About 70,000 families depend on the vanilla production in Madagascar, owning 80% of the world market share for vanilla. Even if vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron, a lot of vanilla producers live with insufficient means of subsistence and sometimes drop vanilla production for subsistence crops.
In 2017, a new Solidarity Sourcing project was launched with the Fragrance House Mane, a local NGO called Fanamby and farming communities, for its purchases of vanilla.
The brand Armani, which uses Bourbon vanilla in many of its fine fragrances (Sí women’s fragrance collection, Stronger with you for men…) has played a crucial role in developing this project. The brand is taking action on the ground to help organize the sector and make it sustainable.
The aim is to develop a sustainable, traceable, high-quality supply chain, which respects the integrity of natural ecosystems and contributes to improving quality of life for farming communities living in the protected area of Loky Manambato. Loky Manambato is a mountainous region, sheltering humid and dry forests highly exposed to brush fires, logging and clearing, as well as degraded peatlands suffering from erosion and climate change. The biodiversity in this area is exceptionally rich: 3,500 species coexist, including 1,773 plant species, 75 reptile species and 10 lemur species.
In 2019, the project counted 261 farmers divided in two associations, who have been able to benefit from training on responsible farming practices and from fair pay. By end of 2020, the goal is to raise yields and improve the quality of vanilla, while doubling the number of farmers involved in the project and promoting reforestation initiatives in the production area.
Ambition Carbon Balanced
In parallel, in the framework of the Carbon Balanced Program, L’Oréal has developed reforestation activities by working with the additional technical expertise of the French NGO Nitidae. 213.8 additional hectares of firm ground and mangroves will be reforested within the protected area Loky Manambato. The objective is to generate 31,296 tons of CO2 gains by end of 2020. It is expected that at least 30% of smallholder farmers living in the area will benefit from increased incomes, thanks to the forest conservation activities.