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The
farmers
in focus

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Good corporate governance/ClimaTe/society

In a globalized world based on communication and cooperation, a company can only be as good as its partners. At Symrise, these primarily include – in addition to the customers themselves – the suppliers. This is because the provider of fragrance, flavoring and functional ingredients sources around 10,000 different raw materials worldwide.

The supply chain is extensive and often begins with small-scale farmers on all continents, from Brazil to Morocco and Indonesia. Farmers and their families make up one third of the world’s population and together produce around 70 % of all food. Symrise supports tens of thousands of them with different measures. These include the artisan programs, which support sustainable raw material cultivation in countries such as Italy and Egypt. The focus is also on the “Bridging the Gap” activities – learning partnerships between suppliers, farmers, Symrise and its customers. This is one way in which the company commits to the important Sustainable Development Goal No. 17 set by the United Nations: To operate sustainably alongside strong partners.

In these holistic partnerships, environmentally sustainable agricultural practices are taught and financial investments made to support better living and working conditions. All the projects can only be carried out through partnerships, which is why Symrise, together with its partners, will invest € 16 million over the next four years in the “Bridging the Gap” measures alone. Only in this way can the Group achieve an important goal: Purchasing raw materials of excellent quality that are produced in a sustainable manner, traceable, and reliable in the long term. The three examples that follow are illustrative of the many sustainable supply partnerships we are working on.

Bananas

Nutrition Segment

Bridging the Gap In Ecuador, specifically in Pasaje in the southwest of the country, Diana Food produces purees, flakes and powder from bananas. The factory only processes fruits that are not suitable for the fresh fruit market because of small spots, their size or – particularly important for bananas – because of a wrong curvature. The process is sustainable at all levels. A challenge at the moment, however, are the peels that are left over after processing. So far, the approximately 22,000 tons have been composted and then used as fertilizer. A small portion is also used for food supplements. These are good solutions, but there is still room for improvement. Diana Food is evaluating the possibility of methanizing the peels to produce biogas. In addition, similar projects will be implemented with several communities in the region that will benefit the farmers again.

In addition, Diana Food has entered into a close partnership on the topic of bananas with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). Together, they are exploring the possibility of launching an experimental platform involving one of the world’s leading specialists in sustainable tropical agriculture and key players in banana production.

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Mint

Oral Care Division and Flavor Segment

Bridging the Gap Mint is one of the key flavors for oral care products and chewing gum – and one of the top-selling products for Symrise. Since the 1970s, the company has been one of the first and largest producers of synthetic menthol, along with flavorings derived from the various types of mint around the world. In India, for example, more than 750,000 small-scale farmers grow around 80 % of the world’s supply of Mentha arvensis mint. There, Symrise is working closely with Mars, GIZ – the German Society for International Cooperation – and the training NGO Tanager on a “Bridging the Gap” project to support 25,000 mint farmers in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The three-year project aims to improve sustainability in the mint supply chain and help farmers optimize their farm management in a sustainable way. Professionalized structures will allow farmers to increase productivity, reduce water consumption and improve their overall income. In addition, self-help groups are designed to empower women with regard to their rights and increase economic participation opportunities.

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Jasmine

Scent & Care Segment

Artisan Program In the fertile, silty soil under the warm sun of the Nile Delta in Egypt grows jasmine, one of the world’s most important, charismatic and ancient natural substances for perfumery. From one ton of individually hand-picked flowers (about six million), the farms there produce 1.5 kilograms of jasmine absolute – a material whose richness and intensity inspire perfumers to make magnificent creations and give them multiple olfactory facets. One of the most important manufacturers of these absolutes, as well as of concretès and recently also oils from distillation, is the company A. Fakhry & Co., which has been active in the industry since 1955 and has long cooperated with the Scent & Care and Flavor segments of Symrise. The quality of the product is naturally an important reason for working together, but Symrise also values the supplier’s commitment.

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For example, Fakhry established the Fakhry Aid Foundation, which benefits about 25,000 jasmine farmers and pickers as well as their families. The organization funds teachers for schools and organizes extracurricular activities. There is also a broad-based awareness campaign on health issues directly and indirectly related to jasmine. The farmers learn how to use environmentally friendly pesticides and improve their agriculture. They are also taught about better nutrition. Finally, the Fakhry Aid Foundation facilitates access to health care, supports employees through interest-free microfinancing and seeks to empower women by organizing discussion groups where they can talk about their health, family life, or access to education and work.

Bridging the generation gap

In many countries around the world, the same problem can be observed in small-scale agriculture: Sons and daughters do not want to take over their parents’ farms, and parents want a less arduous life and a better education for their children. Because of that, bottlenecks for some types of fruit and vegetables are already being projected. This challenge is a focus of the first “Bridging the Gap” initiative that Symrise launched with many partners in several countries such as Brazil and Madagascar. The initiative continues to develop cultivation and harvesting methods, increases incomes and helps communities develop positive strategies in order to make agriculture attractive for young people again.

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