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2017 was a year of strategic breakthroughs for Firmenich, driven by cutting-edge innovation, award-winning creation and reinforced leadership in sustainability.



Fiscal year 2017 (FY17) was a year of strategic achievements for Firmenich.

Firmenich recorded 3.34 billion Swiss francs (CHF) in net sales, an increase of +4.4% in CHF versus the previous year. With all its Business Units posting steady growth, the Group further consolidated its number one position in Fine Fragrance and Ingredients.

Taking its legacy of excellence forward, the Company evolved its Board of Directors, starting with the appointment of Patrick Firmenich as Chairman of the Board and Barbara Kux as Vice-Chair. The Company also welcomed two new board members: Richard Ridinger, CEO of Lonza, and Pierre Bouchut, COO of Ahold Delhaize.


Firmenich reinforced its commitment to Geneva, Switzerland this year, as it announced over CHF 160 million (m) investments. The Group inaugurated its new cutting-edge Perfumery Plant in November, representing a CHF 60m and announced its intention to invest over CHF100m to create a campus of excellence in Geneva with a world-class research facility by 2020. In parallel, to support its international growth, Firmenich opened new facilities in Nigeria, Korea, Mexico, Singapore and the United States this year.


Firmenich’s growth was fueled by leading innovation and creativity in many ways this year.

In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and its commitment to the United Nations Global Compact‘s 10 principles, Firmenich put its innovation to work to address key societal challenges, such as hygiene and sanitation, health and nutrition, and climate change.

To address today’s sanitation crisis, the Company successfully launched breakthrough technologies that effectively counter malodor, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to reinvent toilets at the base of the pyramid.

To enable responsible nutrition solutions, Firmenich advanced its leading taste modulation technologies to reduce sugar, salt, and fat without compromising on taste. The Company estimates that its solutions removed 100,000 metric tonnes of sugar, equivalent to 500 billion calories, from its customers’ food and beverage brands this year.

Gaining traction with its pioneering bio-based ingredients, the Group reached significant growth with its latest molecule Ambrox® Super, building on the success of Clearwood®. Beyond their unique olfactive profiles, these molecules deliver optimized environmental performances.


Strengthening its prestigious circle of world-class creators, Firmenich proudly appointed two perfumers, Nathalie Lorson and Tony Reichert, as Master Perfumers, recognizing their iconic body of work and legacy in developing the Company’s next generation of talent.

The Group’s creativity was further celebrated by the industry this year when Harry Frémont was honored with the Fragrance Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In France, Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin was named Perfumer of the Year by Cosmétiquemag for his best-selling creations and mastery of Firmenich’s natural ingredients.


Recognizing the Group’s leadership in responsible sourcing in Indonesia, Firmenich was honored to receive the country’s Presidential Award, acknowledging its positive impact in enhancing the livelihoods of patchouli farming communities.

The Group acquired a majority stake in Essex Laboratories this year to lead in natural mint solutions. With a common commitment to responsible sourcing, Firmenich and Essex combine their unique innovation to deliver top-quality sustainable and traceable mint.

To build the most sustainable and traceable value chain for its natural ingredients, Firmenich hosted its third Naturals Together event in Singapore. Working hand in hand with its partners at the source, key experts, and customers, the Company harvests its most pristine ingredients from nature sustainably.


The Company advanced its leadership in environmental management this year, achieving industry-leading ratings from agencies that rank companies’ environmental performance. With EcoVadis, the Group ranked in the top 1% of all companies, while with CDP, Firmenich joined its “A List” for the third consecutive year, and was named Best Supply Chain Company in the “Switzerland, Germany, and Austria” region. Confirming its commitment to combating climate change, the Company participated in the Marrakech COP22 and signed the Cancun Business and Biodiversity Pledge.

Firmenich’s commitment to environmental sustainability was evidenced by the launch of its new cutting-edge Léman Perfumery Plant in Geneva. While the building and implementation of the manufacturing site came with numerous challenges, it is today fully operational with a 90% compounding automation rate, optimized environmental footprint, and 100% use of renewable energy. Also, in partnership with the local government in China, the Group hosted the groundbreaking of its new flavor plant in Zhangjiagang, designed to operate according to the highest sustainability standards.


As co-chairs of World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)’s Sustainable Lifestyles Cluster, alongside Procter & Gamble, Firmenich played an active role in the ReNEWW House project. The Company also joined FReSH, the Food Reform for Sustainability and Health initiative, launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Furthermore, as a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), the Group contributed to the pledge of US$15 million to support innovative sanipreneurs who are reinventing the business model of toilets across India and Africa.

Firmenich was acknowledged for its leadership in responsible business with the Better Society Network’s Ethical Business Award 2017 and the Swiss Chamber of Commerce People Focus Award in Singapore. The WBCSD also distinguished Dr. Bérangère Magarinos-Ruchat, the Group’s Vice President Sustainability Partnerships, with its Leading Women Award, for advancing the UN SDGs.

Discover more about this year’s highlights in the Firmenich Performance and Sustainability Report FY17.
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