Firmenich awarded for sustainable credentials

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

Firmenich awarded for sustainable credentials

Related tags: Sustainability

Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, vice president of sustainability partnerships at global flavour firm Firmenich has won “Head of Sustainability” at the Ethical Corporation's Responsible Business Awards.

At the ceremony held in London last week, Zara Maung, editor of Ethical Corporation magazine who sat on the panel of judges, said the judges wanted to recognise Magarinos-Ruchat as a sustainability leader who had advocated and implemented private-public partnerships to drive sustainable development.

“Whilst working both in the public and private sector, Bérangère has devoted her entire career to driving sustainability change on a number of environmental and social issues and this award was in recognition for her work. (…) As well as effecting sustainability solutions within Firmenich's own supply chain, Bérangère has also utilised Firmenich's resources in a broader sustainable development capacity,” ​Maung said.

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Upon collecting the award, Magarinos-Ruchat said sustainability should be embedded into a company’s core business. "Throughout my career, I have worked with public and private organizations who understand that sustainability is not a trend, but a way to do business with a long-term focus.”

From 2004 to 2010 Magarinos-Ruchat worked for Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition where she created the GAIN Business Alliance, a network of food and drinks companies, including Coca-Cola, Cargill and GlaxoSmithKline. The Business Alliance was later disbanded as GAIN sought NGO status. In 2010 she joined Firmenich's Sustainability Partnerships.

Maung said Ethical Corporation had particualraly wanted to acknowledge Magarinos-Ruchat's work with the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), a business-led coalition of companies, government agencies, sanitation experts and NGOs looking for sustainable solutions to the sanitation crisis. "The first projects featuring Firmenich technology in the Philippines, India and Ghana have a potential of reaching many thousands of people,"​ she told FoodNavigator.

David Shipman, group vice president, corporate compliance and sustainability at Firmenich said: “The company has been a thought leader in all pillars of sustainability, not only reducing its environmental footprint but also generating positive social impact in areas ranging from hygiene and sanitation to health and nutrition”. 

Swiss-based Firmenich is the largest privately-owned company in the fragrance and flavour sector. In 2014 it became a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade, which required it implement a biodiversity management system to source its plant materials.

In 2013 it began to commercialise vanilla from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms in Madagascar, which it said meant the three components of sustainability – environmental protection, social equity and economic viability – would be met in its production of vanilla. 

Ethical Corporation said the award ceremony was important in inspiring businesses to follow leaders in sustainability efforts. Other judges included Aris Vrettos from the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership and Richard Anstead from the Fairtrade Foundation.

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