Sustainability & Responsibility*

In our sustainability reporting, we comply with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) from the version GRI Standards (2016). In doing so, we conform to the highest application level “In accordance – Comprehensive,” which means that we fully account for all the material topics. As an active member of the Global Compact, we adhere to its universal principles for responsible corporate management as well as to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs). We will work hard to contribute towards them.
Our strategic approach and the management concepts of our central topics will be presented in the following chapter, thereby fulfilling the requirements of the CSR Directive Implementation Law (CSR-RUG). We have also made all quantitative and qualitative transparency information available in our online sustainability record. All information has been externally audited in accordance with the AA1000 Assurance Standard.

* Separate non-financial report pursuant to Section 289b (3) of the German Commercial Code (HGB)

Integrated Sustainability Management

With our business model, we help meet basic human needs for health, nutrition, care and well-being (see Our Company). At the same time, we consider the ways in which our company grows and is successful to be of vital importance. Many of the traditional production processes in our industry are energy-intensive, release potentially harmful emissions and consume precious natural resources. At the same time, if we want to deliver innovative and sustainable products, we are dependent on a new generation of well-educated employees as much as on rich biological diversity from which we can derive our inspiration and creative ideas.

We are convinced that only such an expanded view, one that goes beyond narrow corporate limits, helps to secure our long-term growth and to increase our efficiency while also enabling us to further develop our innovative and sustainable product portfolio. Therefore, the four pillars of our sustainability agenda, Footprint, Innovation, Sourcing and Care, form the foundations of our integrated corporate strategy. In these fields, we intend to make a concerted effort to reduce the negative impact of our business activities and to enhance our societal added value. In the process, we actively contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

Minimize our environmental footprint along the value chain

Maximize positive social & environmental impacts of our products

Maximize the sustainability of our supply chain and raw materials

Improve well-being in our stakeholder communities

Organization and Implementation

The Symrise Sustainability Board is the global and cross-business committee that helps integrate sustainability principles more strongly in our core processes. Under the chairmanship of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO), representatives from management come together within this framework multiple times per year to ensure that sustainability-relevant topics and the concerns of our important stakeholder groups are considered along the entire value chain.

The Sustainability Board sets sustainability objectives, which are then directly implemented in the respective divisions. This is why the Executive Board and the Sustainability Board have appointed sustainability officers for the Flavor, Nutrition and Scent & Care business segments as well one representative each for the staff departments of Human Resources, Finance / Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. The direct responsibility for strategy lies with the Chief Executive Officer of Symrise AG, who receives regular reports on the progress of all sustainability activities.

We manage sustainability in corporate processes using our Integrated Management System. It is based on the international standards on quality (ISO 9001), environmental protection (ISO 14001), work safety (OHSAS 18001), sustainability (ISO 26000), energy (ISO 50001), social responsibility (SA 8000), the generally accepted audit standards of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and other recognized local standards.

No matter their division, managers have a particularly important role to play in operationalizing the topic of sustainability in their teams and laying out clear goals. We continuously promote our approach to sustainability through the agreement of specific sustainability objectives for all managers and their integration into individual performance goals. In order to anchor this topic within the organization and for all employees, we routinely conduct various activities at our sites. For example, during Symrise Sustainability Day, employees present various practical examples of how their respective departments at Symrise initiate and implement sustainable development processes.

Our Central Topics

The analysis of our central topics is based on our “Sharing Values” approach. We evaluate sustainability aspects and fields of action according to their social value and their value for Symrise, enabling us to identify topics with the greatest potential to create shared value. In the process, we analyze the significance of the topics for our business as well as the possible positive and negative effects of our business activities on humans and the environment.

The Sustainability Board carried out the crucial review of our Materiality Analysis 2017. Given the expansion of our cooperative activities with customers, NGOs and suppliers in Madagascar, Brazil and to a lesser extent in many other countries of the world, we have added the topic of “partnerships.” On the other hand, the topic of the “efficient use of raw materials” is no longer treated as a single topic but is subsumed within the topic of “resource conservation” given the large substantive overlap.

In the year under review, the topics of “emission reduction,” “utilizing renewable materials,” “occupational health and safety” and “compliance with human rights” were identified as having moderately higher significance for value generation at Symrise. We also determined that the last two specified topics remain quite important for the company. We recognized that the topic of “reducing noise and odor emissions” is very significant for the company. Less significance, however, was attributed to the topic of “sustainable forestry”: After the successful acquisition of Pinova Holdings in 2016 and the integration of the topic of “sustainable forestry” into Symrise sustainability management, corresponding control processes have now been established for this topic. The relevance of the other topics was confirmed.

Along with our strategic orientation, identifying key issues also serves as a basis for structuring our reporting pursuant to the GRI standards. We provide a full report on topics that were viewed as having a higher value for both Symrise and society. We provide a report with at least one indicator on topics that have a high relevance in just one dimension. We provide comprehensive, transparent information on our sustainability activities and key figures in our online sustainability record.

Aspects According to CSR-RUG Classification of Central Topics
Environmental matters
  • Excellence in the supply chain
  • Emissions reduction
  • Resource conservation
  • Biodiversity
Employee matters
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Diversity and equal opportunity
Social matters
  • Innovative and sustainable product solutions
  • Animal welfare
  • Ensuring the highest quality and product safety
  • Facility safety
Respect for human rights
  • Responsible sourcing
  • Compliance with human rights
Anti-corruption and bribery matters
  • Compliance
  • Transparency and credibility

Focus on Contribution to Sustainable Development

As an international company, Symrise considers itself obligated to make an active contribution to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations. We revised our existing assessment during the reporting period in order to determine both the relevance of our different objectives and the reach of Symrise’s influence. The graphic depicts which goals we can focus on helping to achieve through responsible business practices and indicates the connection to our central topics.

Management of Central Topics


Corruption, bribery and unethical business conduct can cause direct economic harm. The negative impacts range from the distortion of international competitive conditions, reputational damage and the deterring of investors to the payment of monetary fines. At times, the social and ecological consequences can also be significant if, as a result, government funds are diverted, economic development is undermined or social inequality is reinforced. For this reason, SDG 16 requires effective, transparent and accountable institutions.

Symrise is convinced that only a clearly defined and transparent framework of what type of conduct is allowed and what type of conduct is not allowed guarantees the success and sustainability of our business. The Group Compliance Officer as well as Internal Auditing report directly to the CFO. The Group Compliance Officer and Internal Auditing report to the Auditing Committee of the Supervisory Board regularly at each of the committee’s meetings. Symrise has an integrated compliance management system that combines sustainable, riskand value-oriented, and legal and ethical aspects and rules; we have made this into a fundamental principle for everything we do in business. We act on the basis of our understanding and conviction that adherence to these fundamental rules is an inalienable and non-negotiable component of our Symrise identity.

Our binding compliance principles are laid out in our Code of Conduct, which guides the actions of all employees. The principles apply for all countries regardless of possible conflicting cultural customs. The Code references ethical and legal challenges that can arise in the workplace, as part of business relationships or when handling information. To ensure that all compliance requirements are consistently met, the need for training is regularly determined, and appropriate training courses are implemented. In addition to training courses where employees are present on site, internet-based training is also offered.

In the interest of all employees and the company, we react swiftly to violations against our Code and rectify their causes. In the event that our ethical and legal standards are breached, the Group Compliance office has installed an Integrity Hotline that can be used by all Symrise employees to anonymously report breaches in their native language. Misconduct is consistently prosecuted in accordance with the applicable national laws.

We describe additional information on our compliance organization as well as possible risks that could affect our company on pages 137/138 and 38 of our Financial Report.

Transparency and Credibility

Transparency and credibility are the fundamental prerequisites for a functioning market economy and sustainable development. Opaque business processes and practices pose the risk of erroneous decisions and investments and can entail significant social costs. Therefore, as shown in SDG 16, there is a legitimate interest on the part of politicians, investors, customers, employees, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in the greatest possible transparency regarding the company’s business and value chain processes.

The dialogue with our stakeholders is managed and addressed partly at the corporate level and partly at the division level in conjunction with Corporate Sustainability. The Symrise Code of Conduct provides guidance here: It regulates behavior with key Symrise partners and ensures transparent and reliable processes. The selection of the stakeholders is based on the recommendations of the AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard, which we used for the first time in 2014 to reassess and evaluate our stakeholder interactions. The stakeholder analysis is to be repeated at least once a year.

A number of internal and external formats and channels enable Symrise to maintain a lively dialogue with its stakeholders. We receive important input on possible improvements via a continual dialogue with our employees, for example through regular feedback. Our strengths and weaknesses are evaluated as part of regular employee engagement surveys.

With the help of the SEDEX platform, we have also maintained close contact with numerous raw material suppliers on ethics topics since 2011. We keep our customers and investors up to date on developments within our company with road shows and innovation days.

We take the concerns of our neighbors at our sites very seriously and keep them informed via informational events and regular neighborhood newsletters. We have also established a 24/7 environmental on-call service.

We not only maintain a regular exchange of information with NGOs but have also entered into strategic partnerships – for example with the GIZ, the Rainforest Alliance or the UEBT – on specific topics, such as biodiversity, in order to generate sustainable value for society and the environment. The expectations we have gathered from our stakeholders via these interactions provide us with important stimulus and form the basis for our work.



Global diversity of species is an indispensable source of inspiration and natural raw materials for Symrise in order to continue to create new flavors and fragrances. However, non-sustainable consumption and production patterns lead to a sustained worldwide reduction in biodiversity. The essential impact of business activities on biodiversity is indirect and occurs in the supply chain – particularly during raw materials production. This potentially includes instances where our suppliers deplete natural populations or employ methods of cultivation or aquacultures that are not sustainable for soil and forestry. Impacts result at our own production sites, for example, through sealing the soil or emitting pollutants into the air or soil. Within the framework of SDG 14 and 15, specific expectations have been established for the company.

Depending on the specific topic, biodiversity is managed and addressed at Symrise partly at the corporate level and partly at the division level in conjunction with Corporate Sustainability. The Chief Executive Officer is directly briefed on biodiversity several times per year. The protection of the diversity of species is part of our environmental strategy and our environmental management. Since 2017, Symrise has been signatory of the “Business & Biodiversity Pledge” to act sustainably in accordance with the core goals of the UN Convention on Biodiversity as well as a member of the “Biodiversity in Good Company” initiative, a cross-sector alliance of companies for the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The most important lever of our company for protecting biodiversity and encouraging its sustainable use is environmental and ethically sustainable cultivation and sourcing practices. As part of our targeted intervention projects, such as in the Amazon region or in Madagascar, we are committed to preserving biodiversity directly, for example, through reforestation projects or the introduction of sustainable methods of agricultural cultivation. Our performance in the area of sustainability has been externally verified, for example, by using recognized sustainability standards in a targeted manner and by receiving certifications that explicitly account for the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity (e.g., the Rainforest Alliance or UEBT).

Symrise assesses the degree of biodiversity and ecological stress factors in the countries where our raw materials originate. We also assess the degree to which those species from which we derive our strategic raw materials could be endangered. Due to our stable customer and product portfolios, there are still a few raw materials being used that are obtained from threatened species (according to the IUCN Red List and CITES definitions). Via corresponding sustainability verifications, strict use controls, efficient production processes and the development of suitable raw material alternatives, we concentrate on avoiding and minimizing any negative biodiversity impact, and we ensure a sustainable use of these species. Symrise cannot directly monitor changes in species’ populations within ecosystems that our suppliers deem relevant for generating raw materials. However, our suppliers are enjoined to avoid or minimize potentially negative impact on biodiversity consistently.

Resource Conservation and Excellence in the Supply Chain

The impact of our activities on the environment range from the extraction and processing of raw materials to product development, production and logistics. On the one hand, we need natural resources in the form of raw materials and energy sources for our manufacturing processes. On the other hand, the contamination of air, soil and water may result from our business activities. Therefore, sustainable development goals are established within the framework of SDG 12 that respect the natural limits of the planet.

Within our environmental management system, we evaluate the entire value chain. At every site, a senior manager is responsible for environmental management. The goal is to avoid or reduce the impact of the activities, products and services on the environment through a site-specific environmental program that complies with national and local legal regulations and provisions.

Our goal is to conserve resources, consistently avoid or minimize the harmful effects on the environment, and prevent risks. Our production sites with the highest potential environmental impacts are either located in countries with strict environmental policies or operate according to an environmental management system that is ISO 14001 certified. Additionally, the SMETA 4-Pillar requirements are used as a minimum standard and regularly verified by external auditors. Furthermore, all German sites have an ISO 50001 certified energy management system.

The efficient use of raw materials is also the focus of the continuous refinement of our manufacturing processes. This encompasses, for example, the development of our own technological solutions, such as our patented SymTrap® process. This procedure allows us to fully extract flavor-active components from the byproducts of raw material processing – thereby achieving a maximum resource yield that simultaneously saves energy.

Enhanced efficiency not only has environmental implications but simultaneously cuts spending while also displaying our Symchronize™ initiative in action. We joined forces with customers to develop this integrated supply chain management system, which serves to identify areas of action and issues with the potential for reducing not just our consumption of energy, water and resources but also our emissions. Within the framework of our Total Productive Maintenance program, we involve our employees in a targeted manner and learn from their proposals.

For additional goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.

Emissions Reduction

Like other manufacturing companies, Symrise generates direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions that result in increases in the earth’s average temperature. This has far-reaching consequences for humans and nature: areas that are being desertified, an increase in floods as well as resulting famines and refugee movements. For Symrise, climate change is leading to rising energy and raw material prices as well as climate-related costs, for example, through emission certificates trading. Reputational damage could also result in the loss of business. Climate change simultaneously offers opportunities, for example, through the increased use of efficient technologies that also result in cost savings. Given the urgency of the climate dilemma, SDG 13 requires prompt measures for climate protection.

Corporate Sustainability, supported by the Sustainability Board, is responsible for the topic of emissions reduction. The Sustainability Board meets several times per year to discuss, assess and report on climate-related data and developments. The goals and programs are determined by the Sustainability Board and finally approved by the CEO. The Risk Management department assesses company-specific risks and rewards related to climate change at least once a year and reports the findings to the Executive Board.

The reduction of climate-damaging emissions is part of our environmental strategy and our environmental management (see resource conservation and excellence in the supply chain). We demonstrate our progress regarding emission reduction in a number of ways, including annual participation in the CDP independent investor initiative. Symrise compiles the CO2 emissions of its operating activities according to the internationally recognized Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Corporate Standard. We report on them according to direct emissions (Scope 1), energy-indirect emissions (Scope 2), and other indirect emissions (Scope 3).

In 2017, Symrise committed to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 17.5 % by 2030 within the framework of the Science Based Targets initiative. In addition, Symrise intends that suppliers who provide raw materials amounting to a total of at least 80 percent of their purchasing volume commit to achieving their own climate targets and reduction measures by 2020.

For additional goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.


Innovative and Sustainable Products

With our products, we provide flavor and fragrance experiences that contribute to health and well-being. Our flavors, substances, perfume oils and sensory solutions are often central functional components for our customers’ end products. The challenge is to develop products that meet the various demands and expectations of our customer base and, at the same time, are capable of generating long-lasting added value for our customers and society as a whole. In the process we actively support the achievement of the goals of health and well-being (SDG 3), sustainable consumption (SDG 12) and climate protection (SDG 13).

Symrise’s three segments each manage their own research and development (R&D) activities due to the varying requirements of their respective markets and customers. At the same time, technologies, processes and findings are made available to all segments in order to achieve synergies. Multiple R&D centers around the world ensure that the regional activities of the segments are optimally supported.

Our R&D strategy aims to connect the individual components of product development, such as market and consumer research, R&D and creation, throughout the Group. All research activities consider relevant customer, market and sustainability aspects. Through the close linkup of R&D with marketing and business units, purchasing and manufacturing, product development, quality assurance and regulatory issues, we check early on to see whether new products and technologies can be implemented and if they are profitable in addition to assessing their sustainability aspects.

Innovative and sustainable solutions for products are something we can achieve by focusing on green chemistry, natural raw materials, efficient use of resources in production, progressive technology and intelligent networking. We create a customized sustainability concept for each strategic product group. With our product sustainability scorecard, we can capture the impact of each individual ingredient of our products along the value chain. As a result, we enable our customers to select the most environmentally friendly path compared with available alternatives.

The proportion of natural raw materials in our portfolio has grown further, in particular from our acquisition of Diana. We are, however, not pursuing a complete changeover to natural raw materials. In many cases, this would have complex social and ecological repercussions. For one thing, producing synthetic ingredients generally requires less energy and water than growing, harvesting and transporting their natural equivalents. And, furthermore, the enhanced use of natural raw materials often results in competition with food production for farmland and results in a situation where monocultures pose a threat to biodiversity. Taking menthol as an example, the synthetic variant (in use at Symrise for over 30 years) has a CO2 footprint some ten times below the level of menthol derived from peppermint itself.

For additional goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.

Ensuring the Highest Quality and Product Safety

End consumers apply or consume Symrise products such as fragrances and flavorings, cosmetic active ingredients and raw materials, and functional ingredients. Health risks for people and animals can only be eliminated if the safety and consistent quality of products is the highest priority. For Symrise, quality issues would be associated with recalls and corresponding sales losses and reputational damage. Another important component of SDG 12 is the protection of health with products.

The Quality & Regulatory division organizes product safety at Symrise. Its reporting channel to the CEO is via Global Operations. Our product safety policy and good manufacturing practice form the general foundation for responsibly handling products and production processes. These guidelines serve to ensure quality in production processes and in the production environment and apply to the manufacturing of medicines and active ingredients as well as cosmetics, food and animal feed products. They are defined by the laws governing pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and foods. Many requirements apply across product groups, such as quality requirements, clear product labeling and hygiene requirements. Independent audits and recognized certifications provide us with support as we strive to reach the highest standards and provide transparent evidence for our achievements.

The environment of the global registration and regulation of chemicals has also changed significantly. The pace of change further accelerated as additional countries expanded their chemical inventories and the corresponding control mechanisms require particular precision to ensure compliance along the entire development process. Emerging markets are enacting their own laws that are oriented to the European REACH regulation. Regulatory implementations in places like Brazil, India and South Africa are so different that they cannot be handled with a standardized approach but instead require individual management and close cooperation with the supervisory agencies in the respective countries. In the EU, changes have been made to the list of flavoring substances. Restrictions on the use of 20 flavoring substances have been imposed under Directive (EU) 2017/378 and one substance has been removed from the list by Directive (EU) 2017/1250. As part of the assessment of animal feed additives, the first 150 or so flavoring substances have been included in the EU’s new positive list. The reporting obligations in connection with the reform of the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is modeled on the European chemicals directive REACH, are an example of the strong global increase in chemical control regulations. This trend will continue over the next few years as more and more countries and regions introduce control systems for the safe handling of chemicals. Customer demand for transparency initiatives increased in 2017. Our customers are expected to disclose the ingredients of their products. This is forcing the fragrance industry, which has traditionally kept its recipes secret, to rethink. Symrise has played a pioneering role at both the organizational level and directly with customers.


Responsible Sourcing

For our portfolio of approximately 30,000 products, we use some 10,000 different natural and synthetic raw materials sourced from over 100 countries. As a result, we face an array of challenges ranging from negative environmental effects from the sourcing of raw materials to protecting social standards in countries that experience, to some degree, problematic sociopolitical conditions. The reasons for this are not least because of inadequate transparency, the high level of complexity of material flows and the different objectives of the parties involved along the value chain. As a result of measures for responsible sourcing, we can contribute to the achievement of sustainable production patterns (SDG 12) as well as to the preservation of ecosystems (SDG 15).

We are constantly adapting the organizational structure of our purchasing department to the changing conditions on the market. Procurement at Symrise is organized in a decentralized manner in our segments Scent & Care, Flavor and Nutrition. This way we can manage purchasing processes in a more targeted manner and continually optimize the supply chain.

Our long-term goal is to source all our raw materials in a sustainable manner. In 2016, we developed a new Symrise sourcing policy that applies across the Group. By providing a comprehensive description of our goals, aspirations and tools, it serves primarily as a reference document for suppliers, customers and employees. We have also established specific policies for various raw materials that are exposed to high risks, such as in the case of palm oil.

We cannot solve many of the challenges in the supply chain on our own. Therefore, we increasingly rely on cooperative arrangements within the industry and approaches in which we can work together with other actors on long-term sustainable solutions. These include our memberships in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or the Sustainable Spices Initiative.

We can best pursue and maintain our goal of sustainable sourcing if we can exert direct influence on the upstream stages of our value chain. Therefore, we pursue the goal of strategic backward integration for our key raw materials. As we demonstrated in the case of vanilla production in Madagascar, we can create immediate value for all participants: We are working in a very targeted manner on the improvement and implementation of environmental and social standards through various joint projects, thus ensuring the consistent high quality of raw materials for our customers. With this integrative approach, we support local socioeconomic structures and can directly monitor compliance with our principles. For the backward integration of our supply chain, we have established corporate guidelines on due diligence and defined corresponding processes that also consider environmental and social risks.

For additional goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.

Compliance with Human Rights

The guiding principles of the United Nations for the economy and human rights explicitly emphasize business responsibility. After all, the activities of companies can have unintended negative effects on human rights. This applies above all to globally operating corporations with complex supply chains. Particularly threatened by human rights violations in supply chains are those population groups who are already marginalized in their respective countries and therefore are exposed to higher risk, such as children, women, and religious or ethnic minorities. At the same time, a precarious human rights situation also weakens companies since their success depends on a stable and predictable environment. Within the framework of SDG 8, humane working conditions are emphasized as the prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

At Symrise, Corporate Sustainability is responsible for the topic of human rights and reports on it to the Executive Board several times per year. By signing the United Nations Global Compact, we officially announced our active support for the protection of international human rights. This applies both to our own employees and to the observance of human rights at our external partners.

The Symrise Code of Conduct describes our company’s worldwide rules on the topic of human rights. The provisions are implemented worldwide in our Integrated Management System (IMS), which is based on the provisions of the SA 8000 social accountability standard. This standard is based on the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We welcome and expressly support corresponding laws against forced labor or human trafficking, such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act or the UK Modern Slavery Act. The abuse of employees’ rights or work safety provisions is illegal and is not tolerated in any form at Symrise. Independent auditing companies regularly confirm compliance with these regulations on social responsibility.

We also require our suppliers and business partners to uphold basic human rights. Before a new supplier is accepted as a business partner, it must pledge in writing that it will maintain and comply with the provisions of the Symrise Code of Conduct. The international platform of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) is a valuable tool with which we can more easily assess suppliers and deliver our own data to customers. Since 2006, we have been publishing information on working conditions and employee rights, health and safety as well as on environmental and ethical business practices via this platform. Every Symrise production site has been registered with SEDEX. Since 2012, we have requested that our most important suppliers register with SEDEX and disclose their data there. We carry out audits for suppliers that pose an especially notable risk, that have crucial raw materials or that have had problems flagged in the assessment. Furthermore, our approach to backward integration (see responsible sourcing) enables us to exert direct influence on adherence to our principles.

Since 2010, all Symrise production sites have been externally audited in three-year intervals based on the SEDEX SMETA 4-pillar standard. In addition, several customers had independent certification organizations audit selected Symrise locations according to their own standards for social aspects.

Animal Welfare

Animals serve people in various ways, for example, as livestock in meat, milk and egg production, or as test animals in scientific experiments. Improper care can lead to illnesses, pain, stress and behavioral disorders – and thereby to unnecessary suffering. In the Diana division, poultry, pork, beef and fish are essential components of pet food products. At the same time, Diana keeps its own cats and dogs for testing pet food. Irresponsible treatment could damage Symrise’s reputation among stakeholders. The sustainable coexistence of man and animal is also part of SDG 2 and 14.

The Nutrition segment manages and is responsible for the topic of animal welfare at Symrise for the most part. It reports on it to the Executive Board via the Sustainability Board several times per year. We are currently working on an animal welfare policy that would govern the treatment of animals and the sourcing of animal raw materials.

We obtain animal raw materials and byproducts exclusively from suppliers that comply at a minimum with European laws or local regulations regarding animal welfare. Here usually only byproducts of the food industry are used, thereby ensuring the utmost raw-material efficiency and reduction of food waste. Furthermore, we founded the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef together with other companies in 2015. The goal is to continually improve the value chain for beef.

The dogs and cats that are kept by the Symrise subsidiary Diana are primarily used to conduct taste tests. Many employees hold the “Certificat de capacité,” a professional certification that is issued by the French authorities and qualifies them for the responsible treatment of animals. During selection, breeds are preferred that are not susceptible to health or behavioral problems. Dogs and cats have permanent access to a small outdoor enclosure and fresh water and are fed regularly. In case of lengthy animal transportation, a special truck is used that is equipped with temperature monitoring and ventilation. In addition, veterinarians take care of the animals and, if necessary, provide them with medication. After several years, the dogs and cats are put up for adoption.


Occupational Health and Safety

Workplace accidents caused by safety lapses and work-related illnesses, for example, through stress or inadequate ergonomic workplace design, lead to individual strains and may negatively affect the motivation of individual employees or teams. They result in sick days that are expensive for the company, reducing productivity. Therefore, the consistent emphasis of our HR policy on being an employer of choice also includes caring for employee health at the workplace. By doing so, we actively support the achievement of the goals of health and well-being (SDG 3) as well as humane working conditions (SDG 8).

Our subsidiary TESIUM bundles our competence in the areas of technology, safety and the environment. It ensures that the highest environmental standards are fulfilled in all business divisions. All our sites worldwide follow obligatory Corporate Guidelines that contain an approach to the safety of systems, the protection of employees and the environment, which have been coordinated with the Executive Board. Because local situations and needs vary, the specific measures to be implemented at the individual sites are guided by on-site systems and working groups.

Issues of health and occupational safety are regulated by our Corporate Guidelines and Code of Conduct at Symrise that apply around the globe. In addition, the collective bargaining agreement, which was negotiated with the trade union IG BCE (mining, chemical and energy industrial union) and which applies to Symrise in Germany, contains regulations on workplace design and occupational health and safety. The CBA also governs the cooperation between company management, the works council and the union on matters pertaining to protecting the health of our employees.

We have arranged a comprehensive system of measures at all our sites whose written behavioral guidelines offer assistance in identifying possible hazards. The guidelines also regulate how we handle hazardous substances. A complete list of all chemicals used at a particular site, including their corresponding safety data sheets, is provided at each site in the local language. Each production site has its own occupational health and safety committee, which includes both management and other employees. All employees undergo health and safety training courses designed specifically for their given activities. The appropriate first-aid facilities are available in the event of an emergency.

The effectiveness of our measures is regularly evaluated by internal audits based on ISO 19011. Regular external audits by customers, authorities and independent certification companies further verify the constant improvement of our management systems. In addition, we have a monthly reporting system that indicates the status and performance of our occupational safety efforts. The most frequently occurring types of injuries in 2017 were bruises, fractures, irritations, chemical burns, cuts and other superficial wounds. In order to improve worldwide performance in the area of occupational health and safety, the concept of a zero-accident culture was introduced in 2017. Essential components of this program are special workshops on zero-accident culture for upper and midlevel managers as well as management safety visits for the first and second management level of the entire organization. The conduct of training to increase awareness of occupational safety will be integrated as a mandatory personal target agreement for managers beginning in 2018.

Our preventative health measures demonstrate our comprehensive approach to helping employees lead healthier lifestyles. Prior to hiring new employees, we conduct medical examinations at all our sites worldwide and initiate preventative measures such as vaccinations.

We are committed to regular training and continuing education programs on the topic of health, just as we promote diversity among the workforce and help employees balance their professional and private life. Information about healthy nutrition and healthy sleep patterns or the offering of massages rounds out these preventative measures. Through our worldwide sensitizing and intervention program “symply healthy,” we help our employees take a conscious approach to their health, for example through targeted smoking cessation programs.

For specific goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.

Facility Safety

Given the nature of the industry, the topic of facility safety at Symrise is of vital importance, especially in the local communities where our sites are located. Accidents or leakages at our facilities can result in negative effects that could pose a danger to humans and the environment. Sustainable industrialization and responsible infrastructure are important components of SDG 9.

Because local situations and needs vary, the specific measures to be implemented at the individual sites are guided by onsite systems and working groups. Our subsidiary TESIUM bundles our competence concerning the safety of our systems, thereby ensuring the protection of staff, environment and host communities in Germany. All our sites worldwide follow obligatory Corporate Guidelines that contain an approach to the safety of systems, the protection of employees and the environment, which have been coordinated with the Executive Board.

The primary goals are long-term operational safety, environmental efficiency and the profitability of production facilities. For this purpose, the Corporate Guidelines specify safety standards that apply equally to all our production sites worldwide. Our subsidiary TESIUM ensures that the facilities comply with our safety requirements. This includes the preparation of systematic safety reviews, contingency plans, safety reports, alarm and risk-prevention plans, and public information. Another important tool for this is Total Productive Maintenance. It forms a basis for cross-hierarchy teams of Symrise employees to develop new solutions and proposals.

Diversity and Equal Opportunity

As a global company with almost 9,400 employees, success in various markets is only possible if people with the most varied backgrounds regarding gender, nationality and age at a national and international level work together respectfully and learn from each other. Victims of discrimination feel hurt, unsettled and marginalized, which can lead to social withdrawal. If companies tolerate discrimination, they jeopardize the satisfaction and motivation of their employees and thereby their attractiveness in the labor market. By contrast, companies that promote diversity have been shown to benefit from more creative teams and more productive results. The inclusion of people in their diversity is an important component of SDG 8, while SDG 5 specifically emphasizes the relevance of the equal treatment of women and men.

Group Human Resources is responsible for the topic of diversity and equal opportunity. Our annual diversity reporting, which takes into account our large sites and thereby about 80 % of our workforce, documents the progress of our HR diversity policies.

Symrise consciously embraces an HR policy that views diversity in the workplace as a benefit to creativity and integrity. It includes the promotion of diversity in the workplace, the dedicated promotion of young families through a family-oriented HR policy and the compatibility of professional and private life. In 2017, the Executive Board of Symrise issued a clear commitment to the advancement of diversity.

We practice our commitment to diversity by implementing our family-oriented HR policy designed to support young women and their families, the deliberate overrepresentation of women in our Future Generation Leadership Development program and the targeted hiring of women given the same qualifications. Equal pay for both men and women is a matter of course for us. In many countries, wage agreements govern remuneration. By using pay categories, we ensure that gender-specific differences for equal work are ruled out. For those employees not covered by wage agreements, our job grade model ensures transparency and fairness of remuneration.

In parallel, by signing the “Women’s Empowerment Principles,” we have recognized the principles of equal opportunity for women around the world and established them as a guideline for all our managers worldwide. In addition, our Integrated Management System is based on the provisions of the SA 8000 social accountability standard, which is binding throughout the company. This standard is based on the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Humane working conditions, decent employment and due consideration for the social aspects of employment are the foundation for how we act at all sites.

Our at least 70 expatriates, who come from foreign countries and work for a period here in Germany, also promote the national and cultural diversity of our country.

For specific goals and results see Track Record, Goals and Measures.