Like fine wine, the longer you distill the languorously smoky roots of the native Indonesian grass vetiver, the richer the aroma. Related to lemongrass, vetiver invokes images of freshly tilled soil and chopped wood. Popular in male perfumery for these strong earthy overtones, it is in huge demand and implementing sustainable farming methods is essential for its future supply.
More than 50% of the world’s vetiver (all from ‘Vetiveria zizanioides’) supply is produced in Haiti. Although it is also grown in Indonesia, India, Brazil, Madagascar, the Haitian variety is finer, more balanced and multi-faceted. Originally used in agriculture to fight soil erosion, vetiver emerged in the 18th century as an elegant scent for male perfumes.
For every bottle of perfume
In Haiti, thousands of families in Haiti directly uphold the traditional craft of vetiver cultivation. By partnering with Agri-Supply and encouraging the creation a cooperative made up of hundreds of Haitian growers from the Massey, Faucault and Bazelais villages, Givaudan was able to provide local farmers and distillers with pricing and infrastructure benefits, while strengthening the supply chain. These included guaranteed minimum prices, regular technical support and environmental best practices for harvesting and distilling processes. The vetiver oil produced with roots from the villages is now Ecocert Organic and fair trade certified, ensuring sustainable stewardship of the land.
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The road to a better future
The cooperative also benefits from a development fund, financed by Givaudan and Agri-Supply. By using the fund to repair a road that served these three villages, vetiver can be transported more quickly to the distillery. Social benefits have arisen, too: for example, pregnant women can now reach medical attention in time for birth. By strengthening the connection between the three villages, and local people now have easier access to the region’s infrastructures and amenities.
Facts about vetiver
|150 kg of roots of vetiver is required to make just 1 kg of essence|
|Smoky, hay-like odour|
|Roots must reach at least 1 metre to be harvested|
|It takes 12 months to grow|
|Haiti produces over 50% of the world’s vetiver supply|
Responsible sourcing programme
We have always shown leadership in responsible sourcing, traceability, and transparency to meet our customer, consumer and environmental needs and expectations; Givaudan was the first in the flavours and fragrances industry to publish a responsible sourcing policy. Sourcing4Good is based on collaboration and knowledge-sharing, experience and expert input from suppliers, customers and partners.