SCIENCE & RESEARCH
Biodiversity concerns everyone
Symrise is committed to analyzing its own business activities in terms of their environmental compatibility and to promoting and implementing science-based goals for nature and biodiversity.
The earth’s biodiversity is not in good shape. According to a UN report published in 2019, about one million of an estimated eight million animal and plant species that exist worldwide are threatened with extinction. This in turn threatens the stability and functionality of ecosystems worldwide and reduces their capacity to provide humans with essential natural resources and ecological services. These include food, clean water, fertile soil, pollination, pest control and climate regulation. For a long time, it has not just been scientists who have been warning that the massive loss of biodiversity is at least as threatening to humans as climate change. As a company dependent on nature’s ecological benefits and inspired by nature’s diversity and aesthetics, Symrise understands that unspoiled nature, biodiversity and functioning ecosystems are guarantees for human well-being and sustainable business. According to the latest scientific knowledge, without concentrated efforts, the current trends could lead to considerable losses in prosperity as well as to social and economic upheavals because the increasing demand from a growing world population for natural resources and ecosystem services is accompanied by nature’s declining capacity to provide these services adequately. Symrise is meeting this challenge by working together with stakeholders from science, politics, civil society and like-minded companies in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to develop and implement science-based goals for nature.
REGENERATING NATURE In this context, science-based goals are binding, measurable, applicable and time-limited goals based on the latest scientific findings that are intended to ensure that the economy and society are transformed in such a way that a world population of around 10 billion people in 2050 can live and operate sustainably within the earth’s natural carrying capacity.
“While there is already an internationally recognized, science-based goal in the area of climate, we are still in the early stages when it comes to nature and biodiversity,” says Sascha Liese, Group Sustainability department at Symrise. “Fundamentally, the aim is to halt the loss of nature and biodiversity on land and in the water as immediately as possible and to ensure that nature is fully regenerated by 2050. This is a Herculean task that cannot be accomplished without effective contributions from the business community,” Sascha continues.
We must work to make the entire value chain environmentally friendly.”
Sascha Liese, Manager Corporate Sustainability
CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS According to the WBCSD, the food and consumer goods industry will play a significant dual role here as a major contributor to the global natural crisis and as indispensable problem solver in the future. Companies like Symrise are therefore required to avoid and minimize negative impacts on nature, to work for the regeneration and restoration of nature and to advance contributions to a fundamental transformation of those business models and markets that harm nature.
According to Sascha, clear instructions can be derived from this. “In addition to climate change, the main drivers of global nature loss include pollution, the spread of invasive species, the overexploitation of natural resources and the degradation or destruction of habitats and ecosystems. Therefore, companies are faced with the task of analyzing and assessing all business activities to determine whether they directly or indirectly reinforce or mitigate the drivers of biodiversity loss,” he explains. But which of the business activities of Symrise specifically contribute to the increasing loss of nature and biodiversity? “What is clear is that we must continue to work together with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to make the entire value chain environmentally compatible,” clarifies Sascha. Some examples are higher resource productivity, product biodegradability or consistently avoiding and reducing pollutant emissions into water, soil and the atmosphere. The same applies to promoting sustainable cultivation methods for agricultural and forestry raw materials, ecologically optimizing the associated cultivation systems and sustainably using biological resources from wild harvesting, which should in principle only be consumed to the extent that they can grow again.
Effective contributions to implementing science-based goals for nature have long since been demanded from companies, not only by NGOs, scientists and politicians, but increasingly also by customers and the capital market. “I am confident that Symrise will meet the increased expectations of its stakeholders for a sustainable approach to nature,” Sascha concludes.