Givaudan may not be a recognizable brand name, but their fragrances and flavors are included in most of the products people use every day. “Givaudan is touching you with our flavor and fragrances 10 times a day,” said Cosimo Policastro, Executive Vice President of Fine Fragrances at Givaudan. “You just don’t know it.”
As the global leader in the fragrance and flavor industry, Givaudan develops the scents and flavors used in food and beverages, household goods, and grooming and personal care products.
Since the company relies greatly on the senses, it was natural for their fragrances division to build a partnership with Lighthouse International. “We felt that the sense of smell, both creatively and in terms of education, could naturally link with people who are visually impaired,” said Felix Mayr-Harting, Global Head of Fine Fragrances at Givaudan.
This relationship, which began after a Givaudan executive volunteered at the Lighthouse, inspired the fragrances division to make vision impairment their global initiative. “We made a commitment last year that vision impairment was a cause we wanted our people to embrace,” said Felix Mayr-Harting. “Givaudan has a tremendous amount to learn from vision impairment.”
Through research efforts with Lighthouse International, Givaudan is exploring ways in which the sense of smell can help people who are visually impaired. “The idea of recognizing objects or colors through an associated smell would be a helpful tool to navigate,” said Cosimo Policastro. “If you have trouble distinguishing blue from grey, and you assigned a scent to those objects, you can go through the process of getting dressed with more confidence.”
Lighthouse International is currently assisting its visually impaired clients, like Ahkeem Coar, with employment opportunities at Givaudan. In 2011, Ahkeem was hired as an intern at Givaudan’s New York City office and worked with creative fragrance mangers to test different modifications of fragrances.
Givaudan also played an integral role in Lighthouse International’s second annual Double Up 4 Vision Tandem Bike Ride and Walk. The company not only raised $10,000 in support of vision loss, but Felix Mayr-Harting, Ahkeem Coar and Sophie Bensamou, a Givaudan employee, participated in Double Up 4 Vision’s 24-Hour, Five Borough Tandem Bike Relay.
In the coming years, Lighthouse International and Givaudan will continue to work on more ways to help improve the lives of the visually impaired. “We want to keep building this relationship,” said Cosimo Policastro. “We’re excited about what we can do together with the Lighthouse.”
Lighthouse International offers many opportunities for corporate engagement. Contact Sarah Richmond, Director, Foundation and Corporate Relations at email@example.com or 212-821-9374