Sustainable luxury, or positive luxury, emerged 10 years ago with the WWF report, “Deeper Luxury”, by Jem Bendell and Anthony Kleanthous. The report said, “Consumers’ increasing concerns with environmental and social problems are the greatest cultural shift of the 21st century”, and explained how brands must behave to stay aspirational. Since then, many luxury niche brands with sustainability values have emerged in fashion, leisure and lifestyle. Sustainable luxury consumers now fully expect the fine fragrance industry to fulfill their desire for unique, meaningful products with positive social and environmental impacts.
As a sustainability thought leader in the flavor and fragrance industry, Firmenich has been deeply engaged with experts and customers to discuss trends and opportunities. Further to exchanging with customers, experts and think tanks, Firmenich clarified the codes of sustainable luxury, called “Desirable Sustainability”. They include:
. Authenticity and traceability
. Local heritage
. Nature as inspiration
. Respect of ancestral know-how and craftsmanship
. Rare materials
. Unique sensorial experiences
In fiscal year 2015, Firmenich created a cross-functional team of experts in perfumery innovation, naturals purchasing, marketing and communication and sustainability to design and implement a natural, responsible sourcing strategy and action plan. In fiscal year 2014, we further implemented our sustainability strategy by creating a joint venture with Jasmine Concrete Exports PT Ltd., the leader in Indian floral extracts and natural specialties for the fragrance, flavor and cosmetics industries. This partnership enhanced our excellence in sourcing, innovation and production for our fine fragrance customers looking for high quality, responsibly sourced ingredients like jasmine and tuberose. In fiscal year 2015, to advance our sustainability programs, we started a baseline to further assess the local supply chain and enhance the livelihoods of farming communities.
In December 2016, Firmenich signed the Cancun Business and Biodiversity Pledge at the COP13 Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Mexico. Through this pledge, the signatories agree to nurture biodiversity across their ecosystems and preserve it sustainably for the well-being of present and future generations. To further protect biodiversity, we created an internal Nagoya governance mechanism in FY16. In FY17, a crossdivisional biodiversity steering committee – composed of 10 senior executives and supported by a third-party independent expert – completed a comprehensive Nagoya diagnosis, trained Firmenich colleagues, conducted workshops with clients, and started developing a biodiversity management system.