In 2010, Symrise was one of the first companies in the world to formulate a climate strategy. Since then, the company has always reached its self-imposed targets ahead of schedule. But resting on our laurels is not an option: The Group wants to be climate-neutral starting in 2030.


When Symrise first published a climate strategy some twelve years ago, it sounded very ambitious: By 2020, the Group wanted to position itself so as to reduce its carbon emissions by 33 %. Symrise achieved this target back in 2016. One year later, the company formulated new, even more ambitious objectives: Symrise became the first company in the industry to focus on science-based targets. These targets, which are consistent with the latest climate science, create a scientific basis for the minimization of global warming in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. “We renewed our plans to a highly ambitious level once again in February 2022 and had them certified by the Science Based Targets initiative,” explains Dr. Helmut Frieden, VP Corporate Sustainability at Symrise. Regarding Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Symrise is focused on reaching the target of less than 1.5 degrees. Scope 1 includes all emissions that are directly generated by production, and Scope 2 refers to the emissions generated through the procurement of energy. Greenhouse gases in the upstream and downstream supply chain are referred to as Scope 3 emissions. This includes the procurement of raw materials, transportation, business trips and waste disposal. Here, the company is pursuing the 2-degree target. “In terms of Scope 1 and 2, we aim to be climate-neutral starting in 2030. We will thus help sequester more greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere than we generate through our business activities. For Scope 3, we want to cut emissions by 30 %,” says Dr. Frieden. Ultimately, climate protection is also important for the Symrise business model: " More than 80 % of our raw materials come from natural sources. Therefore, it’s important for us to look after the climate and biodiversity from an economic perspective.”

“More than 80 % of our raw materials come from natural sources. Therefore, it’s important for us to look after the climate and biodiversity from an economic perspective.”

Dr. Helmut Frieden
VP Corporate Sustainability

Symrise bundles its global climate activities in the company headquarters in Germany. At the same time, many activities take place at all sites around the world. In Holzminden, a management group exists solely to determine how the company can reduce its CO2 output at the two plants there. For example, 25,000 tons of CO2 are expected to be saved every year by changing procedures for the disposal and reprocessing of by-products. Reforestation projects in Brazil neutralize more than 12,000 tons of CO2, thus compensating for emissions related to suppliers’ packaging. These and other projects will be implemented across the Group starting in late April 2023.

At the same time, the low-carbon project is underway in the Taste, Nutrition & Health segment. “For three years now, we have been implementing our low-carbon transition roadmap based on the climate protection goals of Symrise through which we intend to reduce CO2 emissions. This roadmap is based on three essential pillars: We map greenhouse gases and introduce action plans to reduce emissions at industrial facilities, calculate the carbon footprint of products and opt for an eco-design of finished goods with the involvement of our suppliers,” explains Marie Le Henaff, the segment’s Sustainability Director.

“We map greenhouse gases and introduce action plans to reduce emissions at industrial facilities.”

Marie Le Henaff
Sustainability Director Taste, Nutrition & Health

Given that Symrise is growing in the area of pet food in particular, all new plants since 2020 have been built according to the LEED or BREEAM recognized standards. “These standards are good levers to generate up to one-third fewer CO2 emissions than a conventional building,” says Thierry Lenice, who oversees the transition to sustainable operations as Low Carbon Transition Manager. In the past two years, Symrise has built new plants in Colombia, China and Brazil based on LEED / BREEAM standards.

At the same time, Symrise is upgrading older production sites by introducing low-carbon action plans to help reduce emissions. At the Naturals Business Unit within the Food & Beverage division, more than 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases will be saved yearly from 2020 to 2023. This is thanks to the switch from gas to wood for its boilers, optimization of refrigeration facilities and improved heat recovery. In addition, the segment also reduced its CO2 emissions in other areas. For example, it optimized the packaging it uses and introduced more sustainable transport solutions. Last but not least, the employees also developed their own projects to raise awareness for sustainability. “We ultimately want to share the results across the Group so that we can learn from each other. That way we can act even more sustainably together,” says Le Henaff.

Furthermore, the Taste, Nutrition & Health segment will evaluate the carbon footprint of its entire portfolio which includes more than ten thousand products over the coming years. “In doing so, our team is currently focusing on a particular product range while simultaneously developing eco-design matrix tools and raw material databases,” explains Le Henaff.

This resulted in the “low carbon” product range for the Pet Food division that Symrise presented at Interzoo 2022. The 14 products, which are suitable for both cats and dogs, displayed good CO2 performance, according to Aurélie de Ratuld, CSR Global Manager for Symrise Pet Food. In 2023, 14 new products will be introduced to the French market; by replacing older ones, they will generate 1,300 fewer tons of CO2 per year. All in all, eco-friendly design can reduce emissions by an average of 30 %, and in some cases even up to 70 %.

Symrise built the pet food plant in Colombia based on LEED standards.