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2020 IN BRIEF

Firmenich recorded 3.9 billion Swiss Francs in net sales in its Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20). Firmenich proved its resilience during FY20 creating value for its stakeholders while navigating the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

FIRMENICH MAIN HIGHLIGHTS OF 2020

We proved our resilience during Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), creating value for our stakeholders while navigating the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We recorded industry-leading profitability, and accelerated our leadership in science and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). The Group recorded CHF 3.9 billion in net sales, growing by +0.1% in Swiss Francs and a +2.8% growth in local currency, compared to the prior year.

Despite the challenging environment, FY20 was a milestone year, consolidating our leadership in renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable ingredients. We expanded our reach with the largest acquisition in our history, Les Derives Resiniques et Terpeniques SA (DRT), a world-leader in pine-based, renewable, and sustainable ingredients. We also concluded other key strategic acquisitions, including acquiring Evonik Industries’ CO2 extraction business, which allows us to expand our capability for the safe, clean, and high-quality extraction of natural botanical molecules from biomass such as flowers, nuts, coffee, and tea. Investing for the future, we entered the financial markets for the first time in our history, successfully raising the equivalent of CHF 2.9 billion in corporate bonds.

FY20 brings our Grow125 strategic cycle to a conclusion. Throughout these four years, we have successfully demonstrated our ability to deliver steady revenue growth, while putting our entrepreneurial spirit to work to build new lines of business and advancing our environmental and social performance.


BUSINESS RESILIENCE GUIDED BY PURPOSE

Guided by our fundamental values and purpose, we showed our resilience in the second half of FY20 as the global health crisis tested our business model, our supply chain, and our people in extraordinary ways. Our first priority remains the health and safety of all our colleagues worldwide, as well as business continuity and ensuring ongoing services and support to our customers and communities.

We successfully implemented extensive health and safety precautions across all our sites, and have remained operational as a provider of essential food and hygiene products. As a family business with a 125-year legacy of responsible business, our immediate action was to help our local communities by donating hand sanitizer to health and emergency services in five countries, including Switzerland.


DIFFERENTIATING THROUGH INNOVATION

Research is our engine of growth, enabled by the highest proportion of investment in R&D in our industry, at an average of 10% of annual revenue. We put our leading science to work to enhance wellbeing and made significant headways in nutrition as well as renewable and sustainable ingredients. Our strong R&D has yielded us over 3,900 active patents.

To improve quality of life through nutrition, Firmenich’s established taste modulation technologies can reduce up to 100% of added sugar naturally. These have enabled us to remove over one trillion calories from consumer food and beverage products. Furthermore, advancing vegan and flexitarian lifestyles, our unique SmartProteins™ solutions improve taste and texture, while matching the succulence of meat proteins in vegetarian and seafood alternatives.

Harnessing our leadership in sustainable ingredients from renewable sources, we launched Dreamwood™, our fourth white biotech ingredient and the first with cosmetic benefits, providing a sustainable alternative to botanical sandalwood oil. Working with our customers to accelerate access to sanitation, in FY20 the first affordable and sustainable toilet cleaning products with our breakthrough malodor control technologies reached consumers in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa.


ACCELERATING ESG LEADERSHIP

In the closing year of our 2015–2020 sustainability strategy, we continued to accelerate our leadership in ESG and enhance our long legacy as a responsible business. Our “Pathways to Positive” strategy closed with strong environmental results and positive developments on the ethics and social fronts. We refreshed our Code of Ethics, relaunched our Human Rights Policy and a new Responsible Sourcing approach – each to reinforce our commitment to doing business the right way. We maintained our industry leadership in safety performance, recording a TRC rate of 0.18, and 24 of our 34 manufacturing plants achieved a full year with zero recordable injuries. And we continued to reinforce our pioneering diversity and inclusion agenda, notably reaching gender parity on our Executive Team.

Driven by ambitious, science-based targets, we became the first company in our industry to power all our operations globally with 100% renewable electricity. As we accelerated our journey towards a carbon-neutral future, we were one of the first companies to join the “Business Ambition for 1.5°C coalition," and we received our second consecutive CDP triple “A” rating for climate change, water security, and forests, one of only six companies worldwide. Our commitment to the most ethical, traceable, and sustainable supply chain was further reinforced by the Platinum rating from EcoVadis. Furthermore, as a company that depends on nature for its most precious ingredients, we became a founding member of the One Planet Business for Biodiversity Coalition (OP2B) to protect and restore biodiversity across our supply chains and product portfolios.

We are committed to continue to lead the industry in ESG performance, and we believe we are well-positioned as we move towards our 2030 sustainability targets.


GUIDED BY OUR VALUES AND THE SDGS

As a committed signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2008, and a UN Global Compact LEAD company since 2019, our actions will continue to be guided by its Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. Furthermore, the SDGs are firmly embedded in our growth strategy, providing scope for our action.

With our unique, 125-year legacy as a responsible business and family company, we were proud to receive the first-ever IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award in recognition of our impact and our journey of continuous improvement. Our approach is anchored in our Fundamentals, which have guided us through our history and continue to signal the path for the future.

As creators of emotions through the senses of taste and smell, touching over four billion people around the world every day, we want to be positive in all senses: for our people, the planet, and society.

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