Sector News

New Firmenich appointment reinforces sustainability strategy

September 4, 2017
Food & Drink

Firmenich has announced the appointment of Dr. Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat as the new Global Head of Sustainability. In this new capacity, she will reinforce Firmenich’s leadership in sustainability. “I firmly believe that business is a force for good and a catalyst for social progress,” says Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich.

“With Bérangère’s expertise and passion for sustainability, I look forward to taking our legacy of responsible business to the next level for the benefit of both present and future generations,” notes Ghostine.

“I am deeply honored to be leading our sustainability agenda, in close collaboration with our key partners to make a positive societal impact,” adds Bérangère. “I would like to acknowledge my colleagues for their high level of engagement as we shape the next chapter of our sustainability journey together.”

Most recently VP Sustainability Partnerships, a position that she held since 2010, Magarinos-Ruchat (pictured) has established numerous strategic collaborations for Firmenich to address key societal challenges such as, Hygiene & Sanitation, Health & Nutrition and Biodiversity. To scale up Firmenich’s impact, she built unique partnerships with like-minded organizations such as The Toilet Board Coalition, Livelihoods Funds and many others.

Furthermore, this year, Magarinos-Ruchat was recognized by the WBCSD’s Leading Women Awards for her leadership in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Also in 2015, she was named Head of Sustainability of the Year by Ethical Corporation.

Health and nutrition is one of the key innovation focus areas for Firmenich. “We focus our innovation efforts to make healthy, nutritious and sustainable diets taste great,” Ghostine told FoodIngredientsFirst.

“For instance this year, we gathered world-renowned chefs with our flavorists, food scientists and experts at our annual culinary event to explore green protein solutions together. Taking this commitment further we joined FReSH, the Food Reform for Sustainability and Health initiative launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.”

“In our business of fragrances and flavors, having access to the most pristine natural ingredients is central to offering the most outstanding taste and smell experiences to our customers.”

“When you consider that it takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to produce 1 kilo of rose essential oil; and 1 million roses to produce the 3.5 tons of rose petals; there is no other option than to harvest them sustainably if you want your business to thrive for generations to come,” explains Ghostine.

“That’s why we invest in long term partnerships with smallholder farmers around the world from Indonesia for patchouli to Madagascar for vanilla, all the way to France for roses or the United States for mint.”

“We actively work with them directly as well as with NGOs and Government partners to ensure their sustainable livelihoods as well as having full respect for their environment and biodiversity,” adds Ghostine.

Firmenich also announced the appointment of Julien Firmenich as Vice President of Ingredients this summer. In this role, which he began on July 1, Julien will lead the Ingredients Business Unit with a focus on breakthrough innovation, creativity and long term value creation.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, he explained: “Today consumers are drawn by the goodness of nature, actively seeking out products that are natural, traceable, sustainable and environmentally-friendly.”

“At Firmenich, we aim to source the most exquisite natural ingredients for our creators and our customers by working hand-in-hand with farmers and producers, while operating the most traceable, sustainable and ethical value chain in the industry from jasmine in India, or cardamom in Guatemala, all the way to vanilla in Madagascar. This is why we have created ‘Naturals Together’ through which we partner with the best naturals producers and support the smallholder farmers around the world growing the natural ingredients that sublime our flavors and fragrance creations. Through Naturals Together we positively impact the lives of 250,000 farmers with the 170 natural ingredients varieties we buy across 40 countries.”

“As part of our 2020 strategy, we want to be our customers’ partner of choice, connected across all levels of their business to enable us to offer them the most innovative and efficient solutions to meet their consumer’s needs. For example, earlier this year we made a significant investment in China, one of the world’s fastest growing markets, with the groundbreaking of our new flavors manufacturing plant.”

He adds: “In the coming years, Firmenich is looking to build capacity and operational excellence in other strategic, high growth markets including, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa. Beyond our organic growth, which has been historically strong for our business, we also seek to advance our excellence through strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. For example, last year Firmenich entered into a joint venture with Essex Laboratories the world’s most renowned producer of natural mint solutions.”

By Elizabeth Green

Source: Food Ingredients First

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