Sustainable Cosmetics from the Rainforest with Symrise and Natura

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

Known for its biodiversity, 80 percent of the flora and fauna of Brazil can be found in the Amazon region. Stretching across almost two-thirds of Brazil, continued deforestation and the use of natural resources are threatening this unique marvel of nature. Large swaths of natural vegetation have been lost. Symrise wants to counteract this and has launched a program, supported by the governmental department for development aid, to protect the Brazilian rainforest. Symrise has teamed up with the Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer Natura and the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) to launch this project. 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 stabilize their livelihoods through a higher income. The result will be sustainablilty for the people and the environment.

 Increased profitability through expertise and technology

In the past, sustainable methods were insufficiently 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 and try to make parts of the manufacturing process sustainable. The Symrise project aims to make the entire value chain profitable. This had not been possible for farmers and small farms before because they did not have adequate technical equipment nor management support. Symrise, together with Natura, aims  to provide 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

This is a win-win for all. Customers in purchasing countries want sustainably produced raw materials. Companies that import products from the Amazon region are looking to fulfill sustainability standards, as well as raising standards for quality. The fourteen partners in the local cooperatives, which more than 1,000 families depend upon, 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 aims to protect the rainforest, while expanding the existing business models. The changed cultivation of the land will help build sustainable value creation in the cosmetics industry. Symrise protects biodiversity while 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.


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