A Pioneering

Until now, only paper and wood products had been certified with the globally recognized FSC certificate for protecting forests. In a joint project with one major customer, L’Oréal, Symrise has now become the first company ever to receive this certification for a liquid raw material: the raw sulfate turpentine oil, a by-product from the paper industry that is used in numerous fragrant mixtures.

The raw sulfate ­terpentine oil is produced from the industrial processing of pine.

Turpentine-based ingredients, such as citronellol, geraniol, dihydromyrcenol or linalool, are fundamental in the Perfumer’s palette. These raw materials are indeed used in no less than an average of 30 % of all Symrise fragrant mixtures sold to its customers. The basis for the material, which Symrise produces in a complex process, is a by-product from the paper industry: the raw sulfate turpentine oil. Turpentine oil is produced from the industrial processing of pine – the trees come from the southeast United States, where they have been grown in certified renewable plantations. Now, Symrise has also bridged the last gap to demonstrate that fragrance products can be proven to be sustainable: “We are the first company in the industry to have our raw sulfate turpentine oil, and hence the products made with it distinguished with the FSC certificate,” says Dale Hobson, a Vice President at Symrise’s location in Florida who is responsible for strategic raw materials.

It’s equally special that a liquid product produced in many ways from wood is being labeled with one of the most well-known certificates. “The Forest Stewardship Council, which was founded in 1993 after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, only issues its seal if strict criteria have been fulfilled,” Hobson explains. “We are very proud that this succeeded – also because it can mean a positive incentive for the entire industry in the direction of sustainability.”

The idea for the project originated in close cooperation with L’Oréal. “The company started a comprehensive sustainability program in 2014 called ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ in order to optimize its own sustainable raw materials supply: By 2020, 100 % of renewables will be sustainably sourced or derived from green chemistry,” says Claire Viola, Global Account Director L’Oréal and Symrise S&C Sustainability Board Member, who supervised the certification process for Symrise. “We have been a partner in the ‘Sharing Beauty with All’ program from its genesis. With the FSC project, we have together set out to become pioneers in this industry when it comes to sustainability.”

From the first conversation to the issuance of the certificate, the process lasted two years. “Indeed no one knew how this would work, since there were no precedents,” Dale Hobson says. “Our team in Florida worked together closely with the FSC. We explained to the certifiers how the raw sulfate turpentine oil is produced as a by-product of paper production and how sustainable it is to use this material as the basis for our molecules.” Working together, we also integrated all the stakeholders, such as the paper companies and the owners of the forests, into the project.

“These days, transparency and traceability are some of the newest and most important policies and criteria on the markets. With this FSC certification, we are contributing to improving industry standards for fragrance raw materials – in this case from pines,” says Claire Viola, and she adds, “Symrise has once again proved its strong commitment to sustainable innovation. Through this close collaboration with L’Oréal, Symrise brings value and differentiation to one of its most important customers.”

»We are the first company in the industry to have our raw sulfate turpentine oil, and hence the products made with it distinguished with the FSC certificate.«

Dale Hobson
Vice President, Strategic Materials and Business Development