Created in partnership with the Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights
Symrise, a German producer of flavors and fragrances, is reliant on access to a wide range of natural resources. In many cases, knowledge about their specific characteristics and benefits has been cultivated by generations of local and indigenous communities. Therefore, Symrise has put in place policies and procedures to respect the rights of indigenous peoples in accessing and using biological raw materials.
The company complies with its obligations under the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS), a supplemental Protocol to the UN Convention on Biodiversity. In 2018, Symrise adopted a Nagoya Protocol and Access & Benefit Sharing Policy, in which the company commits to systematically integrating considerations on ABS into management procedures (regular risk assessments, traceability of raw materials, sector-specific guidance and best practice on ABS). A cross-functional committee oversees operationalization and the company regularly reports on the status and progress made towards its commitments.
In addition, Symrise has been implementing projects incorporating ABS and promoting the creation of shared value in a number of key sourcing locations. In the Brazilian Amazon, for instance, Symrise partnered with Brazilian cosmetic firm Natura and GIZ, the German agency for development cooperation, to increase local value creation through enhanced farming techniques. From 2017 to 2021, Symrise and its partners trained indigenous communities in sustainable farming methods, provided equipment, helped them to diversify and increase the quality of their produce. For Symrise, this meant reliable access to key ingredients as well as the opportunity to research new raw materials. The 16 participating cooperatives, in turn, were able to increase their revenue by more than 40%, improving the livelihoods of more than 1,200 families. They also obtained certification from the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), further facilitating market access.