Enio Bonchev commits to sustainable sourcing of the Bulgarian damascena rose

The first Enio Bonchev distillery was built in 1909, in the village of Tarnichene, in the heart of the Bulgaria’s Rose Valley. The small Balkan village remains the country’s main production centre of the essential oils that the perfume and cosmetics industry is using for creating its products. The petals used in the process are harvested during a short period of time, between the end of May and the beginning of June.

We are a Bulgarian family-owned company specializing in rose and lavender, the two most traditional perfume plants in our country,” said Filip Lissicharov, the owner and manager of the company.

Nearly 4000 kg of rose flowers need to be carefully selected and hand-picked rose during the 30 days of the harvesting season to produce 1 kg of essential oil by water-steam distillation. “The oil’s unparalleled aroma derives from a complex composition of more than 275 macro- and micro-components,” adds Fillip Lissicharov.

Sustainable production

For several years now, the Enio Bonchev company has been committed to a sustainable production approach. Part of the company’s rose and lavender fields (around 60 hectares out of a total of 160 hectares) are cultivated organically. The company produces its own fertilizer, a mixture of the leftovers of the distilled lavender and rose flowers with cow manure coming from selected small organic farms. A modern irrigation system was built to limit water consumption.

A UEBT member and EcoVadis Gold medallist, Enio Bonchev strives to reduce its environmental footprint while having a positive impact on local communities.It is a long journey, which includes waste and pollution reduction, the integration of renewable resources into our operation, and the introduction of fair labour practices, among others. All of that while staying market price competitive, which continues to be the top priority for our customers,” highlights Fillip Lissicharov.

To achieve this, the company is involved in an individual support program for young people in the Rose Valley region, which aims to improve their social inclusion, as well as in a regenerative agriculture project.

We do not hurry. We listen, show respect, try to be flexible, give support. We take time to build relationships based on trust,” adds the manager.

Customer commitment

However, to be successful, these efforts must involve the entire value chain.

I have signed long-term contracts with the farmers I work with, including guaranteed quantities and minimum prices thus providing them some security. Neither I, nor any other producer in Bulgaria, has such contracts with our customers. Why?” questions Fillip Lissicharov.

Actually, sustainable and ethical sourcing means that producers take additional risks, for the benefit of the environment and involved populations, but also for the reputation of the brands to which the products are sold.

Wouldn’t it be fair if this risk were remunerated? I understand that our customers ask us for certifications and commitments, but I would also like them to commit more. We are passionate people, with on-ground expertise, willing to do the work. We all want to be change drivers,” he concludes.

Enio Bonchev will showcase their iconic ingredients at the World Perfumery Congress (WPC) from June 24-27, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland, alongside six other independent producers and suppliers of natural perfumery ingredients united in a common stand under the “Naturals Corner” banner.

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