Symrise follows a policy of increasingly purchasing raw materials from renewable sources.
By carrying out sustainability audits and encouraging compliance along the supply chain, Symrise also enforces – for example – that suppliers do not use child labour and that safety programmes and environmental management schemes are in place.
Suppliers are assessed regularly and have to complete questionnaires that provide detailed legal, microbiological and analytical information that is reviewed before any raw material is approved. Audits are also carried out that focus on social responsibility, environmental protection and quality management.
Should suppliers fail to live up to the standards of the audit, Symrise will help them develop corrective measures or stop doing business with them.
“We aim to develop sustainable, high-quality products based on natural raw materials and we are continuing to expand our policy of procuring raw materials locally – where they are used – and applying a backward integration strategy for key raw materials,” says Symrise’s 2010 CSR report Perspectives.
The benefits of this are obvious: supply is stabilised; quality and traceability are monitored; local socioeconomic structures are supported and transportation costs and emissions reduced.
Backward integration also allows the company to influence important factors such as the use of fertilisers and the timing of harvests.
Symrise sources its Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, an island where small-scale farming is under threat and millions live below the poverty line.
The company is committed to sourcing the vanilla responsibly by reconciling nature conservation with social commitment. Within the Symrise Responsible Sourcing model, vanilla pods are sourced directly from more than 6,000 small-scale farmers and their cooperatives.
By avoiding middlemen and working directly with farmers, Symrise improves their standard of living by providing a guaranteed income for harvests on a long-term basis. The other major benefit is that quality can be guaranteed through first-hand information, selection and purchasing.
Since 2010, the company has been working with a non-profit organisation called Fanamby – a Malagasy word for challenge – to improve rural standards of living and preserve biodiversity. Fanamby helps farmers to form cooperatives and trains them to improve the quality – and value – of their products.
For example by producing high quality organic vanilla that is Fair Trade certified, Fanamby can realise higher prices with a third of the money going to farmers, another third to community projects and the balance to environmental conservation.
“This is a genuine win-win for everyone,” says Symrise’s Global Competence Director Vanilla, Oliver Nembach. “ A reliable source of income is provided to farmers and their families. Urgently needed infrastructure can be built and natural resources protected. We can also pass on our expertise directly to suppliers and receive truly sustainable premium vanilla in return.”
Symrise has formed a partnership with the German Association for International Cooperation and devloPPP to create a model that “goes beyond Fair Trade certification”. The model aims to create better living conditions for farmers, promote education and protect traditional processes. Symrise is working on surveys to analyse farmers’ conditions with the aim of providing sustainable and fair pricing models.
• Symrise has supported the building of two new schools in China following the earthquake that devastated Sichuan Province in 2008. The company worked with Procter & Gamble and the non-governmental China Youth and Development Fund to build the schools.
• Symrise supports the ErlebnisWald Solling Park, which was created to educate visitors about the forest eco-system and its importance to climate protection. The company symbolically adopted two of the park’s wild cherry trees in 2010.
• Symrise joined forces with environmental groups to restore the Durre Holzminde Creek in 2010. The company made land available for redirecting the stream and covered a portion of the project’s costs.
• Symrise supports the Naschgarten in Holzminden, a kids project set up to promote healthy eating. In 2010 a Naschgarten marathon was held for the first time with money raised from the event dedicated to the continued development of the garden.
For further information visit www.symrise.com