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Symrise AG (Holzminden, Germany) has been nominated for the German Sustainability Award 2012 for its approach to the sustainable procurement of vanilla in Madagascar.
With this nomination, the company is one of this year’s three finalists in the category “Germany’s Most Sustainable Initiative” due to ts approach of supporting the vanilla farmers from cultivation through to the harvest, as well as local production. The award will be presented at an evening event following the German Sustainability Day on Dec. 7, 2012, in Düsseldorf.
“We are very excited about the nomination. It confirms that we’re on the right path with the ongoing integration of sustainability into our business model,” said Symrise's CEO Heinz-Jürgen Bertram.
Bertram said Symrise purchases vanilla harvested by many thousands of farmers and is one of the spice’s largest buyers on the island. The procurement process, including cultivation and harvest, fermentation of the vanilla beans and extraction of the vanilla, takes place locally. To ensure that the social and environmental projects are successful over the long term, Symrise has a network of partners: development aid organizations, NGOs and local farmers’ associations. A public-private partnership with the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) has been in place since 2010.
“We are the only company in our industry to produce directly in Madagascar, and in this way we contribute to creating value locally,” said Stephan Sielaff, Symrise's senior vice president of global operations. "Thanks to our close cooperation with the vanilla farmers, we know how we can improve their socioeconomic situation by means of targeted measures in the areas of nutrition, health and education.”
The company, which plans to continue to work with Madagascar, benefits from long-term access to high-quality raw materials and can therefore offer added value in global competition, he concluded.