Shaping tomorrow’s signature fragrances with science

  • A new approach
  • Zurich Innovation Centre video
  • Sustainability at our core
  • FiveCarbon Path™
  • FiveCarbon Path™ video
  • Innovating safely
  • Fragrance captives
A new approach

Raw materials are a vital part of a perfumer’s toolkit and many of these are molecules. Despite their invisible nature, these tiny bundles of atoms pack a powerful punch: they revolutionised the industry when they were discovered in the 19th century, paving the way for a new approach to fragrance creation.

Today, Givaudan continues to use cutting-edge chemistry and biotechnology to develop pioneering molecules to complement our palette of Naturals. This not only helps our customers to launch distinctive, high-performing products; it also opens up new opportunities for sustainable innovation.

Our fragrance molecule signatures

Fragrance molecules play a starring role in some of the world’s most famous fine fragrances. They also appear in many much-loved consumer products, from laundry detergents to shampoos. Fragrance molecules allow brands to create new signature scents. Unique and instantly recognisable, these so-called ‘imprinting smells’ help to enhance the emotional connection with consumers and can increase brand loyalty.

At Givaudan, we strive to bring new, cutting-edge technologies to our customers. That's why we invest 10% of our sales into Innovation.

Endless opportunities for development

To give our customers’ fragrance products the edge, our Science and Technology team works determinedly to develop new captive ingredients for our perfumers to create new olfactive signatures for Givaudan. Our scientists at our two research innovation centres in Zurich and Shanghai synthesise nearly 2,000 new molecules every year. Only a small number of these end up in our perfumers’ palette, based on a rigorous selection process involving performance and tests for human and environment safety. We have patented over 150 new molecules and processes in the past 20 years. 

    Zurich Innovation Centre video

    Discover our Zurich Innovation Centre

    Sustainability at our core

    Sustainability at our core

    Sustainability remains a top priority for us in fragrance creation. A new comprehensive guide of our fragrance ingredients is now available in the form of a Sustainability Profile. This catalogue encompasses more than 200 ingredients; each one measured against nine sustainability parameters, presenting their individual performance. We invite you to discover our palette of ingredients, from a sustainability perspective, below.

    Download the Fragrance Ingredients Sustainability Profile

    FiveCarbon Path™

    FiveCarbon Path™

    Reflecting our commitment to responsible innovation, FiveCarbon Path™ is our unique sustainability ambition for developing new molecules. It is based on five measurable targets:

    • increasing our use of renewable carbon,
    • maximising our use of biodegradable carbon,
    • increasing carbon efficiency in synthesis,
    • increasing the odour per carbon ratio and
    • maximising our use of upcycled carbon. 

    This approach which brings together innovation and sustainability in a measureable way is unique not only to our creation process, but also in the entire industry.

    FiveCarbon Path™ video

    What is FiveCarbon Path™?

    Innovating safely

    Safe by Design

    Through our Safe by Design initiative, we are leading the industry away from animal testing, while at the same time speeding up the testing process. The programme includes our OECD validated KeratinoSens®, a leading non-animal test for skin sensitisation, and PebitoSens™, a combination of in vitro methods for bioaccumulation and acute fish toxicity which involves testing fish cells and enzymes rather than living fish.

    We also developed the Kinetic DPRA, a non-animal test to predict the potency of allergic reactions in the skin, and validated it in partnership with the chemical company BASF and other institutions. This battery of tests allows us, not only to create new molecules, but also ones that are safe for customers, while replacing animal testing. We are deeply committed to innovating safely and researching new scientific ways that enhance the lives of consumers around the world.

    Biotechnology of the future

    Biotechnology holds enormous potential for carving out a more sustainable future for perfumery and for our planet. At Givaudan, it has already led to some extraordinary innovations. For example, we can now use green chemistry including a biotransformation step to produce the biodegradable ingredient Ambrofix® from sustainably sourced sugar. This results in 100% renewable carbon, in line with our FiveCarbon Path™, and uses far less land compared to the traditional production method starting from clary sage. Akigalawood® is another example of a raw material we achieved to produce through biotechnology and a ground-breaking and environmentally friendly process.

    Read about a new biotechnology approach for ambrofix

    Fragrance captives

    Our signature captive molecules



    Rosyfolia® is a floral, rosy, geraniol note with an elegant, fruity airiness. Versatile, comforting and diffusive, it gives perfumers a new perspective on petally radiance.


    Mahonial® is a green muguet note bringing floral density to creations with magnolia facets. 


    Versatile and diffusive, Nympheal® blends fresh, floral creaminess with linden blossom facets. We developed it as part of our ongoing programme to engineer future-proof muguet molecules.


    With a spicy, woody olfactive signature, Akigalawood® is radiant and room-filling, with woody facets of patchouli and agarwood.


    Pomelol® is a fresh juicy, green citrus floral note, with a trendy grapefruit connotation and a soft peony undertone.


    Ebelia® has a fruity, grapefruit, juicy scent with a touch of cassis.