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  • Writer's pictureRoss Henry

Coalition of Sustainable Perfumery: Episode 3, Part 1: Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo

The COSP team is thrilled to interview Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo, the Chief Sustainability Scientist at the Aromatic Plant Research Center and Director of Save Frankincense, a conservation and research project aiming to protect the Cal Madow forests and the frankincense economy in Somaliland. Dr. DeCarlo’s important research on frankincense has been featured on CNN, Inside Africa, the New York Times, and National Geographic. Part 1 of our interview with Dr. DeCarlo kicks off with a fascinating show and tell into the impressive species diversity of frankincense and then jumps right into discussing current sustainability issues surrounding this primarily wildcrafted non-timber forest product. Dr. DeCarlo shares her learnings from her vast experience with performing ecological assessments in the field and interviewing the communities most impacted by frankincense harvesting and exploitation. She discusses how poverty traps are created for these communities as a result of multiple factors including the rising demands for this precious commodity, a lack of governance, climate change, and human conflict. The episode closes with a discussion of post-conflict environmental restoration, reconciliation, and the potential for sustainable cultivation.

Part 2

The COSP team is back with Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo, Director of Save Frankincense, to continue our conversation on sustainability and frankincense harvesting. Dr. DeCarlo shares the potential of creating a sustainable frankincense industry through the use of permaculture practices and community collaboration to produce an ecologically viable biodiverse mosaic. For Dr. DeCarlo, sustainability is as much about the health of the community as it is about the ecosystem, and she shares what we can do as indie perfumers to make better choices in sourcing materials and help organizations such as Save Frankincense with their important work. She discusses her hopes for the future of sustainable sourcing as well as her concerns about two of the most important issues facing our industry: lack of transparency and traceability. We ask, “Should we stop buying frankincense?” and learn the answer to the question, “What does blockchain have to do with sustainable agriculture?”

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