Under the skin of the world’s best bean
L’Heure Bleue, Obsession, Opium, Shalimar… these iconic, exotic fragrances owe much of their appeal to the warm, soft and indulgent notes of vanilla. The sweet scent of the world’s favourite bean has a familiar aroma that is indulgent and luxurious. However, its popularity among consumers also means that supplies of natural vanilla must be carefully stewarded if we are to ensure its supply over the long-term.
A complex web of suppliers
Almost 80% of the world’s vanilla is sourced from Madagascar, where it is produced and collected from many villages in a complex supply chain that often involves several intermediaries. This fragile industry depends on small groups of producers, which is why it is even more essential to ensure traceability along the supply chain. By joining all producers together to reach the same goals, we can guarantee that this delicious bean is being sourced, grown and harvested in an ethical, sustainable way.
Walk the vanilla road
Our vanilla is ethically sourced
This is why vanilla is included in Givaudan’s ethical sourcing programme, which focuses on a selection of special ingredients that are not only precious, but widely used. In Madagascar, we work directly with Malagasy vanilla farmers to help improve the yield and quality of their vanilla crop. We have an exclusive partnership with a local supplier Henri Fraise Fils who has been curing and exporting Malagasy vanilla since 1911. As part of our partnership with Henri Fraise, we pay premiums for quality, and offers vanilla planting and curing advice.
The best possible bean
By working hand in hand with our suppliers, we can also be sure that we constantly enhance the quality of vanilla used in our flavor and fragrance creations. Not only does sourcing vanilla in this way help ensure future supplies, but the use of technology and organic farming practices have also secured traceable and certifiable supplies of vanilla – both topics of considerable importance to customers.
The future smells sweet
However, it’s not just the bean we look after; it’s the villagers, too. They represent a prized source of knowledge, with age-old techniques, and we believe it essential to preserve their livelihoods and their industry now, and for future generations. To ensure the entire community benefits from the industry, our programme includes an educational aspect, whereby we help renovate and build schools.
Sustainable actions such as these are a result of our ‘Ethical Sourcing’ programme, whereby we selected special ingredients to protect and nurture over the long term. This programme recognises the importance of maintaining the world’s supplies of unique raw materials such as vanilla, but also including lavender, ylang ylang, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, benzoin and tonka bean. By operating sustainable business models involving people, products, environment and society, the future of these resources can blossom.
Facts about vanilla
- Vanilla is the world’s most popular scent and taste.
- Vanilla is part of the orchid family and the plants are pollinated by hand.
- It takes up to nine months to produce the perfect vanilla pod.
- This little bean put Madagascar on the map, opening the world’s main trade routes.
- As part of our ethical sourcing vanilla programme, which encompasses 2,000 villagers and their families, we have built or repaired 14 schools.