About Simon Herriott
Simon Herriott is President of the IFF Health & Biosciences Division which includes a portfolio of sustainable and high-performance solutions such as Enzymes, Cultures, and Probiotics. Inspired by nature and distinguished by world-class bioscience and microbiome capabilities, IFF Health & Biosciences is the essential customer innovation partner across a range of markets. Prior to DuPont N&B’s merger with IFF, Mr. Herriott served as Senior Vice President, Health & Biosciences for DuPont’s Nutrition & Biosciences business. In a 16-year career with DuPont, Mr. Herriott held various leadership positions. Before joining DuPont, Simon worked for Zeneca (now AstraZeneca) and its specialty chemicals spin-out Avecia, as well as ICI where he held sales, marketing leadership and general management roles.
Interview with... Simon HERRIOTT, President, IFF Health & Biosciences
1) What inspired IFF to join EuropaBio?
Through the recent merger of DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences and IFF, we have a long history of innovation in biotechnology. Our business is at the forefront of delivering innovative and sustainable solutions for our customers worldwide in markets such as health, food, beverages, animal feed, renewable energy, consumer cleaning and personal care products.
With an increasingly robust policy response to climate change through the Green Deal framework, we want to be part of the industry platform which will support ‘responsible bio-innovation’ and will promote the sustainable benefits of using biotechnology, which we believe will be a key enabling technology for the EU to meet its Climate Change ambitions.
2) What are some immediate policy areas which present opportunities and potential challenges for biotechnology in the EU?
We see an urgent need to position the Bioeconomy as a critical enabling sector for reducing Industry’s environmental footprint. In addition to the recycling of fossil carbon, biotechnology offers the EU the opportunity to significantly increase the use of renewable carbon and increase the biodegradability of products which are recycled back into nature.
We welcome policy initiatives to measure sustainability impacts across all sectors, and encourage an open mind to using agricultural crops for non-food purposes as our farms have done for centuries. Impartial sustainability criteria across draft policies such as the EU Taxonomy, Renewable Energy Directive (RED III), and the Sustainable Products Initiative should evaluate the low carbon impact of renewable carbon sources and the unused capacity of sugar and starch from EU farms which can be converted into valuable sustainable products and materials. This will provide a valuable boost for the agriculture sector.
3) In the long term - What policies are critical for IFF’s success?
At IFF one of our values is ‘doing more good’ and another is to deploy ‘science for a better world’. I believe that cutting edge bio-innovation can make this happen, and we need to help and accompany our policy makers to keep pace with such fast-developing sectors such as new genomic technologies.
In my view, the most critical policy decision is the approach which the EU takes regarding the regulation of biotechnology including gene editing techniques across a spectrum of applications. With the upcoming revision of the GM Regulation, we have an opportunity to scientifically evaluate the benefits of microbial biotechnology to modern society.
4) How do you see IFF being able to transform the industry of Food & Beverage, Home & Personal Care, and Health & Wellness?
Our business has many exciting innovations that can transform the industries we serve, and we were proud to have had the chance to present some of them at the EuropaBio’s European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology (EFIB) event in Vienna a few weeks ago. For example, we have discovered an enzyme that both reduces sugar in dairy products, but converts that sugar into dietary fiber to improve healthiness without reducing sweetness. In another case, we have invented a new-to-the-world process for making renewable and biodegradable materials that we call enzymatic polymerization that we believe will provide new high performance sustainable materials for multiple applications.
At home you will find our specially selected enzymes in laundry detergents that perform even in cold water washing, a simple change, which alone, according to data from the Sierra Club, can deliver an average reduction of 8% in Household Energy Consumption. We are looking forward to engaging with our peers in other companies and with other stakeholders to promote this profitable and growing sector making significant contributions to sustainability.