Measure, Manage then Market
Sustainability is top of the business agenda
Environmental and social performance are essential qualities. Companies should ideally exhibit both. Certainly, consumers are watching and making buying decisions appropriately. Those organisations that understand this are more likely to thrive. The environment, the planet, supply chain, ethical product sourcing, how people are treated, affects everyone and everything. Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned company specialising in fragrances and flavours are setting a benchmark with regard to all aspects.
Firmenich has now been placed in the top 1% of those companies assessed by the EcoVadis scheme.
EcoVadis has a reputation as being the most trusted eco business rating agency. This is also important as transparency and freedom of information requests make it very easy to discover green washing. This can be tremendously damaging to a company’s reputation. EcoVadis’ stringent assessments help companies prove their efforts have substance.
How do you demonstrate your company’s commitment to sustainability?
EcoVadis assesses 85,000 companies, covering 200+ industries across 1260 countries. After scrutinising Firmenich they awarded them a Platinum sustainability rating. With a scoring system out of 100 Firmenich scored 88 having improved their score by 5 points. This means the company has managed to achieve the top rating for two years in a row and demonstrates their commitment to all aspects of sustainability.
This is a significant achievement, but companies might well be asking why they need to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and the environment. Isn’t it enough just to do the best you can? The main issue is that with the rise of sustainability concerns each business should have this at the top of their agenda. Not only that but as an increasing number of companies improve their sustainability practices and also their transparency, they will also be looking carefully at the trading partners they align with. If a company cannot understand their role in improving sustainability and cannot benchmark their results it will be difficult to prove to trading partners.
Measure, Manage and Market
The old adage, ‘when it’s measured it’s managed’ could be augmented with ‘and can then be marketed’. It is important for everyone involved in any company large or small to track progress. When there are specific recommendations, reporting and quantitative metrics then corrective action is made easier. Also, reaching a platinum award level differentiates a business from others showcasing success.
Gilbert Ghostine, Firmenich’s CEO is keen to demonstrate how Firmenich is a force for good. They measure and manage their impact on the climate, nature, and the people they work with and employ. It has been important for the firm to set ambitions environmental and social goals and ensure these are actioned every day.
"Our industry-leading, improved performance is a tribute to the hard work of all my colleagues, who are making our business a force for good for climate, nature and people." He said.
Gianluca Colombo, Chief Procurement Officer, has a place on the EcoVadis CPO board of advisers and is keen to point out what a difference it has made to how they manage sustainable supply chains. They have been able to scale up, knowing that Firmenich now has clarity regarding performance and also a benchmark against which to rank against their peers. They now feel in a position to demonstrate their credentials in sustainability. This gives them a USP to differentiate the company from competitors.
So how was Firmenich assessed?
In the first instance the company’s sustainability policies other initiatives and the 2025 to 2030 ESG ambitions were analysed. This was done by utilising recognised international standards. There are 21 criteria against which Firmenich were evaluated. They were broken into four categories including environment, labour and human rights, and sustainable procurement practices. The final one was ethics.
If you are wondering if such assessment is right for your company, it is worth considering that:
· According to HEC Sustainable Procurement Benchmark 91% of companies take sustainability criteria into account when making their purchasing decisions.
· In terms of sustainability-linked loans and green bonds there was more than $200bn available in 2018 according to Bloomberg NEF
· 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company with a reputation for sustainability compared to those that have no recognised alignment.
Source: Sustainable Brands
We think that Firmenich has demonstrated their forward-thinking approach to sustainability and the environment. They align themselves with other major players such as Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, L'Oréal, Subway, Nestlé, Salesforce, Michelin, and BASF that are working very hard to tread more lightly on the planet.
As an executive recruitment company specialising in the food and ingredients sector, we are proud to work with Firmenich and would like to congratulate them on their outstanding achievement.