Firmenich Signs Innovative Vanilla Partnership with Authentic Products in Madagascar, to Take Traceability & Youth Employment to Next Level
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 28 2020 - Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned perfume and taste company, has signed an innovative partnership to further strengthen its responsible sourcing of vanilla with Authentic Products, one of the world’s leading producers in Madagascar and a founding member of Group’s NaturalsTogether™ initiative created in 2014. Building on the two companies’ commitment to the most sustainable, ethical and traceable value chain, this ambitious agreement includes a new digital traceability program and the joint construction of an agricultural training facility, offering teenagers from Madagascan vanilla-growing families a unique opportunity to improve their livelihoods.
“Firmenich has been working with smallholder farming communities in Madagascar for many years to support their sustainable livelihoods by driving the most sustainable, ethical and traceable value chain,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO Firmenich. “With Authentic Products, Firmenich has developed a leading sustainable business model with the objective of registering 10,000 farmers in our traceability program by 2025, as well as offering educational opportunities of unprecedented scale for local youth at our remarkable training center in Mahadera.”
“Taking our commitment to the next level, this partnership is the outcome of a more than a decade-long relationship based on mutual trust between Firmenich and Authentic Products,” added Boet Brinkgreve, President of Ingredients. “Together we are innovating for the benefit of farmers who produce this exceptional product, while strengthening our vanilla value chain from plants to extracts.”
“We share the same values of ethics and integrity with Firmenich’s teams. Our joint effort helps us make significant improvements for the communities who earn a living by growing vanilla,” said Gigi Chan Hoi Mi, CEO of Authentic Products Madagascar. “This partnership acknowledges the quality of work done over the years and encourages us to set even more ambitious goals going forward. It demonstrates that trusted relationships between producers and customers can have a really positive impact over time.”
The partnership strengthens Firmenich’s leadership in natural and renewable ingredients in line with the Group’s responsible sourcing policy. More than half of the 5,000 vanilla farmers currently taking part in the traceability program are already registered with the new digital solution, guaranteeing enhanced transparency of conventional vanilla purchasing, from plant to the final extracts.
Based on their common vision and shared values, Firmenich and Authentic Products are also establishing an educational project of unprecedented scale in the region. The agricultural training center of Mahadera, which has been up and running since January 2020, stretches over 20 hectares of cultivated land. The new facility offers local rural youth the opportunity to acquire a solid agricultural background in vanilla growing and crop diversification and also develop skills in economics. Through a three-year certificate program, this project will contribute to strengthen farming activities in the region and secure a sustainable future for families and local communities.
Firmenich has a long-established presence in Madagascar, since 2005, having developed its first partnership with Authentic, a member of its NaturalsTogether™ program. Today the Savanille cooperative, founded by Authentic, includes thousands of vanilla farmers across more than 40 villages. To best support the Savanille community, based on their input and in collaboration with Authentic, Firmenich has contributed to establish a local school, to build a medical dispensary, and to dig at least one clean water well in every village.