the course known throughout the world. Jack Knights of the British Society of Flavourists (BSF), supported by Prof Don Mottram from Reading, are the driving force behind the course.

Student Excellence Medal Award

In 1986 Mr Michael Boudjouk of Medallion International (long time Chairman of IFEAT’s Education Committee) proposed the IFEAT Students Excellence Award and Medal to be presented annually to the best students selected from groups supported by IFEAT. The first medal was awarded to Mrs A.P. Kallianpur from India at the Taormina, Sicily Conference in 1987 while the first flavourist student award was presented in Warsaw in 2002.

Other IFEAT Educational Activities

Another important function of IFEAT was to circulate information and data to members. The IFEAT Newsletter, started in May 1980, was the major publication for dissemination, and in 2007 was replaced by IFEATWORLD. Also, in the late 1990s, IFEAT started its own website which has slowly evolved; IFEAT joined REACH-Ready as a means of disseminating REACH data; in 1994 IFEAT bought a complete set of the nine-volume F&F ingredient data sheet set compiled by FEMA, RIFM and the FMA, which contained safety information on over 1,500 raw materials used in the F&F industries and the data made available to members. In 1989 IFEAT published a “Guide Line for the classification and labelling of Essential Oils for transport and handling” (ed. by Klaus Dieter Protzen and sponsored by Paul Kaders GmbH. The organisation of full day courses/workshops at IFEAT Conferences is another educational initiative. Alongside the perfumery workshops, there have been workshops on essential oils (led by Brian Lawrence), REACH, flavour workshops (led by John Wright), international transportation of hazardous materials, short chiral course and medicinal plants.

Study Tours

Another very successful feature of IFEAT educational activities has been the organisation of study tours for members. Over the past decade, IFEAT study tours have gone from strength to strength. They are proving to be a great learning experience – in the company of other industry specialists, who might be competitors but become good friends. This facilitates the growth of the international IFEAT family. While each study tour follows a similar format they remain very different, predominantly because of the country and companies visited as well as different participants.

The study tours have a number of objectives. First, to gain a clearer understanding of the various processes, capabilities and set-up of different facilities producing and processing essential oils, aroma chemicals and F&F ingredients in the country being visited. Second, the tours provide opportunities for participants to meet up with key producers, processors, importers and exporters in the F&F sector in the country. Third, the tours enable participants to meet up with other knowledgeable F&F industry people from a variety of countries and continents. Each tour has been an incredibly international and multi-generational group. Travelling together over 6 to 12 days, the wide range of expertise and knowledge on hand make them remarkably useful and informative.

Two study tours to China took place in 1982 and 1987. However, the first was restricted to IFEAT Executive Committee members, although the initial plan for the 1982 tour was for a greater number of participants but the Chinese authorities refused this. Even so, the 1982 three-week fact-finding tour was accorded diplomatic status and covered eight cities, including Beijing, Jiangsu, Guanxi, Yunnan and Guangdong.

From Bejing, the IFEAT group went to Yunnan Province to visit plantations, distilleries and factories and then finished the tour at the Shanghai Research Centre to meet Dr Ding Desheng, Medal Lecturer at the Bejing Conference in 1988.

The first IFEAT Study Tour, which was open to all IFEAT member companies, as well as non-members was to Sri Lanka in 2005, since when nine further study tours have taken place. Initially, each study tour was approximately one week in duration every two years, but following the success of the Italian and Indonesian tours, they became annual events ranging from six to twelve days and in recent years waiting lists have been established shortly after registration opened due to the high interest.

The number of participants attending has varied; 2005: Sri Lanka (11 participants from 7 countries); 2007: Egypt (13 from 9 countries); 2009: Southern Italy (30 from 13 countries); 2011 Indonesia (40 from 19 countries); 2012 Brazil (40 from 17 countries) and Paraguay (20 participants from 10 countries); 2013: India (33 participants from 17 countries); 2014: China (36 participants from 15 countries); 2015 France (44 participants from 21 countries); 2016: USA (48 participants from 20 countries) and 2017: Bulgaria (45 participants from 20 countries). Since 2011 a book, usually in excess of 100 pages, has been published on each of the study tours, and on page 14 there is an article on the recent Bulgaria Study Tour.

 

Peter Greenhalgh

IFEAT

6th Floor, Mutual House
70 Conduit Street
London W1S 2GF
United Kingdom
Telephone Number: +44 (0) 1707 245826
VAT Registration No. GB 524 7879 10