Fragrance and flavour industries show positive results in first sector-wide Sustainability Report

The first collective Sustainability Report by the fragrance and flavour (F&F) industries – published on World Environment Day on 5 June – has showed positive results against a series of commitments made by companies.

The 2020-21 Sustainability Report is published by The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the International Organization of the Flavor Industry (IOFI). It outlines the state of play in five Focus Areas that form part of the IFRA-IOFI Sustainability Charter – a collective commitment to raise the bar across the industries, which was launched in July 2020 and now has 126 signatories. A third of these signatories are from the Asia Pacific region.

Asia-Pacific plays an integral role in the end-to-end global supply chain and research and development (R&D) activities of the fragrance and flavour industries. The Asia Pacific region is a key supplier of raw materials, being the largest producers of mint, cedarwood, patchouli, other spices, and herbs. Extracts of these materials are essential ingredients in the manufacturing process of personal care, hygiene and sanitising products. These products are widely consumed across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for such products maintained good growth driven by the awareness of consumers on the need to maintain hygiene, at a personal level as well as at home, to reduce the chances of infection. Across the value-chain, it is creating new markets and job opportunities, and propelling workforce upskilling, with safe use and sustainability as key considerations as the market grows.

As such, it is heartening that the results show that more than two in every three companies who responded to a survey, representing more than 90% of the F&F market, are already addressing the sustainability challenges outlined in the five Focus Areas:

  • On responsible sourcing, more than 70 % of respondents and the vast majority of the market engage in dialogue with farmers and communities, with most of the market having advanced human rights, labour standards and biodiversity action plans.
  • The environmental footprint of the F&F industries is relatively small with three in four respondents, and more than 90% of the market, having a global environmental strategy, implementing eco-design measures and acting to reduce consumption and waste.
  • On employee well-being, the F&F industries show high standards on employee well-being and offering a rewarding labour environment, including equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion, and training. The vast majority of the industries’ employees benefit from this high standard.
  • On product safety, the F&F industries are at the leading edge, and the results show more than 90% of respondents engaging in dialogue with downstream customers on product stewardship.
  • On transparency and partnerships, more than three in four respondents have a global responsive governance strategy in place, including all the largest companies.

Launching the report, Sven Ballschmiede, executive director of IOFI, said: “The results in the report show a high level of maturity in the industries on sustainability across all five Focus Areas. It has been a long, collective effort to develop the Charter but the results in this report show we are in a good place as the F&F industries.

“We will continue to support companies and work collectively to deliver the tools and partnerships for progress in upcoming reports.”

Martina Bianchini, president of IFRA, added: “Sustainability is an imperative for all industries, and not least the F&F industries, which are rooted in nature. With the publication of this Sustainability Report, we have reached a significant milestone on our sustainability journey – but our work goes on to expand uptake of the Charter, raise awareness, and work with customers, partners and stakeholders to design the safe and sustainable products of the future.”

The results in the 2020-21 Report will form the baseline for future reports, allowing the industries to track progress. The Report also highlights a series of collective actions taken since the launch of the Charter 11 months ago, as well as partnerships and initiatives undertaken by IFRA and IOFI on behalf of the industries.

The Charter continues to be open to signatories from fragrance and flavour companies around the world. Signatories will provide data on progress in 2021 ahead of the publication of the next report in mid-2022.