Firmenich: Environmental and social impact valuation study

In 2015, Firmenich undertook an environmental and social impact valuation study to better understand our impact on the planet, on the communities where we operate and on our customers.

It was one of the first assessments of this kind in the flavor and fragrance industry. We wanted to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of our value creation to inform our future sustainability strategy. Our analysis modeled environmental and social impacts of our products. This included activities such as water consumption, energy and waste generation.

We also conducted a social valuation analysis which covered three areas: health and safety initiatives at our sites, health benefits of our products designed to help customers lower sugar levels in their products, and enhanced farmers’ livelihoods through our responsible sourcing of Haitian vetiver. Collaborating with local vetiver-farming communities has been a core priority for us for many years, including our support to building a local school in 2013.  

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • Yes
Impact drivers assessed
  • Fresh water ecosystem use e.g. wetlands, ponds, rivers
  • GHG emissions e.g. volume of CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs and PFCs etc.
  • Impact on biodiversity e.g. impact on species, ecosystems, habitats or genetic diversity
  • Marine ecosystem use e.g. area of aquaculture by type
  • Non-GHG air pollutants e.g. PM2.5, PM10, VOCs, NO, NO2, SO2, CO, etc.
  • Other resource use e.g. volume of minerals extracted, volume of wild fish caught by species
  • Soil pollutants e.g. volume of waste matter discharges and retained in soil over a given period
  • Solid waste e.g. volume of waste by classification, materials constituents or disposal method
  • Terrestrial ecosystem use e.g. area of agriculture by type, area of forest plantation by type
  • Water pollutants e.g. volume discharged to receiving water body
  • Water use e.g. volume of ground- or surface water consumed
Organizational Focus
  • Corporate
  • Project
  • Product
Valuation Type
  • Monetary
  • Value to society
Geographical Scope
  • GLOBAL
  • Haiti
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
  • Upstream
  • Downstream
Sectors
  • Chemicals

Key findings

Our findings confirmed that the environmental impact of raw material sourcing was higher than manufacturing. Climate change and water withdrawal are our most important impact parameters. This validated the conclusions of the ongoing analysis of our GHG emissions and our Sustainability Index. Based on this finding, we continue to work on minimizing the environmental impact of our manufacturing and sourcing activities.

We could also conclude that the positive values derived from our social activities are significant. The largest positive social values were achieved through the sale of products designed to help lower sugar in consumer products and through our responsible sourcing of vetiver in Haiti.

We continue to refine our model and our understanding of the economic value associated with our environmental and social impacts and take part in the wider debate of how such impacts should be measured and valued.