Flavors, Fragrances, and Innovation

1. No Poverty 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Overview

To enhance its portfolio of sustainable ingredients and to support farming communities around the world that supply them with these ingredients, IFF developed and launched its Natural Ethics program. The program was designed to ensure that IFF’s supply of natural raw materials is socially and environmentally responsible. The program’s guiding principles include traceability, relationships with farmers, supporting community development and ensuring quality.

Authors

Kyle Alvarez

Kyle Alvarez

Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson

Christina Pasley

Christina Pasley

Lindsay Ryder

Lindsay Ryder

School

St. John's University

St. John's University

Professor

Charles Wankel

Charles Wankel

Innovation

To quote Matthias Haeni, IFF Group President, “We are essentially rethinking the traditional end-use approach of our industry to design technologies with the versatility to deliver differentiation across multiple categories and applications.” (Green, 2017) 

To perform at the top of the class, from an innovative standpoint, IFF has recalibrated itself to implement a “Re-Imagine” program. This program shifts the way IFF approaches it’s programs, to “focus on six key areas, including culinary, citrus, delivery systems, naturals, modulation and protein and were selected based on market potential, customer input, expert industry collaboration and versatility across end-use categories. They consider a rapidly changing world – from the expectations of sophisticated consumers too busy to cook for themselves; to the realities of a warming climate and its impact on key crops and ingredients; to an increased awareness of our role in the health of the planet.” (Green, 2017) Keeping IFF’s carbon footprint and the residual impact at the forefront of their platform, IFF is keen on ensuring that while the company is innovative it is also utilizing its resources in a sustainable manner; so much so IFF has been named to Barrons 100 most sustainable companies. IFF has also received the Zero Waste to Landfill certification and engaged in the UN Global Compact (Davis, 2018) 

Davis, B. H. (2018, April 11). Marketing Manager. (C. Pasley, Interviewer)

Green, E. (2017, October 19). IFF: Re-Imagine Programs accelerate innovation and tap into unmet consumer opportunities. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from Food Ingredients 1st: http://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/iff-re-imagine-programs-accelerate-innovation-and-tap-into-unmet-consumer-opportunities.html

Flavors, Fragrances, and Innovation

Inspiration

Our interview with Beyyana Hill Davis gave us real insight into the inpiration for this innovation. Ms. Davis stated in her interview that IFF's mission is “To leave a positive transformational change towards a regenerative and healthy abundant world.” The inspiration for IFF’s innovative and sustainable missions has a direct correlation to the work that has been done in places like Madagascar were IFF gets its vanilla beans from. Working closely with the farming community and understanding that synergy that has developed between continents, IFF developed and launched the Natural Ethics™ program. This program was designed to ensure that IFF’s supply of natural raw materials is socially and environmentally responsible. The program’s guiding principles include traceability, relationships with farmers, supporting community development and ensuring quality. The farmers that are a part of this program receive training and produce high‐quality and fully‐traceable vanilla beans. In return for their efforts, IFF supports the farmers and their communities through price premiums, pre‐financing and community development projects.  

Since most farmers do not have access to credit. Their decision to harvest vanilla is dictated by their need for cash, not optimal harvest conditions. The program’s pre-financing model encourages farmers to harvest the vanilla beans at their peak, giving IFF access to high-quality vanilla beans while ensuring that farmers are able to meet their own financial needs. In essence, local communities in Madagascar can live above the poverty line and create quasi ecosystems of wealth while IFF gleans high quality vanilla that is essential to many it’s products. 

Davis, B. H. (2018, April 11). Marketing Manager. (C. Pasley, Interviewer)

Overall impact

Many companies, including its direct competitors, offer some form of sustainable vanilla. What makes Natural Ethics Vanilla different is that it brings together all the best practices in sustainable sourcing programs and was designed to meet the full range of customer expectations. It incorporates third-party certification and guarantees traceability – but it goes beyond that. Natural Ethics Vanilla also focuses on quality, which is not a part of other certification schemes. Finally, the program delivers benefits directly to farming communities through a community development fund. In early 2014, it was determined that the best use of the community development fund from the 2013 crop would be to build a primary school in the village of Maevatanana. The construction of the school began in May 2014 and the École Primaire Publique Maevatanana was inaugurated during the first weekend in October. The school is recognized as a national public school and is open to all the children of the village. Approximately 220 students, ages 6 to 12, currently attend the school.

Business benefit

IFF has made a promise of an ethics program that would ensure that raw materials are sourced in a socially, economically, and environmentally friendly way. An aspect of business, in today’s day and age especially, is the code of human ethics a business abides by. Although IFF is a for profit company, it has proven that it’s efforts made toward the environment and it’s customers have made a positive impact on the business. IFF promotes a relationship with the farmers, community development, and ensuring quality of their products. One notable business benefit that spurs from a company with admirable goals for their community, is that just having these goals in place sets the tone for the business. Success in businesses is proven to stem from their ethical, environmental, and economic efforts- in addition to the quality of the product or service itself.

Social and environmental benefit

IFF not only works to the benefit of the environment, but additionally the people and society around them. Their vendor code of conduct is very specific and expects suppliers to conduct all work and business in an ethical way. They focus on regulations and industry standards as well as workplace safety and human rights. International Flavors and Fragrances very much supports international human rights. Any form of discrimination, child labor and or forced labor is not allowed by any means. The company recently enacted their own Responsible Sourcing Committee. It works to ensure that all practices in their supply chain are ethical, not only reducing impact on the environment, but supporting workers and farming communities as well. IFF partners with organizations like theirs in order to collaborate and push for more sustainable and responsible practices among suppliers. 

IFF strives to make the quality of life better in their farming communities. In Haiti for example, IFF gets vetiver oil for products. This is used in products like perfumes, soaps, etc. This company acquires vetiver oil from a distillery in Haiti, which in return buys the raw material from small farms on the island. In Haiti on these farms many families are dependent on their income from selling these roots. This puts much financial strain on their family as the root is harvested only every 12 to 18 months. IFF works closely with these farmers in order to share their own techniques and improve the harvest quantity. This leads to an higher income for these families. 

 IFF is a member of the NRSC (National Resources Stewardship Circle). They work to ensure a fully traceable, sustainable, and high quality product. This benefits the consumer and society around them. Looking back to the work in Haiti, IFF supports a program called Vetiver Together. Through this they have accomplished so much for the community. They trained 169 individuals in crop production, provided 75 families with animals to support food security (goats, chickens, turkeys), established a community seed bank and tool bank, trained 124 people in gender awareness and 169 people in sanitary practices, and so much more. What IFF did to help the communities in Haiti provided vast societal benefits. They conducted similar work in other various countries. Also duly noted are the employee satisfaction ratings of the company. The company is committed to helping each and every employee excel in their work, stay safe in the workplace, and make a positive difference in the world. Diversity and inclusion is also highlighted in IFF’s continued success.

Interview

Bayyana Hill, Marketing Manager

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International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF)

International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF)

New York City, New York, United States of America

Business Website: http://www.iff.com/

Year Founded: 1958

Number of Employees: 5001-10000

Bayyana Hill is a Marketing Manager at International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), a global flavors and fragrances company. Most of IFF’s flavors come from natural resources, with its most commonly used flavor being Vanilla. More than 80% of the world’s vanilla is grown in Madagascar and farmers on the tropical island grow and harvest vanilla beans which plays a critical role in the supply chain of IFF. To enhance its portfolio of sustainable ingredients and to support farming communities around the world that supply them with these ingredients, IFF developed and launched its Natural Ethics program. The program was designed to ensure that IFF’s supply of natural raw materials is socially and environmentally responsible. The program’s guiding principles include traceability, relationships with farmers, supporting community development and ensuring quality. In 2013, IFF began sourcing Natural Ethics vanilla beans from more than 500 farmers in northern Madagascar who participate in the program. The farmers receive training and produce high quality and fully traceable vanilla beans. In return for their efforts, IFF supports the farmers and their communities through price premiums, pre-financing and community development projects.

SuStainability RepoRt 2017 Leading Positive ... (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bing.com/cr?IG=C2E78CB5B95A4DD7818BC770F2F3B0E1&CID=3BFD4EB6F3CA6CC02DB3456BF2656DE2&rd=1&h=JGoEBMmmUOwsajBe_A9b9DOJCcFNmdjQj0Vk0X6tTqE&v=1&r=http://www.iff.com/~/media/Files/I/IFF/documents/sustainability-report-2017.pdf&p=DevEx.LB.1,5517.1