Certified organic essential oils are derived from plants that have been grown without the use of man-made fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides - instead using ecosystem management methods to maintain the health of both plant and soil. There are no inputs such as genetic modification or irradiation. The benefits of organic agriculture include no pollution of the local air or groundwater and no toxic chemicals in the plant or its essential oil, while maintaining the viability of the local environment. International standards are set by IFOAM (the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), which also accredits many certifying bodies, for example the Soil Association or French Ecocert.
Wild crafted essential oils are derived from plants that are not cultivated, but are gathered from their natural, wild habitat. Although they are not organic, they will not have been contaminated by synthetic chemicals (pesticides, fertilisers, etc.) and will be growing in conditions favourable to the health of the plant. When wild crafting is done sustainably, a plan for harvesting must show that the harvest will sustain the wild crop.
This denotes sustainable cultivation. An ethically harvested essential oil is derived from a herb, shrub or tree that is not harvested so aggressively that the species becomes depleted. As far as aromatic plants are concerned, species depletion is only rarely a problem with herbs (which are mostly easy to grow in quantity) but tends to be more of an issue with slow-growing trees.