At grassroots level Firmenich encourages employees to take the initiative in sustainable projects through green teams. For example in 2008 the company launched a green team at its London office to reduce its carbon footprint. At Princeton, New Jersey, a green team promoted awareness of ‘reducing, reusing or recycling’ waste, while in Geneva employees launched the MUDA project (MUDA is a Japanese word for any activity that is wasteful). The goal was to come up with a system that could generate cost savings from processes. More than 200 ideas were submitted.
To address many of the economic, social, health and environmental issues facing farmers in Uganda, Firmenich created the Sustainable Ugandan Vanilla Project in 2007. The project has established fair pricing agreements with farmers, invested heavily in improved vanilla processes, implemented quality management systems, provided training workshops, implemented farm diversification projects on sweet potatoes and chickens, established Village Savings and Loans associations with the charitable organisation CARE, provided 4,500 mosquito nets and supported information campaigns about malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Firmenich is supporting an education project for children in the Indian slums of Hyderabad and Mumbai through a partnership with the social sector organisation Naandi. Firmenich provides nutritious foods fortified with vitamins, minerals and tasty flavours.
Firmenich’s new Creation and Development Centre in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is committed to the social development by offering professional experience to students from the poorest communities. Known as Jovem Cidadao or Young Citizens candidates are chosen from public schools to come to the centre for six months to learn, develop and prepare for future professional lives. In 2010 and 2009 more than 40 adults have enrolled.