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DSM in Personal Care & Aroma Ingredients

ALPAFLOR® Sustainability

Fair Trade certification ensures ethical production

Sustainability and fair trade are the cornerstones of the ALPAFLOR® philosophy. Our production site in Switzerland focuses on organically cultivating and taking extracts from rare medicinal and aromatic Alpine plants. It is a beacon of sustainability throughout the entire supply chain.  

Sustainable across the value chain

80% of consumers want companies to embrace sustainability, and DSM’s unique network guarantees a reliable, fair, and sustainable supply of Alpine plants. We collaborate with a botanist, a mountain farmers’ cooperative, and the agricultural research center Agroscope. The latter is an expert in cultivating Alpine plants that have never been grown before. Once they have established a new species we work jointly on the agricultural aspects, i.e. the choice of terrain, planting distances, and harvest dates. The production site in Vouvry follows the green chemistry principles and has achieved a 40% reduction in water use across the whole ALPAFLOR® range since 2007. It also produces zero chemical waste and have a minimal CO2 footprint, as the field is less than an hour away from our factory.

DSM’s main aim is to promote sustainable agriculture in remote mountain regions, so that our producers can earn a good income from a small area of land and continue living in rural Switzerland. The cooperative finalizes contracts with its clients at the start of the season to guarantee exclusivity and peace of mind for the farmers. DSM is involved in all stages of development, so we can guarantee total traceability, from seed to extract, to all our customers.

Fair Trade

For DSM, fair trade means a long-term commitment to ethical pricing, creditable working conditions, agricultural education, and sustainability for farmers. So we were delighted when all 12 of the ALPAFLOR® products produced at our site in Vouvry in the Swiss canton of Valais were awarded Fair Trade certification according to the Fair for Life standard.

There are seven key criteria for companies operating in accordance with Fair for Life certification:

  • Committing to fairness by ensuring the company’s business model uses fair practices with a fair pricing policy and a respectful dialogue with its suppliers
  • Respecting human rights and offering decent working conditions to improve the lives and well-being of workers and their families
  • Respecting the environment, biodiversity and climate by progressively implementing sustainable agricultural practices and encouraging conversion to organic farming
  • Promoting sustainable local development by identifying challenges and creating development projects adapted to local contexts in collaboration with local farmers
  • Creating solid foundations for business partnerships through a progressive approach to improve the structure and longevity of supply chains
  • Providing everybody in the supply chain with democratic representation and collective bargaining capacity to develop their economic opportunities
  • Enabling consumers to make informed purchase decisions through transparent communication and physical traceability of certified ingredients1

Traditionally, Fair Trade collaborations follow the North-South divide, with organizations in the Global North promoting fairness for farmers in the Global South. Here at DSM, we have made the decision to also support farmers living in the Global North. After all, farmers in the Swiss mountains still have to be able to hold their own in competitive economic conditions.2