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Firmenich receives first IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award

Presented at IMD’s Family Business: A Voice for Change in Sustainability Forum and Award Cermony
December 2019

Firmenich, the world’s largest privately held perfume and taste company, has won the inaugural IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award for its outstanding efforts to embed responsible practices and purpose throughout its ecosystem.

Leaders today should not only think about their careers but also their contributions, both to business and to society – contribution that is unique, durable and measurable – combining business performance and societal progress. This is how Firmenich showed a strong commitment to sustainability” said Award Director and Professor Sameh Abadir.

Patrick Firmenich, Chairman, Firmenich; Michel Firmenich, President, Family Board, Firmenich; Marie-Christine Jaeger-Firmenich, Vice-President, Family Board, Firmenich; Gilbert Ghostine, CEO, Firmenich received the pioneering award from IMD President Jean-François Manzoni, Sameh Abadir, and Pictet Managing Partner Rémy Best at IMD’s Family Business: A Voice for Change in Sustainability Forum in Lausanne.

In a world where many companies and executives are wondering whether it is possible to do well (financially) by doing good (for the world), family enterprises such as Firmenich set a fantastic example to the rest of the corporate world as trailblazers in sustainability and real impact,” said IMD President Jean-François Manzoni. “When sustainability is a core part of your organization’s purpose and strategy, and then it becomes a part of your company’s culture, the benefits in performance and broader impact speak for themselves.”

As sustainability grows in importance for businesses seeking to shape and navigate a rapidly changing world, the IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award seeks to inspire, acknowledge and motivate family-owned enterprises that strive to excel in corporate sustainability and impact.

“Firmenich’s sustainability credentials are exemplary and have been applauded by the judging panel as the company is actively delivering on its ambitious sustainability goals,” said Rémy Best, managing partner of the Pictet Group“Firmenich works with vigor and outstanding expertise to conduct its business in the most responsible way possible.”

In selecting the award winner, a jury panel of independent experts assessed how family businesses incorporate sustainability throughout their operations, from strategy, initiatives and materiality to innovation and inspiration.

On behalf of all the members of the Firmenich family, it is an honor for our company to be the inaugural winner of the IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award,” said Patrick Firmenich, Chairman of the Firmenich Board. “Since Firmenich was created in 1895, we have nurtured a unique legacy of responsible business: it’s about doing what’s right for our planet, communities and our business to thrive together.”

The jury panel said Firmenich stood out for the way it had embedded sustainability in its core business, corporate governance and its wider ecosystem with clients, suppliers, foundations, NGOs, and academic institutions. It has also placed significant importance on extensive internal and external communication about sustainability within the organization.

This award is a true tribute to my 8,000 colleagues, working as a force for good across our 100 markets with passion and dedication,” said Gilbert Ghostine, CEO, Firmenich. “It is a strong endorsement of our results to date as champions and advocates of our inclusive capitalism business model, as well as a great encouragement to keep on raising the bar.”

The inaugural 2019 award was announced during the Family Business: A Voice for Change in Sustainability Forum, a learning-focused event discussing the scope, breadth and depth of sustainability in family businesses. Symbolizing the extension of the totem pole linking heaven and earth, the award trophy was crafted by Chopard, a family-run business and expert in watches and jewellery. It was made from recycled materials in the shape of the leaf of a tree and designed as a further development to the IMD Global Family Business Award trophy. Chopard has been creating the latter for the past 20 years using the image of a tree – chosen as a symbol of family.

Committed to our ‘Journey to Sustainable Luxury’ since 2013, as a family company, all of us at Chopard are convinced of the importance of putting ethical issues at the heart of the company’s concerns. It is within these structures that the decisions which influence human relationships and future generations may be discussed with the greatest impact. True to the ties that have united us for many years at the Family Business Awards, what could be more appropriate than for the Maison Chopard to support this award ceremony, which honours those companies most involved in defending sustainability,” said Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard.

IMD and Pictet created the Sustainability in Family Business Award in 2019 to encourage and help leaders and organizations to be a force for good in the world. Family businesses are among the most proactive in this area as they are more inclined to think long-term.