engage your senses

Madagascar: on the clove leaf trail

Trekking to the remote parts of Madagascar sounds like a great job, doesn’t it? For our field teams, however, these trips are serious missions that help forge strong and fruitful relationships with the island’s producers of clove leaf oil, an essential ingredient for so many of our inspirational flavours and fragrances.  

Clove leaf transport

For centuries, Madagascar has been a rare source of precious natural ingredients, including such riches as pepper, anise and vanilla. Of the many aromas and flavours to be found in the island’s exotic flora is the warm, spicy smell of clove, which has attracted spice traders since ancient times. Today, however, many of these crops are under pressure – as are the people who produce them.

At Givaudan, we use the oil of the clove leaf to create flavours and fragrances that engage people’s senses, and through our direct collection network we are establishing links with the people and communities who produce the clove leaf oil in Madagascar.

Our field teams travel the region, often to the most remote corners, to visit and buy direct from farmers, distillers and producer associations. By taking the time to get to know the local producers, we are able to build trust and work together to ensure the long-term future of the essential oil.

“If our collection network works, it is mainly because of the human relationship with producers that is developed and nurtured by our local Givaudan team. Through our regular visits and discussions with clove leaf oil producers that go beyond simply purchasing essential oil, we are able to develop strong ties and deeper trust. This in turn enables us to foster the long-term future of the supply of this key raw material,” says Renaud, General Manager Givaudan Madagascar.

Our clove leaf oil collection network achieved a first fair trade certification in 2016, showing our commitment to fair and ethical trading relationships. Meanwhile, we continue to work with producer communities in other ways to improve their quality of life and preserve their local natural environment. For example, we are running a natural resources preservation project to replant trees that are used as firewood in the distillation process. With the help of an NGO, over 20 producer associations planted 86,000 trees in 2016.

To further support local value creation and security of supply, we recently opened a transformation plant in Madagascar where the clove leaf oil gathered by the network is processed rather than exported in its crude form for transformation elsewhere. The NATEMA (Natural Extracts Madagascar) plant is a joint venture with our longstanding local partner Henri Fraise Fils. 

Together with the collection network and the transformation facility, we will contribute to the development of a constant supply of clove oil and its derivatives, both in terms of quality and quantity, generating new value for our business, suppliers and customers.