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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Firmenich earns recognition for pioneering program to create jobs for the visually impaired

It won Singapore Business Review’s International Business Awards 2018 for Manufacturing.

On May 17th, Firmenich Asia Pte Ltd was recognised by Singapore Business Review as an outstanding international company, receiving the SBR International Business Award 2018 – Manufacturing category.

Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned Fragrance and Flavor Company was distinguished for its pioneering program to include visually impaired professionals on its sensory panel to assess flavors and fragrances in Singapore. The program is part of Firmenich’ s global initiative with inclusive panels running in Mexico, London, Mumbai and Geneva.

Sustainable business is smart business
Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, Firmenich has created many of the world’s best-known perfumes and flavors, enjoyed by billions of consumers each day. Its passion for creating positive emotions through the senses of taste and smell is at the heart of its success. Present in 100 markets, the firm has 7,000 employees worldwide and posted revenue of approximately US$3.3 billion last financial year. Being a family owned company, the Swiss Group always take a long-term view of its business to be a force for good, for its colleagues, for its customers and for society.

That’s why it is recognised as an industry leader in sustainability, committed to leading the most transparent, ethical and sustainable value chain. “When you consider it takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to produce 1 kilo of rose essential oil; and 1 million roses to produce the 3.5 tons of rose petals, there is no other option for us than to harvest them sustainably, if we want our business to thrive for generations to come!” said Rajan Arul, General Manager of Firmenich Singapore. Through its “Naturals Together” program, Firmenich partners with smallholder farmers in over 40 countries to provide customers with the finest natural ingredients, while improving the livelihoods of 250,000 farming families.

For Firmenich, offering equal opportunities for all its colleagues, whatever their background, to thrive, is not only rooted in its DNA as a family-owned company, it is the right thing to do. That’s why Firmenich announced its commitment to become a 100% certified gender equality employer by the end of 2018, in a context where the industry average pay gap is 20%.

A hub for perfumery excellence
Since opening its first office in Singapore four decades ago, Firmenich has played an active role in the city’s transformation into one of the world’s most dynamic business hubs. The company inaugurated its Global Perfumery Creative Center at the Singapore Science Park I in September 2017, a state-of-the-art facility offering world-class capabilities from perfumery creation and technology innovation, to cutting-edge application labs and consumer insights. Part of the Group’s network of Global Centres of Excellence, the Singapore hub is also home to Firmenich’s leadership teams for Hair Care, Soap Bars and Detergent Powders. Firmenich’s reputation as a company that attracts and cultivates the most diverse talent in the industry extends far beyond the scope of the inclusive panels recognized by the Singapore Business Review International Business Award.

Last year, the Singapore affiliate won SwissCham’s 2017 inaugural award for Excellence in People and Skills Development for its dedication to talent development, notably the quality of its trainings, as well as its strong partnerships with local universities, including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

A culture of Diversity & Inclusion
The creation of Firmenich’s brand-new Perfumery Creative Center in Singapore offered the perfect opportunity to bring the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion to life. Working with the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, the Company had the opportunity to train several visually impaired testers for a new descriptive panel. The experience has been so positive that Firmenich expects to continue to increase the number of blind and visually impaired panelists it employs in all locations. “Creating an inclusive culture takes both commitment and action. By working with local associations for the blind, we are strengthening our diversity and sharpening our capabilities, while creating sustainable job opportunities,” said Mieke Van de Capelle, Chief Human Resources Officer at Firmenich.

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