Sustainable cosmetics from the rainforest

Symrise champions biodiversity in the Amazon region, with research into raw materials from the region for scent and care products

Symrise supports sustainable agriculture in the Amazon region and launched a three-year project in October 2017 that will help farmers to improve their products and to diversify.

To do so, Symrise has partnered up with the Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The goal of this project, alongside protection of the local rainforest, is to significantly improve value creation for the local farmers and cooperatives.

The Amazon region is known for its biodiversity. Eighty percent of the flora and fauna of Brazil can be found here. It stretches across almost two-thirds of Brazil – for now.

But continued deforestation and the not yet sustainable use of natural resources are threatening this unique marvel of nature. Large swaths of natural vegetation have been lost in the past decades.

Symrise wants to counteract this and has launched a program, supported by the governmental department for development aid, to protect the Brazilian rainforest.

The company has teamed up with the Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) for this project.

They are working to support sustainable agriculture in the Amazon region. The idea is to restore the natural vegetation along the Trans-Amazonian Highway and in the Northeastern Pará and Ponta do Albuna regions through changed cultivation of the land and reforestation measures.

The farmers and cooperatives will learn how to cultivate the land more effectively with the help of the latest technology. This will increase their yields and allow them to stabilise their livelihoods through a higher income.

The result is therefore sustainable for the people and the environment.

Increased profitability through expertise and technology

In the past, sustainable methods were not sufficiently competitive to offer the local farmers an economic
alternative to the extensive cultivation and deforestation of the forests.

Cooperatives that have used this type of cultivation tend to focus on individual products or try to make parts of the manufacturing process sustainable.

The Symrise project therefore aims to make the entire value chain profitable. This had hardly been possible for farmers and small farms because they did not have adequate technical equipment or management support.

Symrise and Natura are therefore providing the cooperatives with technical equipment and management expertise on site. The GIZ will train the farmers in Brazil and handle government aid.

Setting new standards

Everyone benefits from this project. Customers in purchasing countries want sustainably produced raw materials.

Companies that import products from the Amazon region are therefore looking to fulfil not only sustainability standards but also better standards for quality.

The 14 partners in the local cooperatives, which more than 1,000 families depend on, should also be able to increase their sales by 20 percent and gain certification from the Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT).

At the same time, the partners are supporting the reuse of materials by developing new products from side streams. Symrise is involved in this project in order to protect the rainforest, but it is also connected to the expansion of existing business models.

The changed cultivation of the land helps to build sustainable value creation in the cosmetics industry. The company combines protecting biodiversity with researching raw materials for scent and care – in harmony with nature.

“It is important to involve all potential parties in this project. Reshaping and improving the technical expertise and processes in the communities is a huge opportunity for everyone,” says Adelino K. Nakano, Regional Innovation Director at Symrise.

Featured Companies

Symrise (more information, website)

See also