Our Sustainability programme is based on a five-pillar strategy that extends across the full life cycle of our business: ranging from raw material sourcing and the supply chain to product creation and our employees, our customers and the consumers.
As the world's largest buyer of raw materials in the flavour and fragrance industry, we have an ethical and commercial responsibility in the supply chains in which we operate. Using over 14,000 different ingredients in our flavour and fragrance products from more than 50 countries, it is critical that we have a deep understanding of our raw materials supply chains.
We source nearly 200 natural perfumery materials. Our Innovative Naturals programme brings together strands that not only reinforce the sustainability of our business – they enrich the palettes of our perfumers. We combine a programme of ethical sourcing and sustainable development with a drive to find the purest natural ingredients for inclusion in our Orpur® range, a special collection of more than 50 ingredients that are the jewels in our naturals portfolio.
Our first pioneering initiative aimed at achieving these objectives was in Australia. Since 2001 we have preferred to use Australian sandalwood due to the deforestation and quality issues that threaten Indian sandalwood. In June 2007, we signed a partnership agreement with Mount Romance, a producer of pure Australian sandalwood oil. This partnership creates a sustainable supply of a specific grade of oil from sandalwood that is harvested by indigenous communities in the southern part of Western Australia.
Since this first initiative we have expanded our sustainable naturals sourcing programme with further initiatives including the sourcing of benzoin from Laos and tonka beans from Venezuela. As part of our five-year strategy we will further expand our sustainable sourcing with a focus on naturals by leveraging this knowledge and heritage.
Flavour example: Madagascar vanilla
Madagascar is the source for almost 80% of the world's vanilla. To ensure a long-term, sustainable Fair Trade supply of vanilla from this island, we are working with the local communities and a local partner to bring greater traceability to this supply chain. As part of this cooperation, we started an initiative to improve the education infrastructure in the areas where vanilla is grown and represents the main sources of income. In addition, our cooperation with a local partner supports the adoption of best practices for harvest and production methods to safeguard the quality of vanilla, which undergoes an elaborate and difficult process until it is used as a key ingredient for flavours and fragrances.
Fragrance example: Comores' ylang ylang
The flower ylang ylang grows on Mohéli, the smallest of the Comores Islands located in the Indian Ocean. Our most recent partnership in sustainable naturals sourcing will secure a special quality of the essential oil derived from this flower, which is known for its floral, radiant and luminous smell, reminiscent of summer. Through the close cooperation with a local supplier we provide technical support and upgraded the distillation equipment, improving the quality of the oil that is ultimately produced. Together with the local communities, we are working to improve the forest management around the ylang ylang plantations, and we have started a programme to plant fast growing trees to fight deforestation in that area.