Sustainability targets more important for flavours and fragrances, Givaudan chair

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Givaudan Material Sustainability

Sustainability is becoming a hotter topic in the flavours and fragrance sector, with customers posing more questions about the supply chain and targets than ever before, says the chair of Givaudan’s sustainability programme.

The world’s biggest flavour and fragrance company published its second annual sustainability report entitled Translating Vision into Action​ last week, using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Reporting Guidelines.

Speaking in general terms about the industry, Joe Fabbri, global head of human resources and chair of the sustainability programme, told that 18 months ago sustainability was a less common topic.

Now more and more customers are asking about targets for improving environmental performance – and a minority are moving beyond checklists to ask deeper questions and request presentations and contacts.

“Clearly the trend is that it is more important,”​ he said, adding that, as head of HR, he has noticed many people come to job interviews with a copy of the sustainability report and ask questions about it.

Givaudan drew up its sustainability strategy in 2008, and dedicated 2009 to articulating and developing it. Last year it turned to executing it across five pillars: Raw materials, employees, innovation and development, operations, customers and markets.

In the earlier strategy phase Givaudan worked with The Natural Step Institute, a consultancy it described last year as a “critical friend”.​ As the company moved towards action, TNSI’s role has become one of “sparring partner and sounding board”.

“We felt TNSI’s contribution was good, but we have to take ownership. It can’t be seen as a consultant-supported project, but needs to be internalised”.​ To this end, the company has developed three layers of implementation: corporate-driven initiatives, eco-efficiency teams in the operations group, and ‘green teams’ at its facilities.

The use of GRI reporting provides a benchmarking for the company’s environmental performance – and while in 2010 it met the requirements for application level C, Fabbri said the aspiration is to move to a GRI-certified B+ level.


The new report sets out Givaudan’s first targets for improving environmental performance. By 2020 it aims to:

Reduce CO2 emissions per tonne of production by 25%

Reduce energy consumption per tonne of production by 20%

Reduce incinerated and landfill waste​per tonne of production by 15%

Reduce municipal and groundwater usage​per tonne of production by 15%

Reduce lost time injury rate to below 0.1 per 200,000 hours worked.

The baseline against which performance will be measured are taken as 2009 levels.

Critical supply chain

In 2011 Givaudan is conducting a risk assessment of its entire sustainability impact, including the perspectives of stakeholders. Fabbri said it thinks about lifecycle analysis of its products in three ‘buckets’: raw materials, compounding of products, and distribution of products.

Raw materials make up about 93% of Givaudan’s carbon footprint at present, of which 2% is transportation to its facilities and the remainder processing.

Around 6% of the impact relates to compounding, and the remaining 1% to transport to customers’ sites.

“The supply chain is critical. That’s really where you perform in this game.”

He added that even though Givaudan’s flavours and fragrances make up only 2 to 4 per cent of the finished product, and the total carbon footprint per kg of product is “probably less than the margin of air”,​ the reduction is still all important.

“That’s material. That’s what the customer wants to know”.

The second part of’s interview with Joe Fabbri on sustainability, focused on raw material supply and partnerships, will be published tomorrow.

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