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Category Scan: Sustainability in Essential oils

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by Beroe Inc.
4 August 2019


Major companies have initiated Sustainability strategies by controlling carbon emission and by-product/waste utilization. Currently, companies engage in sustainability activities by partnering with various stakeholders in the Essential Oils supply chain.

Sustainability initiatives have become an integral part of the Essential Oils supply chain due to high supply risk involved at the farm level.



Sustainability Strategies



  • CRIEPPAM- Symrise partnership: Symrise is funding the French research institute CRIEPPAM in developing the Espieur harvesting machine as part of its sustainability program. This machine is expected to pick only lavender blossoms -- where the scent is concentrated -- instead of stems, thereby saving 30 percent energy during steam distillation, while considerably increasing the quality of lavender essential oil.
  • Scent Expedition: Perfumers were sent to Madagascar to discover sustainable sources of raw materials, find inspiration for new fragrance creations and improve backward integration.
  • M&A: Acquired U.S.-based fragrance manufacturer Belmay Group in 2013 for further growth in fine fragrances, personal care and air care segments.
  • Reducing Carbon Footprint: The company is committed to reducing carbon footprint by 33 percent by 2020 and has a long term goal of 100 percent sustainable sourcing of their strategic raw materials.



  • Innovative Naturals Program: The objective of this program is to ensure long term ingredient supply. Under this, the company has its own collection management team in Indonesia who associate with hundreds of farmers and essential oil distillers to ensure the supply of the highly volatile Patchouli. They also have farming partnerships with GaiaOne and Gaya Naturals in Malaysia to manage Patchouli supply chain.
  • Green Chemistry: The company has made considerable developments in utilizing green chemistry in both research and commercial levels. By acquiring active cosmetic ingredients companies -- Soliance and Induchem -- Givaudan is adding on to its previous work in the field to accelerate use of green chemistry techniques such as biocatalysis.
  • Biodegradability of Perfumes: Extensive research is taking place in understanding fragrances: whether can they can be broken down into CO2 and water so that they can be less harmful to environment. They are also collaborating with Robertet SA to test a group of essential oils called ‘sesquiterpenes’ to understand to what extent they are biodegradable.
  • Sustainable Sourcing of Vanilla: Givaudan has received Nestle’s Responsible Sourcing Award in 2013 for their work in Madagascar Vanilla industry. They have partnered with Henri Fraise Fils to ensure stable supply of vanilla beans and help farmers live a better life.



  • Vanilla Supply Chain: Firmenich has been partnering with its local supplier in Madagascar since 2007. Through this collaborative efforts, the company has been supporting 1,352 members of the farming community by improving vanilla farming, harvesting and curing practices to increase yield and quality, educating farmers and their families, empowering women and fostering crop diversification and environment protection. Firmenich has similar partnerships in Uganda with Danish Government and Uvan Ltd, Uganda’s largest vanilla producer.
  • Vetiver Supply Chain: Firmenich has been engaging with their long time supplier and various local and international organizations to source sustainable vetiver from the Débouchette farming community in Haiti.
  • Jasmine Supply Chain: They also have a joint venture agreement with a leading supplier of extracts of flowers and other naturals, Jasmine Concrete Exports PT Ltd.
  • Patchouli Supply Chain: The company has established two supply chain projects in Java and Sumatra based on floor and fair price scheme so as to protect the Patchouli farmers’ revenue from local and international price volatility to an extent. They have similar Patchouli supply chain in Guatemala as well.
  • Cardamom Supply Chain: Firmenich has exclusive suppliers who have a network of cardamom planters in the area of Cobán, Guatemala.
  • Citrus Supply Chain: They have partnered with farmers’ cooperative -- the SAI Network in Brazil -- to understand the issues faced by farmers and identify improvement areas to optimize the supply chain of oranges. They have also started a project to procure 100 percent of their mandarin requirement for fine fragrances from small holder farmers by 2017.
  • Firmenich also developed a sustainability index for 400 key ingredients.


  • Sandalwood Oil Supply Chain: Sandalwood is native to India and is heavily regulated. The oil produced is most often from wood obtained through illegal deforestation. Therefore, to ensure sustainable sandalwood oil, Santanol, an Australia-based company now overseas 2,100 hectares of sandalwood plantation in Australia and have launched their first cultivated sandalwood oil in 2015.


  • Developed supplier data ethical exchange.
  • Green Chemistry: IFF promotes green chemistry by using tweleve of its principles for creating products with less environmental impact at a lower cost.
  • Sustainable sourcing in vanilla, vetiver, sandal wood oil and geranium oil.
  • Natural Ethics Program: IFF has launched this program in Madagascar to provide pre-financing to farmers so that vanilla beans are harvested at the right time, and to ensure premium prices for beans that achieve Natural Ethics quality specification. The farmers under this program also receive technical assistance focused on good agricultural practices and vanilla curing practices. IFF also has optimized the vanilla extraction process by reducing solvent use, water use and the energy needed to generate heat.
  • Rose Supply Chain: IFF works with 850 farming families in the Isparta region in Turkey. The company also transfers knowledge to farmers to increase yield and quality.
  • Vetiver Supply Chain: IFF has partnered with Unilever and some of the leading non-governmental organizations like Oxfam Great Britain, Ford Foundation etc, to improve the livelihoods of small scale farmers in Haiti along with increasing yields and protecting environment.
  • Sandalwood Supply Chain: Overharvesting has made Indian sandalwood trees an endangered species. Hence, IFF encourages the use of Australian sandalwood or Album oil made using sustainable forestry practices.
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