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Fast-tracking Green Water and Waste

Firmenich set ambitious 2020 goals on water and waste efficiency: we aim to reduce the rate of water use in stressed areas by 25%, cut waste generation rate by 15% and ensure 100% of our manufacturing sites can claim zero waste-to-landfill.

Water Strategy and Performance


As participants in the CDP Water Program in FY17, we were awarded a ranking of Leadership A-, and in our industry activity group (Chemicals), we ranked second out of 35 companies. Our score reflects our positive actions in corporate water stewardship, including our ambitious 2020 water reduction goal and the successful implementation of the Water Access, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program at our manufacturing sites.


The CEO Water Mandate is an initiative supported by committed companies as well as governments and specialized organizations and deals with the problems of water scarcity and sanitation issues. It is designed as a private-public initiative with an emphasis on developing strategies and solutions to contribute positively to the emerging global water crisis.

The signatories of the CEO Water Mandate seek to engage a critical mass of companies from around the world, willing to undertake serious efforts, in partnership with other stakeholders, to address this challenge. Recognizing the positive role that the international business community can play in addressing the water challenge faced by the world today, our Vice-Chairman and former CEO, Patrick Firmenich, was among the first 30 CEO’s worldwide to endorse this initiative.


To reach our ambitious 2020 target, our key focus is on Firmenich manufacturing sites located in areas where water stress is higher, even though these areas rank as only moderately stressed on a global scale. We assess all manufacturing sites annually using the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas and the WWF Water Risk Filter and we prioritize actions at the ten sites with the highest water risk. In FY18, our water consumption in these sites decreased by 5.6% compared to our FY15 baseline. Firmenich’s overall water consumption remained relatively flat compared with FY17. We have a growing project pipeline and expect progress to accelerate by 2020.

We continue to develop innovative water initiatives. As an example, our site in Anaheim, California, has joined the Sustainable Landscapes Project, a collaboration of the CEO Water Mandate and Pacific Institute. The site is looking at ways to mitigate the cycle of drought and floods through landscape design and management.


Water and Forests

Deforestation is responsible for up to 15% of global GHG emissions. Moreover, healthy forests in watersheds can help with filtering water and meet the needs for clean freshwater. This provides all the more reason for investing in deforestation-free activities.

To support sustainable water supplies and foster a deforestation-free supply chain, Firmenich joined the CDP Forests program and scored an A- in 2017. At our Port Newark site in New Jersey, U.S., a team of 60 colleagues planted native shrubs and trees on a tidal bay adjacent to the Firmenich manufacturing site. A well-known biologist, who directs the restoration project, described this local initiative as “vital work that makes a real difference.”

Elimination of Cooling Water in California

Last year, in Anaheim, California, a site targeted for water conservation, we begun to eliminate the use of a single-pass cooling water system and replace it with two different closed-loop cooling systems. We estimate this will reduce total water consumption by 19% based on the 2016 baseline.

Waste Strategy and Performance

As part of our 2020 target to improve our waste efficiency rate by 15%, we reduced our waste sent to landfill by 41% in FY18 (compared with FY15). This has been achieved through process efficiencies and changes, waste recycling and diverting waste streams to incineration for energy recapture.


Reducing Hazardous Waste

In our Port Newark, U.S. manufacturing site, a thorough waste analysis helped us identify possible recycle and resale opportunities. The projects, anticipated to start in 2019, could achieve a 25% decrease in hazardous waste and the transformation of a former waste stream into a new, valuable resource. We will report on this initiative in future years.

Recycling Waste

In FY18, our manufacturing site in Princeton, U.S., recycled approximately 70% of the total waste generated at the facility. For example, empty drums, containers, pallets and cardboard from raw materials used in production are all locally recycled. Only 3% of our total waste goes to landfill and we are on our way to meet our 2020 goal of zero waste to landfill.
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