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Solvay and L’Oréal team up to promote sustainable practices among guar bean farmers in India

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Press release

Brussels, September 3, 2015 --- Solvay and L’Oréal have teamed up in a scalable three-year project to teach and promote sustainable agricultural practices among 1,500 guar bean farmers across ten villages in India’s desert region of Bikaner, Rajasthan state.

Solvay is a world leader in guar derivatives and supplies its customers who formulate these ingredients in a variety of applications such as in food, cosmetics, oil & gas extraction and textile industries.

Grown mainly in India’s semi-arid regions, guar is the main resource for many farming communities but its production is volatile as it relies on monsoon rains. Solvay’s “Sustainable Guar Initiative” aims to empower countless farmers with the tools and knowledge to cultivate the crop through good agricultural practices*, resulting in more continuous, high-yield production. Solvay’s Novecare Global Business Unit (GBU) in 2013 launched the initiative, which is also implemented by non-governmental organization TechnoServe, as part of the Group’s sustainable development strategy Solvay Way.

Solvay’s initiative and partnership with L’Oréal, acting as a founding member, brings many benefits – for farmer communities, their environment as well as for demanding industrial applications. The project will help farmers improve the use of water and preserve the soil, it will raise their income and support local communities,” said Emmanuel Butstraen, President of Solvay Novecare and sponsor of the “Sustainable Guar Initiative”. “Our approach will also reinforce the availability of bio-based guar for industries and allow them to promote their ambitious sustainability goals.

Our partnership with Solvay is a concrete implementation of our “Sharing Beauty with All” sustainability commitment.  By improving yields while promoting a suitable model of sustainable agriculture, we will improve the livelihood of farmers and protect local resources such as water, soil and biodiversity.  This program will allow ensuring a durability of income for guar bean farmers while considering the impact of climate change into their activities” said Laurent Gilbert, Director for International Development of Advanced Research at L’Oréal.

India is the world’s top guar producer with about 80 percent of total production.  As a drought-resistant crop guar conserves water resources and replenishes soil nutrients through nitrogen fixation. The seeds are processed to obtain GUAR GUM. Demand for this ingredient is on the rise in a range of industries.

 * Development and application of Good Agricultural Practices in accordance of the United Nation’s Food & Agricultural Organization.

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As an international chemical group, SOLVAY assists industries in finding and implementing ever more responsible and value-creating solutions. Solvay generates 90% of its net sales in activities where it is among the world's top three players. It serves many markets, varying from energy and the environment to automotive and aeronautics or electricity and electronics, with one goal: to raise the performance of its clients and improve society's quality of life. The group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 26,000 people in 52 countries and generated 10.2 billion euros in net sales in 2014. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on EURONEXT Brussels and EURONEXT Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB:BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR).

L’ORÉALhas devoted itself to beauty for over 105 years. With its unique international portfolio of 32 diverse and complementary brands, the Group generated sales amounting to 22.5 billion euros in 2014 and employs 78,600 people worldwide. As the world’s leading beauty company, L’Oréal is present across all distribution networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail and branded retail. Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 3,700 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy, working to meet beauty aspirations all over the world and attract one billion new consumers in the years to come. L’Oréal’s new sustainability commitment for 2020 “Sharing Beauty With All” sets out ambitious sustainable development objectives across the Group’s value chain.