The Swiss-based company’s move to join the union comes at a time at which 87% of consumers expect companies to have sourcing policies in place that respect biodiversity, according to the UEBT survey of 8 countries worldwide.
In order to attain membership of the UEBT, Firmenich has committed to implementing a biodiversity management system for the sourcing of its plant materials, and strengthen sourcing practices in specific prioritized supply chains, following the internationally recognized Ethical BioTrade standards of UEBT.
Independent confirmation of ethical trading is important for companies looking to court the increasing consumer consciousness on the topic.
Firmenich voiced that its motivation for the move to join the union springs from a desire to be able to show their consumers proof of their efforts to advance sustainable business growth, local development and biodiversity conservation.
“We were looking for an externally-validated approach to reinforce the coherence of our different projects. Our UEBT membership systematizes our sustainable sourcing efforts and provides external validation of our expertise in responsible sourcing”, says Patrick Firmenich, the company’s CEO.
The UEBT implements external validation by requiring Firmenich Grasse to report annually on its adherence with the union's standards, and independent third party auditors will check tri-annually to confirm this.
Sourcing and technical hurdles still remain the primary reasons for the low adoption rate of sustainable fragrances and fragrance ingredients in the cosmetic industry, with raw material availability and quality the major barriers.
Judi Beerling, head of technical research at Organic Monitor, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com that regulatory pressure on fragrance ingredients has increased in recent years, with certain essential oils coming under scrutiny in the EU.
“I think this awareness will only increase as the spotlight falls more and more on the provenance of ingredients and the thorny issues of the so-called allergens in essential oils, which some dispute really are allergenic,” she said.