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2030:
Climate-­positive

climate

Symrise places sustainability at the center of its business strategy throughout the entire value chain and aims to become climate-positive starting in 2030. The road ahead is long and highly complex, as a look into the company’s climate activities demonstrates.

At more than 100 locations worldwide, Symrise requires electricity, gas and steam for production. The individual plants differ tremendously in this respect. Some produce tens of thousands of tons of a substance a year using energy-intensive processes while others mix valuable ingredients in the range of mere kilograms, which requires hardly any energy. The company reviews all processes as part of its climate strategy. The goal: Symrise wants to be climate-positive by 2030. On the path to that goal, Symrise has set an interim target of improving its environmental efficiency in terms of greenhouse gas emissions by 63 % by 2025.

In order to achieve these goals, Symrise has grouped energy consumption based on the scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – that is, according to the three areas of energy consumption defined by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Scope 1 includes energies such as oil, gas and heat that are supplied to the company by energy service providers; Scope 2 includes electricity generated by the company itself or purchased from electricity suppliers; and Scope 3 includes all other emissions that result from raw material extraction, or for example during transport from suppliers and to customers.

“Symrise was one of the first ten companies in Germany to join the Science Based Targets initiative, and it orients itself to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

Scope 1, 2 and 3

In order to meet Scope 1 goals, Symrise has improved energy and process efficiency in many places, for example in the menthols production facilities in Holzminden and in Bushy Park, USA, and also in the Aroma Molecules plants in Colonels Island and Jacksonville in the USA. For Scope 2, Symrise is switching to renewable energies wherever it can. To this end, the company has sourced all its external electricity from renewable sources in Germany since 2018. Symrise had set this same goal for all its sites worldwide to reach by 2025: However, in its effort to combat worsening climate change, the company reached this goal ahead of schedule in 2020. This means Symrise buys certified guarantees of origin which are used for projects such as the construction of a wind power plant on the German-Polish border, thus investing indirectly in the expansion of renewable energies.

Symrise has also begun work on Scope 3, addressing the energy used to produce raw materials and for plant logistics. Raw material purchasing accounts for nearly half of sales at Symrise and CO2 emissions from raw material production are responsible for about 92 % of Scope 3. Symrise has therefore asked suppliers to define their own energy and climate goals. The company has now achieved 87 % of these goals and saved more than 3 million tons of CO2 in 2020 through collaborative effort within the flavor and fragrance industry.

landschaft

Well compensated

In some places, certain greenhouse gases cannot yet be reduced. Symrise compensates for these through climate certificates. These operate on the principle that greenhouse gas emissions which cannot be avoided at the production sites are at least averted elsewhere in the world. When it does, the company takes great care to only purchase certificates that make a difference where Symrise operates. This has two advantages: The projects can be better reviewed, and the employees and residents in the region directly benefit from the measures.

In Brazil, for example, Symrise obtains the certificates from the Jari Foundation, which supports a project on sustainable forest management in the Amazon rainforest. This reduces the clearing of forests, which are gaining importance worldwide for their CO2 storage in the form of biomass. The project saves a total of 115,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually. In Madagascar, on the other hand, Symrise supports the Ankeniheny-Zahamena Corridor project with the certificates. This project protects the complex ecosystem of the island. Logging for export, for charcoal production, or for slash-and-burn clearance of agricultural land causes the forests to disappear. The project counters the poverty-related causes of deforestation and provides communities with financial support.

Constant review

Symrise allows its commitment to be certified by various organizations and simultaneously participates in relevant initiatives. For example, the Group committed very early on — and was the 61st company worldwide to do so — to having its progress toward sustainability scientifically confirmed. Symrise was one of the first ten companies in Germany to join the Science Based Targets initiative, and it orients itself to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Moreover, its commitment in the four areas of environmental protection, employees and society, raw material sourcing and sustainable innovations, as well as the associated non-financial indicators, must be certified annually as required by law.

In 2020, Symrise also received top marks from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in the three categories of water, forest and climate, making it one of ten of the 9,600 companies reviewed by the non-governmental organization worldwide — and the only one in Germany. Symrise is also involved with 34 other organizations, about half of them from the field of business, in the Initiative for Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains. This encourages companies to observe binding due diligence obligations and to create more sustainable material and goods flows. Symrise welcomes the latest political developments in this area.

Of ideas
big & small

bernhard-kott
Bernhard Kott is Senior Vice President Corporate Communications and, since January 2020, also Chief Sustainability Officer at Symrise.

Chief Sustainability Officer Bernhard Kott explains in an interview what sustainability objectives Symrise is pursuing and describes how the path to achieving them only works through shared commitment on all levels of the company.

Mr. Kott, if a company wants to operate sustainably, it must not only announce goals, but also anchor them in the company. How do you do that at Symrise?

To involve the entire workforce, we have introduced an ambassador system that serves as an addition to our Sustainability Board and our sustainability officers in all divisions. The global ambassador network, in which more than 120 employees are now active, brings many big and small ideas to our company and to the communities around our sites. In 2020, we held many video conferences within the network, each with dozens of participants, which we used to transfer know­ledge between business units.

Can you give an example of this?

Symrise is currently tackling the issue of waste prevention on a tremendous scale. For example, we will largely ban single-use plastic from the company by mid-2021 and use only sustainable materials by 2025. We will also write these goals into our Sustainability Record so that they are traceable and verifiable. We made enormous progress on plastics last year, and many approaches to this came directly from the business units.

What has changed specifically?

Our employees constantly test new products such as flavor solutions or purees and powders that we make from vegetables and fruit. Previously, they always used plastic cups or spoons for this purpose. We have now launched very successful projects around the world. In Holzminden, for example, employees now use compostable paper cups instead of 400,000 plastic cups annually. In Brazil, nearly 700,000 plastic cups are saved annually, and in France, 20,000 plastic spoons have been replaced with reusable ones. And in Indonesia, employees use their own cups to reduce the number of plastic bottles. These are just a few of the projects, which incidentally were driven both from above – i.e., by Group-wide or site-wide decisions – and from below, by individual employees. Another project ensures that we use more sustainable packaging such as paper bags instead of plastic bags, or large barrels instead of small canisters. This is only possible in collaboration with our suppliers and customers.

From the small to the big, what goals are at the core of the sustainability agenda at Symrise?

We want to continuously improve our ESG (environmental, social, governance) performance over the long term. There are many examples of this, which we also see here in the Corporate Report. For us, preserving biodiversity is at the top of the list. We use an enormous amount of raw materials from nature and rely on backward integration. 90 % of our procurement volume will be derived from verified sustainable sources by 2025 and our strategic raw materials will become fully traceable. We have been committed to this for years, also directly in the countries of origin.

At the same time, you’re growing, which also leads to increased CO2 emissions.

In fact, we are growing very dynamically, especially in the emerging markets with rising incomes. Thatʼs why we are putting in double the effort. We need to offset the impact of rising sales while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions in our value chain. In order to accomplish this, we ensure consistently increasing levels of energy efficiency in our production facilities. Our goal of being climate-positive by 2030 is absolutely realistic and achievable.

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