D&I Spotlight of the Month | Firmenich

Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging are at the heart of everything we do at Firmenich, from recruitment through to professional development. Our definition of diversity goes beyond gender identity to include ethnicity, sexual orientation, different abilities, age, and a wide range of life experiences and backgrounds. We believe that fostering a sense of belonging within the organisation drives true progress and winning performance. The importance of providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive work environment where everyone is respected, heard, and valued has been reinforced over the last two years.


Our goal has been to create a gender-balanced organization. We believe that a diverse leadership team is critical for business success because it enables us to better understand our customer base while also attracting, retaining, and developing top talent. Women account for more than 18% of Firmenich India’s workforce, including 23% of the mid to senior level leadership positions. We also recognise our colleagues’ contributions by providing equal pay for equal work. We conduct a statistical analysis of gender pay every year to ensure that there are no pay disparities in our operations.

To support women empowerment, we run a Step Forward acceleration program to fast-track the development of key talented women and prepare them to advance in their careers. This six-month program includes external coaching sessions to work on their development areas, learning from the experience of internal female mentors from executive teams, and community events to network and support one another.


At Firmenich, each of our colleagues is unique and we endeavour to eliminate bias and inequalities. In FY22, we made Unconscious Bias training mandatory to help our colleagues understand why bias and prejudice exist, how to recognise them, and what to do if they experience them. As a forward- thinking organisation, we ensure the engagement of all our employees and empower their creativity and innovation by providing a safe and encouraging workplace in which everyone has equal opportunity. Regardless of their personal identity, the culture and platform ensure that each colleague is at ease discussing ideas, experimenting, providing feedback, and learning from mistakes.


Every year, we mark International Women’s Day with a call to action to accelerate equality for all genders and abilities, not just women. We launched an internal and external campaign to learn from inspiring colleagues of all genders and sexual orientations about overcoming gender bias. We also work constantly to raise awareness and understanding of people with disabilities, reduce unconscious bias, and create a more inclusive workplace.

Firmenich has stated its support for LGBTQIA+ equality by encouraging employees to be themselves, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. As part of our commitment, we have adopted the UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business. Efforts are made to strengthen our inclusive workplace culture through employee workshops and e-learning, as well as reinforcing our culture of respect through Firmenich’s Diversity and Belonging Policy.

“Firmenich also employs ‘sensory panelists’ who are visually impaired to evaluate flavours and smells. It’s a win-win situation because we get the advantage of their keen sensory abilities, while these gifted people develop into highly skilled sensory specialists who enjoy financial independence and social recognition in their communities,” said Satish Rao, Chairman & Managing Director, Firmenich India.


  • BELONG (D&I) STRATEGY: A global and local leadership, belong and HR team combined effort to lead D&I strategy, initiatives, and business needs.
  • OUR GLOBAL PARENTAL SUPPORT POLICY: This policy acknowledges the diversity of families and the fact that traditional gender roles are no longer the sole criteria for defining parental responsibilities. Our gender-neutral parental leave policy covers all types of families for both childbirth and adoption.
  • ALLYSHIP Program: This programme gives all employees the opportunity to become Allies in our D&I efforts. Allies receive training in all aspects of their roles and serve as ambassadors for our various initiatives.
  • MENTAL WELL-BEING TO THRIVE: One of our core corporate values and a key to our success is to support each colleague’s well-being, including their mental health. Taking care of their well-being allows them to thrive at work, in their families, and in their communities. We launched our most ambitious well-being programme yet in FY22, collaborating with Thrive Global, a company that provides behaviour change technology, to help our top leaders and line managers better manage stress, focus, and connect with their colleagues. Our Employee Assistance Program assists our team members  in  addressing  mental  health  issues through  a  secure  assistance  programme managed by professionals.
  • SMART WORKING POLICY: Introduced in 2019, this policy addresses various aspects of diversity and belonging, employees’ short and long-term needs for flexible working, part-time work, and sabbaticals.


  • EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) Certified since 2018, Firmenich achieved the level

‘Move,’ becoming the first company to do so.

  • IWEI (India Workplace Equality Index): Firmenich India was recognized as a ‘Bronze’ employer in the India Workplace Equality Index (IWEI) 2021.
  • GPTW (Great Places to Work): Since 2018, Firmenich India has been a GPTW-certified company.

Employee Testimonial for this initiative: (preferably by a diverse employee, up to 200 words) Firmenich is a welcoming workplace for women. The company not only provides generous parental leave, but colleagues also offer moral support, trust, and respect. It’s reassuring to know that they’ll be there for me through my highs and lows. They encourage passion, resilience, and hard work regardless of gender”. – Shruti Prabhu

The company culture is fantastic. They foster an environment in which employees understand the impact of their personal lives on their work. People are eager to understand, accept, and celebrate our differences. Everyone has always been supportive.” – Kamlesh Gandhi

Impact Statement: (up to 200 words)

Treating people well is what we do.

Our employees are the cornerstone of our success. Their mutual respect has a direct impact on our work, brand, and products. We’ve built a culture that values respect and dignity while also celebrating different approaches or points of view. We hire competent and motivated people and give equal opportunities to everyone because we believe that diversity drives innovation and that excellence is achieved by all of us working together.

Your advice for organizations looking forward to working in this area: (key challenges, mistakes to avoid, what worked well for you, etc. brief answer up to 300 words)

The field of diversity and inclusion has never seen such rapid change as it has in the last two years. In a biased society, we’ve learned that the more traditional diversity and inclusion (or D&I) approach is insufficient. This has aided the push for “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (or DEI). However, having a diverse workforce and promoting equity and inclusion will not be enough to foster an environment in which employees can thrive because they will occasionally feel as if they do not belong. Workplace belonging adds to the DEI equation by promoting psychological safety and genuine inclusion. As a result, creating a workplace environment that values diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is critical for success, and it must be implemented and encouraged from the top down as well as from the bottom up.