Sustainability is an integral component of the Symrise business model and corporate strategy. Our business activity is ultimately based on the responsible use and thus the preservation of natural resources and natural diversity.
Our business processes follow the principles of the circular economy to a wide extent. We bundle the aspects of sustainability that are relevant to Symrise into the four pillars of environmental protection (Footprint), sustainable innovation (Innovation), raw material sourcing (Sourcing) and employees and society (Care). Concrete goals to be reached by 2025 have been established for each pillar (see 2020 Track Record and 2025 Goals). These are directly related to our key topics and are derived from a number of programs including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our business model uses this comprehensive approach to combine economic success with sustainable governance and social acceptance.
At Symrise, sustainability is the business of all employees. Everyone is called upon to constantly monitor the work processes in their own field of activity and responsibility for efficiency, safety and resource conservation, and to develop ideas for improvement. For example, we started an initiative in late 2020 that is geared toward avoiding the use of plastic materials in the company to the greatest extent possible. Symrise will discontinue the use of all disposable plastic containers in 2021 and the Group will use exclusively sustainable packaging materials by 2025. A global network of more than 120 Sustainability Ambassadors promotes targeted initiatives on energy and waste management, climate, water and environmental protection, and occupational health and safety at the corporate locations. Managers are responsible for operationalizing sustainability in their teams and laying out clear goals. Sustainability objectives are also a component of individual goals for all senior executives including the members of the Executive Board. This advances our sustainability approach consistently in all divisions. The global, cross-business Symrise Sustainability Board manages integration of our sustainability principles into the core processes: Under the chairmanship of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), division and staff department management representatives come together multiple times per year to ensure that sustainability-related topics and the concerns of our important stakeholder groups are considered along the entire value chain. The Sustainability Board sets sustainability objectives, which are directly implemented in the respective divisions. The Executive Board and the Sustainability Board have appointed sustainability officers for the Flavor, Nutrition and Scent & Care business segments as well as one representative each for the staff departments of Human Resources, Finance /Investor Relations, Corporate Communications and Corporate Sustainability. Direct responsibility for strategy lies with the Chief Executive Officer of Symrise AG, who receives regular reports on the progress of all sustainability activities.
Symrise receives a great deal of external recognition for its commitment to sustainability. For instance, we have already been presented with the German Sustainability Award twice; in addition, the German Association for Sustainability named us one of the “Sustainability Heroes” of 2020, and we were one of only 10 companies worldwide to reach Triple A status with CDP in 2020, with a first-class rating in the climate, water and forests categories. We’re proud of this, and it encourages us to intensify our sustainability activities. However, the challenges continue unabated. They include the increasingly negative results of climate change – with its pressure on nature and biodiversity and the responsible use of resources – as well as the serious effects of the global spread of the novel coronavirus. Symrise seeks a dialogue with all relevant stakeholder groups in order to discuss current developments and to meet the needs of various stakeholders regarding sustainable governance. Examples of this are the various WBCSD committees, global representative bodies IFRA and IOFI, and initiatives such as OP2B and the Development and Climate Alliance.
We exchange sustainability information particularly closely with the company’s shareholders, investors, voting proxies and rating agencies. Rating agencies MSCI, Sustainalytics and ISS ESG provide especially high-quality and efficient communication of our ESG performance to investors. Moreover, our sustainability performance is regularly evaluated by internationally recognized institutions such as CDP, EcoVadis and SEDEX. Customers as well as investors are interested in the continued development of our sustainability reporting, which will increase the transparency of our business processes and allow for better assessment of the opportunities and risks inherent to our business activities.
Symrise has been part of the ETHIBEL EXCELLENCE Investment Register for more than eight years; this distinction was confirmed again in May 2020. The index tracks the shares of companies that achieve above average performance in their sector in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It serves as a compass for institutional investors who place value on sustainable investments.
In its regular review of the sustainability performance of Symrise, the international rating agency ISS ESG confirmed our company’s prime status. Compared with the 169 other companies from the industry that were evaluated, Symrise is in the top 10 %. The ESG rating from ISS – E for environmental, S for social, G for governance – covers nearly 10,000 companies globally, the majority of which are listed.
The international rating agency SUSTAINALYTICS continuously analyzes and evaluates companies’ risks in the areas of ESG. A number of financial service providers and institutional investors across Europe use the services of the agency as a basis for decisions related to investment and credit. Out of 133 evaluated companies in the chemical industry, the risk profile of Symrise ranks 20th. 19 companies have a lower ESG risk profile; 113 have a higher one. Compared with 2019, the risk assessment of Symrise in 2020 fell by 2.9 points to an index score of 24.5, in large part because the company combated major risks with successful strategies.
The US-based company MSCI is a leading sustainability rating agency and provider of highly respected sustainability share indices. Since 2015, MSCI has ranked Symrise in the “A” category, which attests to its above-average sustainability performance. In its analysis, MSCI highlights that Symrise has an impressive strategy to minimize the effects of its operating activities on the environment.
The Symrise share has been included in the FTSE4Good Index since the end of 2015. This index comprises the securities of companies that achieve outstanding results in the areas of the environment, social aspects and corporate governance (ESG). At the regular audit in June 2020, Symrise received very good ratings in all categories and has been included in the index for another year. More and more institutional investors, banks and insurance companies are including sustainability criteria in their assessment of the creditworthiness of companies. Membership in the FTSE4Good Index is thus extremely important for the standing of Symrise on the capital market.
For the seventh time in a row, the rating agency “EcoVadis” awarded Symrise its coveted Gold status for proven sustainability. EcoVadis assesses companies worldwide in the four areas of environment, social aspects, ethics and sustainability in the supply chain. Symrise belongs to the top 2 % of all companies in the chemical sector. In addition, we use the EcoVadis databank to evaluate the sustainability performance of our suppliers. In line with our Responsible Sourcing Policy, we challenge our business partners who have been placed in the “Bronze” category by EcoVadis to strive for Gold status. If a supplier receives a classification below the Bronze category, this could lead to termination of the business relationship.
At an online conference in early November 2020, the German Society for Sustainability (DQS) honored eight companies for their pioneering role in sustainability. Symrise is one of the recipients of the “Sustainability Heroes Awards 2020”. In its justification for awarding the prize to our company, the jury emphasized that Symrise has firmly integrated sustainability into its strategy and culture and is committed to sustainable development for all stakeholders across the entire value chain.
Fighting climate change, protecting the water supply and conserving forests – every year, the renowned non-profit organization CDP (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) assesses which companies have been especially impressive in these three categories. In 2020, Symrise achieved the best possible result in all three categories: a spot on the A list. Of the 9,600 that voluntarily took part in the assessment, we are one of the top 10 companies in the world – and the first and only German company to achieve that status.
It is important to take climate protection measures starting in the supply chains. In 2020, the non-governmental organization CDP recognized the efforts of Symrise in this direction by including it on the CDP Supplier Engagement Leaderboard (SER) for the first time. This puts Symrise in the top 7 % of all companies evaluated by CDP worldwide. For four years now, Symrise has been asking its suppliers to participate in the CDP Supply Chain Program with their own climate protection goals and measures. The result: As of 2020, 87 % of suppliers have committed to their own climate protection efforts.
The business activities of Symrise will contribute to preventing or sequestering more greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere than we produce through our operating activities.Read more >
The power of holistic action: In 2020, Symrise put the stability of its business model and resilience in times of crisis to the test amid a difficult environment.Read more >
Increasing the value of the company and solidifying its future prospects are the key pillars that define our strategy at Symrise. For us, economic success and sustainability go hand in hand.Read more >
Symrise products provide exciting flavor and fragrance experiences, improve food characteristics, and contribute to the health and well-being of consumers in more than 150 countries around the world.Read more >
At Symrise, shared values form the basis for shared goals: We strive for economic success and, at the same time, embrace our responsibility to the environment, our employees and society.Read more >