Environment and Resources The Firmenich Ingredients Index

Firmenich is seeking to encourage and lead in the development of industry standards for the life cycle assessment of synthetic and natural flavor and fragrance ingredients and compounds.


The Firmenich Ingredients Index is a pragmatic method of modeling, measuring and reporting a range of important environmental indicators associated with the sourcing, manufacturing use and disposal of fragrance and flavor ingredients. It helps identify which life cycle stages and impact areas are most important, and allows different ingredient scores to be compared. An index score of “1” means that the production of one metric ton of the ingredient has the same impact on the environment as an average global citizen in one year.

The Index is already been used internally to help production and supply chain managers understand which materials have the greatest impacts and to identify where in the life-cycle of each ingredient the critical impacts occur. Data collected for the index was also used to respond to customer inquiries about the carbon footprint of certain ingredients. It is intended that the index will be used to:
• Respond to customer queries regarding ingredient and compound environmental performance
• Assist perfumers and flavorists in the creation and development of sustainable formulae
• Set targets to reduce the impacts of ingredients
• Compare environmental performance of similar ingredients from different suppliers
• Help customers better understand their final products


We met our goal set in 2010 to calculate Index values for 400 key ingredients.

In addition to evaluating Index values for 101 ingredients manufactured by Firmenich, we have engaged 28 external suppliers and successfully assessed Index values for 145 externally sourced ingredients. The use of primary data from suppliers (e.g. actual emission and resource data), rather than secondary data makes our results more relevant when compared with approaches adopted by other companies.

We have also calculated Index values for 167 ingredients using proxy data (based on data collected from other similar ingredients). In total we have now evaluated 413 Index values for 400 unique ingredients representing approximately 93% (by volume) of a typical Firmenich perfumery compound.

Last year, we aligned and standardized data collection between Firmenich ingredients sites, reevaluated much of our previous work and updated data and calculations for some impact categories. We also added calculations of climate change impacts associated with non-biogenic carbon compound.

The Index data also reveal that:
• Climate change and environmental toxicity are, on average, the highest contributors to the impact of the ingredients assessed
• All three stages of the ingredient life cycle included in the index calculation (sourcing, onsite production, and use and disposal) contribute significantly to the final score
• Ingredients which require significant quantities of raw materials or which require a lot of energy to produce have high index scores

The Index is helping us better articulate the sustainability benefits of improved efficiency in our ingredient manufacturing processes (for example, recycling of solvents and waste streams), and strengthen our partnerships with participating suppliers, some of whom are now considering using this index to improve their products.

In FY16, we shared the Index with many of our clients via a short video explaining its purpose to increase transparency on the impact of our ingredients. The Firmenich Ingredients Index was also the subject of a sustainability case study by Prof. Paolo Taticchi from Imperial College London, England.

In the coming years we will continue to use and present our Ingredients Index data to evaluate and compare the sustainability performance of different formulations; to respond to customers regarding the sustainability of their individual formulations; and to work with suppliers to improve their ingredient scores.
Developed in partnership with Quantis, experts in life-cycle assessment, the index was first introduced by Firmenich in 2011.
The index is based on quantified data of three key environmental indicator categories: climate change, water depletion and potential environmental toxicity. Three key ingredient life-cycle stages are taken into account:
1. Sourcing and transportation of the ingredient's raw materials
2. On-site synthesis of the ingredient (where impacts would arise from water and energy consumption and waste generation)
3. Product use and disposal ("gate to grave")
These impact category and life-cycle data are aggregated and normalized to express the final index score in terms of the impacts generated by an average global citizen over a period of one year.

And index score of "1" means that the production of one ton of the ingredient has the same impact on the environment as an average global citizen in one year.
The Firmenich Ingredients Index
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