We substantially expanded our competencies in the past year and tapped into new growth fields. Now we must focus on connecting these new application areas with the traditional ones. That is why we are pushing interconnectedness across all levels – with our customers, suppliers and of course within the company. We also managed to expand our market position in every region and have further built upon the extensive trust that customers already had for us. Here, we always keep the twin ideals of sustainability and economic success in view. At the same time, we bolstered our portfolio, both in terms of content and regions, so that we can better react to the political and economic uncertainties in some countries. Last, but not least, we strengthened our innovative abilities via cooperation within the company and with external partners.
Not too long ago, we were strictly considered a supplier of fragrances and flavors. Today, we cover a much larger spectrum of products that optimally complement one another. With the acquisition of the French company Diana, with whom we have just completed our first full fiscal year together, we were not only able to increase sales, but also expanded our range of offers to cover the entire family. By adding baby food and key ingredients for pet foods, we now serve completely new consumer groups and market segments. We are also using Dianaʼs broad range of natural, sustainably grown raw materials for many joint projects.
We now have access to an extensive palette of fragrances made from renewable raw materials. It also gave us entry into new product areas. At the same time, we could strengthen important competencies, like oral care, where we were already the established market leader. We also tightly link these new developments to our more traditional segments. For instance, we combine active ingredients for cosmetics with our perfume compositions, as well as probiotics with oral care products, or use functional ingredients in foods. All these combinations open up new segments for us. Here, we rely on the innovative strength of our employees, who cooperate across departments, divisions and continents. This increases our diversity and lets us continue growing faster than the market for fragrances and flavors.
We have always maintained a trusting relationship with our customers. These companies produce foods, perfumes and cosmetics with our products. In recent years, we have worked even more closely with them. This means engaging with them at even earlier stages in projects and developing solutions in even closer cooperation. This starts at the innovation phase and continues well beyond the stage of process optimization. Furthermore, we have expanded our market research so we now better understand consumer wishes and needs. The result is more refined solutions in product development.
»We work even more closely with our customers, engage with them at even earlier stages in projects and develop solutions in even closer cooperation.«
By constantly assessing every step along the value chain in view of this aspect. That starts with the raw materials. We source them from around the world and often from less developed nations. Take vanilla for example. Here, we ensure that the farmers are paid a fair price for their goods and that environmental aspects are considered in the growing process. We also ensure that absolutely no child labor occurs. Over the past ten years, we have been committed to improving education and healthcare in Madagascar, where our vanilla is grown. We have established production facilities there that meet the environmental standards of the developed world. More than 30,000 people depend on Symrise for their livelihood there. Something similar is being developed in the Amazon region in Brazil. We established a site in the rainforest that researches new, sustainable raw materials for perfumes in close cooperation with Brazil’s top cosmetics manufacturer Natura. At the same time, many families in the region are benefiting from our commitments there.
We want to continue achieving sales and earnings growth between 5 and 7 % and a profit margin between 19 and 22 % through 2020. These are ambitious goals. Achieving them will require us to continue building on the three pillars of our corporate strategy: growing together with select customers and in clearly defined markets, improving the efficiency of our processes and sustainably expanding our portfolio through acquisitions and investments in companies wherever this makes sense. Furthermore, we will reduce our CO2 emissions, wastewater and other sensitive wastes by a third through the constant refinement of our processes by 2020. We have multiple teams that are focused on achieving these goals. The international non-profit organization Carbon Disclosure Project had good reasons for ranking us as the leading company in the Energy and Materials sector for the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region and MDAX® last year. It also placed us among the top 100 companies in the world for our transparency and activities in this area.