“We are assessing various raw materials on whether and how we could use them in the future,” explains Adelino Nakano. He bends down and picks up a brown, woody seed. “This is an andiroba seed, which we already process.” Next, he plucks some leaves from a tree and rubs them between his hands. He smells them. “These are interesting plants,” he says and jots down the name of the tree given to him by a village resident. “Its fragrance is very fine. It could be of interest to our perfumers – perhaps for household products.”
“All sides benefit from this arrangement.”
is responsible for innovations at Symrise in São Paulo.
Mr. Ramos, how do you ensure a fair cooperation with the village communities?
We work in strict compliance with the Nagoya Protocol of the United Nations, which regulates the use of regional raw materials by international companies. It also requires compensation for the producing state.
This approach is particularly focused on the local population. What about nature? How is biodiversity being protected?
Symrise has entered a strategic partnership with the Union for Ethical BioTrade. Everyone benefits from this arrangement, including Symrise: Our flavors, fragrances, cosmetic and functional ingredients depend on natural raw materials.
So Symrise benefits from this commitment?
Of course! It is the only way that we can successfully produce our products and deliver them to customers around the world. At the same time, sustainability is only possible in combination with business success.
Eder Ramos is responsible for the global cosmetic ingredients business at Symrise.
It’s not unusual for Francisco Pereira from the producer association and Symrise employees Ferdinando Prado and Adelino Nakano (from left to right) to talk shop on the steps of the association building.
Francisco Pereira (right) shows Adelino Nakano the variety of the fruit and nuts harvested by the farmers in the forest.
Walter Ribeiro is President of the Flavors Division Latin America.
Mr. Ribeiro, the focus of the Amazon project has so far been on the Scent & Care Segment. Where do you see opportunities for new flavors?
We have visited several producer associations and university facilities and have run into some spices that seem to be well-suited as bases for extracts. We also collected ideas for natural colors, which could be of interest for our colleagues from the Diana division.
How important are the village residents for you in terms of what they bring to the cooperation?
They have a very close relationship to nature and specifically to the impressive variety of local plants. We can learn a lot from them.
Do you think there are any synergy effects available for your segment at the Ecoparque production facility?
Definitely. For example, we could gain brand new flavor nuances from established raw materials with our SymTrap® technology. Furthermore, through our colleagues from S & C Segment we were involved here at a much earlier stage than our competitors thanks to our cooperation with Natura. That puts us in an advantageous position.
The Brazil nuts are chopped up and pressed and then filtered to create a golden yellow, highly aromatic liquid.
A blossoming natural filter system in the Ecoparque purifies used water and collects rainwater using a large, funnel-shaped structure.
Prado ascends some stairs. Through a window, one can see work being done to reassemble a facility for plant extracts that was moved here from the old site in Sorocaba. Prado opens a door and enters a small laboratory. Here, the seeds are checked according to 15 parameters, such as moisture, acid, peroxide and sulfur content, throughout the process. Microbiological properties are also tested to ensure that no undesired bacteria has contaminated the product, while color and odor are tested in the sensory laboratory. Along with pressing and extraction, Symrise also uses its proprietary SymTrap® technology to extract valuable aromatic substances from residual materials. Over the course of 2016, Symrise will present the entire portfolio to further customers in the fragrances industry. Production will be able to expand without problems to meet rising order volumes, explains Ferdinando Prado. “At the moment, we are operating with only a single shift and ten employees. We could expand that to a three-shift system.” In a final step, Symrise will also install a production facility for essential oils in an already constructed part of the hall. “We will test and further develop raw materials for two of these products in parallel during 2016,” adds Ferdinando Prado. “And that is only the beginning of a long list of solutions inspired by the Amazon region’s rich biodiversity.”
Symrise and Natura are two companies that operate according to the same principles. They both place a strong emphasis on nature and social commitments. A discussion on partnership, sustainability and business success.
Mr. Lima, what does sustainability mean for Natura?
Roberto Oliveira de Lima: It has been at the heart of everything we do since our founding in 1969. Our success depends on the quality of our products, the added value they provide to customers and the sustainable network that we have developed with our suppliers. One focus of our strategy is to develop together with our partners at all levels. This only works if they have the same values we do. That’s why we look for suppliers who fit that mold, for example.
Ricardo Omori: Symrise follows the same approach – that is why our cooperation is such a good fit. The Ecoparque is a perfect example of this. For us, it was no problem to move some operations to the sustainably designed industrial park that Natura developed. Our commitment to nature, society and the socioeconomic development of the regions we operate in is part of our core business.
Symrise is allowed to sell the products resulting from the raw materials generated by this joint project to other customers. Why don’t you insist on exclusivity?
Roberto Oliveira de Lima: Because this would limit opportunities for our suppliers. Our primary goal is to benefit the Amazon region. That is why we use as many ingredients from the region as possible. It is good for the farmers if a company like Symrise is able to supply other customers because it allows them to expand and diversify their sales channels.
Ricardo Omori: This approach is the right one and sustainable for all involved. Of course, we feel very indebted to Natura: It was much easier for us to build relationships with the producer associations and construct the production facilities at the Ecoparque with this strong partner. At the same time, it is a tremendous advantage to have the freedom to sell the products on a global scale to spread the value creation across a broad basis.
Ricardo Omori is responsible for Symrise’s Scent & Care business in Latin America.
Roberto Oliveira de Lima is CEO at Natura. Brazil’s largest producer of natural cosmetics primarily sells its products directly to customers in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and France.
“Our primary goal is to benefit the Amazon region.”
Roberto Oliveira de Lima
What expectations do you have for business in the region?
Roberto Oliveira de Lima: So far, everything is going well: 75 % of the ingredients that we need for soaps come from the region and are processed there in the Ecoparque. But talking specifically about the future is never easy. That is because we are dealing with pure natural products, some of which have not yet been researched. Finding new raw materials can be a quick process or a very long one. So far, we have ten ingredients in our portfolio that arose from Brazil’s unique biodiversity.
Ricardo Omori: We have the same view. Because we work with pure natural products, some of which come from little-known fruits or seeds, we need to advance research. We perform this research together with Natura and universities in the region. Symrise has invested many euros solely in equipment used to further investigate materials and we are currently developing a team that specializes in the local biodiversity. This will allow us to regularly develop new and exciting products over the coming years.