Why the Dior perfume factory is now producing hand sanitiser

Luxury conglomerate LVMH is producing hydro alcoholic gel in three factories traditionally used to make Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain fragrances

Covid-19: Perfume maker makes free hand sanitisers

Covid-19: Perfume maker makes free hand sanitisers
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At the Parfums Christian Dior plant in France's Saint-Jean de Braye, gleaming vats once reserved for the world’s most exclusive fragrances are now brimming with “gel hydro-alcoolique”.

LVMH, owner of some of the world's largest luxury brands, announced earlier this week that it would begin producing much-needed hand sanitiser at three of its perfume manufacturing facilities - and work has already begun in earnest.

Where workers used to oversee the creation of Christian Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain perfumes, hydro alcoholic gel is now transferred into plaster containers elegantly topped with the Dior logo. LVMH is expecting to produce 12 tonnes of the hydro alcoholic gel in its first week of production, to be delivered free of charge to French health authorities starting this week.

FILE PHOTO: LVMH luxury group Chief Executive Bernard Arnault announces their 2019 results in Paris, France, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann -/File Photo
LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault. Reuters

At the behest of Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, the luxury conglomerate is responding to a shortage of hand sanitiser in its native France, where many pharmacies are restricting clients to one small bottle each.

“The cosmetics factories are very similar to pharmaceutical factories,” explains Marc-Antoine Jamet, general secretary of LVMH. "Sometimes they have the same [ingredients]; that’s why we have diverted our production lines into this gel production. We were told that perhaps hand sanitisers will be at risk of shortage in Paris hospitals and elsewhere.”

After extensive consultations with the relevant authorities, LVMH worked with specialist laboratories and pharmacists to develop an appropriate formula “to ensure that our product was anti-virus and anti-bacterial, for the safety of public health,” Jamet explains. Production started on Sunday, March 15.

“Mr Arnaud said that this free patronage will be done in the time and quantity required for Paris hospitals," Jamet continues. "Mr Arnaud had the pleasure to show LVMH’s solidarity, especially in his involvement to combat the epidemic."

"Teams have worked this weekend to adjust to the [new] operating, manufacturing and conditioning modes… All the team is extremely proud to rise to this challenge,” adds Nicholas Ambolet, industrial director of Parfums Christian Dior.