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Reporting period

The Sustainability section includes information from the combined entity for 12 months (DSM and Firmenich are reported as of 1 January 2023). The sustainability data in this Report cover all entities that belong to the scope of the Consolidated financial statements. If this is not the case this is mentioned specifically. As this is the first year of reporting for dsm-firmenich, no comparative data is available for 2022. For more information, see Sustainability statements.

We increasingly address Climate and Nature as one interlinked topic, as discussed in Climate. Nature, whether it be biodiversity, or the ecosystem services provided by nature more broadly, helps us adapt to and mitigate climate change. Working with rather than against nature brings multiple benefits, such as its role in regulating our climate.

Nature is firmly embedded in our strategy. We believe that we can contribute to the protection and restoration of nature by acting on three pillars: water, biodiversity and resource efficiency. Nature provides us with critical ecosystem services such as water access, biodiversity as our source of inspiration and innovation for new ingredients, and resource efficiency as a critical lever in securing the sustained supply of raw materials.

Our evolving approach to nature is aligned with the Nature Positive Roadmap published in November 2023 by Business for Nature, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Economic Forum (WEF) and Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT).

The protection and restoration of nature cannot be delivered by any company in isolation. Collaboration between various actors along our value chain is critical to scale up positive impact in any protection and restoration activity. Therefore, we follow a value chain approach from our environment to our products, and in our own internal operations, whether Science & Research, Operations or Responsible Sourcing. These functions, along with valued external parties, are envisioning a new future for how we protect and restore nature, as well as building the revised roadmaps and targets to show progress toward this future.

In 2023, our key activities included:

  • Restore: as part of our biodiversity restoration program, we engaged eight new operating sites in restoration projects, which measure key nature indicators as part of baseline and monitoring activities
  • Protect: in addition to our existing deforestation- and conversion-free ambitions, we are working toward compliance with the new EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and supporting our suppliers in their journey
  • Both Protect and Restore: we continue to develop and sell products that contribute to the protection and restoration of nature, for example, by reducing pressure on natural resources through UEBT-verified, ethically-sourced edelweiss for our ALPAFLOR® EDELWEISS CB product

Building an enabling environment

Following the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 in Montreal, where dsm-firmenich was represented, there is a clear and loud call to transition toward ‘Nature Positive’. Nature Positive terminology has evolved since 2021 but nevertheless still refers to all the efforts society is making to reduce the negative impact on the environment, and therefore our contribution to the protection and restoration of nature.

To ensure our work on nature is in line with this evolving environment, dsm-firmenich closely follows the work of Business for Nature (BfN), WEF, WBCSD and UEBT. The latter two support companies in setting their own nature strategy. Additionally, as the impacts of nature-related dynamics on business are still evolving, as depicted below, we are closely monitoring the changing landscape of nature related frameworks.

Key nature related dynamics impacting businesses (photo)
Source: WEF Report Sector Transitions to Nature Positive

Within this evolving environment, we recently piloted the initial steps of the Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN) guidance. Our involvement in these pilots included modelling of risk-based approaches to biodiversity restoration and engaging in the new SBTN materiality assessments. This gave us an early engagement with the standards which could soon be adopted more universally. With these learnings we, along with 20 other pilot companies, can enhance our evolving nature strategy in line with ‘It’s Now for Nature’ campaign and SBTN’s proposed target-setting guidance. We work with partners to support us in defining our nature strategy.

BfN is a global coalition of influential partner organization and leading companies to drive credible business action and policy ambition to achieve a nature-positive economy for all by 2030. Engaged since 2020 in view of COP15 in Montreal and more recently in 2023, dsm-firmenich was among the tens of businesses who contributed to the elaboration of guidance for sector-specific actions. This guidance aims to support businesses to identify the actions they should take to credibly help halt and reverse nature loss and contribute to an equitable, nature-positive economy.

UEBT is a non-profit association that promotes sourcing with respect. UEBT works to regenerate nature and secure a better future for people through ethical sourcing of ingredients from biodiversity. UEBT is our historical partner since 2013 to support dsm-firmenich in our work on Natural ingredients sourcing. This membership will continue to support our commitments toward Protect & Restore Nature.

In our operations

In our own operations, whether in our manufacturing or pre-mix sites, we focus on water stewardship, resource efficiency and any biodiversity areas that are at risk near to our operations. We deploy a risk-based approach using tools such as the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Risk Filter on Water & Biodiversity, and the World Resource Institute (WRI) Aqueduct tool to design actions to protect and then restore nature.

Water stewardship

Climate change is altering weather patterns and water security around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others. The availability of water is a widespread problem, with the WWF estimating that two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages by 2025.

At dsm-firmenich, we also depend on access to water and strive to strengthen our water stewardship in the areas in which we operate. Our direct dependency is related to our withdrawal of water for our processes and our responsibility regarding the quality of the discharged water (for more information on water, see the Sustainability statements). Our dedicated actions with respect to water stress areas will be linked to our below actions on Biodiversity management.

Biodiversity management

Faced with the alarming pace of degradation of vital natural environments, we have a role to play in biodiversity protection, and biodiversity conservation and restoration, especially in areas where we operate directly. Although our manufacturing sites are mainly located in already industrialized areas, some of them may be close to protected areas. We identify the sites that are located close to protected areas using the WWF Risk Filter methodology. Based on the location of our site, this tool informs us of which of our sites are potentially overlapping with identified protected areas.

Number of dsm-firmenich sites located close to protected areas based on WWF Risk Filter

Number of dsm-firmenich sites located close to protected areas based on WWF Risk Filter (bar chart)

Using these methods, we can be more informed and take the necessary actions to protect and restore these protected areas. As an initial step in restoring nature, we engaged eight additional locations with restoration projects, for which we started to measure key baseline indicators and implemented monitoring activities. For example, our restoration program in Kunming aims to safeguard the water source that nourishes Shanglongtan Village from pollution and flooding risks. Through this program, we help mitigate local biodiversity risk and enhance local biodiversity, ensuring the protection of this vital resources for the community.

Restore Ecosystems in Kunming (photo)
Signage to be implemented in our Kunming program area to create local awareness about the program

Resource efficiency

Resource efficiency is a critical lever to secure the sustained supply and use of raw materials, water access and waste management. We strictly manage our hazardous and process waste to protect nature by minimizing negative impacts on human health and the environment. All our sites are required to implement a management system to ensure compliance with all local regulations, and beyond when possible. Waste management is one of the first steps toward to increased resource efficiency processes: such waste can also be valorized as starter for other industrial processes. For more information on waste, please see the Sustainability statements.

In our value chain

Our procurement

We recognize the importance of sourcing practices for raw materials which are dependent on water and natural feedstocks. We showcase our approach toward preservation of nature, among other positive impact drivers, in our story Mint with Purpose.

Through Responsible Sourcing, we will continue to strengthen and promote the protection and restoration of nature in our sourcing practices. This will include efforts such as avoiding deforestation and the degradation of natural ecosystems, promoting sustainable agriculture, and supporting forest conservation when we use non-timber forest products.

More information our current progress related to Responsible Sourcing and the implication of environmental impact in our procurement decision-making is provided in Supplier engagement.

We maintain our commitments to no deforestation and no conversion of natural land ecosystems. In order to deliver on these, we utilize 3rd party sustainable schemes such as:

  • Palm Oil – Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
  • Sugarcane molasses – BonSucro
  • Soy – ProTerra
  • Corn – Farmer Self-Assessment (FSA) from the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI)
  • Crude Sulfate Turpentine (CST) from paper-industry waste – Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

These may not necessarily be sufficient for the upcoming EUDR. As such we are working to reach compliance within the prescribed timelines, as well as supporting our suppliers through the process.

Our 2023 first assessment demonstrates that in most cases, we are not sourcing from high-risk categories in the EUDR, however, we will remain diligent and engage with our suppliers by requesting guarantees from them on the due diligence they take in their value chains on deforestation and engage in subsequent reviews with them.

In 2024, in support of achieving compliance to the regulation:

  • We request all suppliers to acknowledge our Supplier Code which lay-out our requirements in deforestation
  • We train suppliers on the regulation of which the topic of deforestation will be a key part of the agenda for dsm-firmenich’s first supplier sustainability day in early 2024
  • We ensure that concrete actions are taken in our supply chains when specific nature related risks are identified by leveraging our due diligence and actions at source with our suppliers on the ground. This all together helps us to reinforce our traceability capabilities and feedstock certification

In our products

Nature plays a key role in providing us with the inspiration in new product development as well as the resources necessary to produce our products. We leverage our actions toward the protection and restoration of Nature:

  • To inspire the creation of products such as organically and UEBT-verified, ethically-sourced edelweiss from the Swiss Alps for ALPAFLOR® EDELWEISS CB, and to contribute to the protection of the planet’s natural resources such as offering via our ‘Circular Collection’ fragrances made 100% with upcycled ingredients. Read more in Perfumery & Beauty
  • In the way we think about our products, we strive to promote and valorize waste from within our own operations or from other industries such as from cocoa harvest and post-harvest processes. Our upcycled cocoa extract is obtained by valorizing a condensate recovered during the cocoa processing. It delivers an authentic roasted profile with caramelic and creamy notes. Read more in Taste, Texture & Health
  • In contributing to reduce and avoid the risk of overfishing and its related negative impact on marine ecosystems thanks to life’s®OMEGA O3020. Read more in Health, Nutrition & Care
  • In increasing animal feed efficiency, which consequently supports less feed consumption for similar animal proteins production. Read more in Animal Nutrition & Health

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