Henkel Sustainability Council


2010 was an outstanding year for Henkel. Not only have we made considerable progress toward achieving our financial targets for 2012, but in 2010 we already achieved the sustainability targets we had set for 2012. Our excellent sustainability performance was again confirmed numerous times by external ratings. These successes are a strong confirmation of our approach and inspire us to do even better in the future. We are committed to being a leader in sustainability.

We are facing major challenges globally. World population continues to grow unabatedly, particularly in the emerging markets. Growing affluence in these regions is also altering consumption patterns. As a result, resource consumption will be accelerating dramatically in the coming decades. Growth and quality of life need to be decoupled from resource consumption and emissions. Forgoing consumption and the related quality of life is not, however, a realistic option. This means that innovative products and processes will be vital to all efforts to achieve sustainable consumption. As an inherent part of our commitment, all of our new products must therefore contribute to sustainability in at least one of our five focal areas.

Sustainable solutions for the challenges at hand can only be developed in collaboration with our industrial and retail partners, as well as with our suppliers and consumers. We view cooperation throughout the entire value chain and the promotion of sustainable consumption as key responsibilities in the coming years. If everyone does their part, by 2030 we will be able to considerably enhance the performance of our products while substantially reducing resource consumption and emissions. The result will be a marked increase in efficiency. To achieve this goal, we seek a dialogue with all stakeholders.

Responsible action begins with each and every individual. Our vision of being a global leader with our brands and technologies defines a clear objective which guides every Henkel employee. To emphasize the importance of sustainability, one of our five corporate values states that: “We are committed to leadership in sustainability.” This is important for us as a company because we are convinced that sustainability and business success are inseparably linked.

Kasper Rorsted
Chairman of the Management Board

Interview with Dirk-Stephan Koedijk, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for Compliance

Why is it important to have a compliance department? Can’t the employees be trusted to act in an ethically and legally appropriate manner?

Dirk-Stephan Koedijk: This is not a question of not trusting our employees! Rather, we consider it important to provide them with support and advice when they are faced with conflicts of interest, for example, in their day-to-day work. Compliance with laws and regulations is essential, to prevent damage to the company and to employees. Since we operate on a global scale, our employees are confronted with a variety of legal and value systems. It is not always easy to know how one should behave in a specific situation, as laws and cultural customs differ.

How can employees find out how they should behave?

Dirk-Stephan Koedijk: We have formulated rules on correct behavior that apply worldwide and that have been set down in writing in our Code of Conduct. Our codes and standards are binding for all employees at all sites, as well as for our suppliers and other business partners. We oppose any infringement of our standards, for infringements involve risks. A number of companies have suffered enormous damage because they did not adhere to law and order. We are convinced that only honest business is good business. Furthermore, unethical behavior such as bribery or horizontal agreements would virtually undermine our business model. Investing in marketing or research would then be of little use.

What options do you have to firmly anchor awareness of the importance of compliance?

Dirk-Stephan Koedijk: It is very clear that the best compliance organizations cannot be effective if employees do not develop a feeling for correct behavior. This is why we provide training for our employees all over the world on compliance topics. In 2010, 23,550 training sessions for employees were held, either online or in person, and lasting between two hours and two days. When such company-supported training programs are carried out, the rate of unintentional infringements drops. These infringements often result from conflicts of interest. In regard to gifts, for example, appropriate sensitivity is necessary to recognize bribery. We know, of course, that the interpretation of events and their subjective perception can differ greatly. For this reason, we offer training especially to employees going to specific countries, so that they are able to protect themselves and our company.

How can you ensure that compliance will be lived?

Dirk-Stephan Koedijk: We carry out regular audits and include our suppliers in our compliance checks. Our principle is zero tolerance, and this is not an empty phrase. Our corporate audit program also schools our top managers through regular training in our corporate standards and makes them aware that their behavior has a great influence on the employees. We should not forget that our managers have a special role. They must serve as an example and are obliged to act in an ethically and legally impeccable manner. Only then will compliance become a guide for the day-to-day actions of all employees.

Interview with Alain Bauwens, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector.

Henkel intends to expand its position in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Where do you see the biggest opportunities and the biggest challenges?

Alain Bauwens: Economically, these regions offer huge opportunities for us. Populations are growing, with steadily increasing numbers of young people. In North African and Middle East countries, for example, 30 percent of the population is less than 14 years old. By comparison, this figure is only 15 percent in Western Europe. Although these populations often have low income levels, laundry detergents and household cleaners are among their basic needs. So products that are adapted to their living conditions and needs have significant business potential. But that brings us right to the challenges: Developing such products demands in-depth knowledge about local customs, consumption habits, retailers and competitors, to mention just a few aspects. We therefore have to do our homework very well in each of these regions in order to achieve long-term success.

Do you also include social and ecological factors in your analyses?

Alain Bauwens: Absolutely. Sustainability is an especially important topic in the emerging markets. The larger populations grow, the more resources they consume, and this of course puts even more pressure on the planet’s resources than there is already. It would be totally unreasonable to expect these up-and-coming societies to forgo prosperity and consumption. Instead, we must offer innovations that help people to achieve a better standard of living, but without increasing resource consumption at the same time. We call this combination “innovative, sustainable consumption.”

That sounds a little abstract. How do you put this strategy into practice?

Alain Bauwens: Well, there are many different approaches. One example is our engagement in the “Laundry Sustainability Projects.” This is a program established by A.I.S.E., the International Association of the Soap, Detergent and Maintenance Products Industry, initially in Eastern European markets and now also in the Middle East and North Africa. As participants in this particular program we have committed to replacing classic powder laundry detergents by modern, efficient compact detergents. This reduces the consumption of chemicals, packaging materials and energy during manufacture, transportation and use – in other words, across the entire life cycle of a product. The program also focuses on informing consumers about resource-conserving washing methods and raising their awareness. Another classic example is the introduction of small pack sizes and refill packs. This saves materials and reduces the amount of packaging waste. The smaller packs cost less, which makes our high-quality detergents and cleaners more accessible to people with lower incomes.

And that in turn helps to improve hygiene standards in these regions, which is and especially relevant point, isn’t it?

Alain Bauwens: Hygiene is a much-discussed topic right now. We, too, want to raise general awareness for this. We carry out campaigns in collaboration with schools, for example, where the children learn how important clean water and soap are in order to avoid diseases. Our brands like Persil and Pril also assist charitable organizations in many countries with product and cash donations. These long-term partnerships help us to position our brands positively, but they also provide valuable and dependable support to the project organizers and thus help to improve living standards, education and promote social progress.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Laundry & Home Care business sector

At Henkel, every new product must make a contribution to at least one of Henkel’s focal areas. Why is this so important?

Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum: In my view, the key to sustainable development lies in innovation. We want our innovations to set new quality standards in the market. Alongside premium product performance, responsibility toward people and the planet is now the yardstick for determining what makes a product a good product. For us in the research department, that means taking a close look at the entire value chain of a product, from the selection of raw materials, production and transport right through to use and disposal. This is how we identify suitable ways of improving our products and making contributions to our focal areas.

How do you keep track of all the many factors that could be adjusted?

Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum: To do that, we have systematically integrated our focal areas into our research process. This means that at a given point in the innovation process our researchers must demonstrate the specific advantages of their project, not only in terms of product performance, but also in regard to economic, social and ecological sustainability criteria. The questions asked here are: Does this innovation perform better than the predecessor product, or does it do something completely new? Can this product be manufactured more efficiently? Will it be possible to reduce the temperature in the washing machine or dishwasher without compromising on performance? Will intelligent chemistry allow us to use less resources or switch to renewable alternatives? We consider the entire value chain in this way and identify the added value that a product offers, including the reduction in its ecological footprint. We then feed all the results into our SustainabilityMaster®. This is an assessment tool developed by Henkel which allows us to see if products and processes are more sustainable relative to the starting situation.

That sounds very intricate …

Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum: It does involve a lot of effort, but it is very worthwhile. And the process is naturally a continuously ongoing one. We collaborate very closely with raw materials suppliers, other manufacturers and external research establishments to integrate the latest trends and technologies into our product development process. Anyone who wants to lead the field in both innovation and sustainability must be able to do one thing even better in the future than it already does today – enter into partnerships with all participants in the value chain, going beyond our own direct customers and suppliers to include other players as well. Experts call this kind of collaboration “cross-industry innovation,” which goes even farther than “open innovation.” As one example of many, we work intensively with manufacturers of household appliances, for example, with a view to making our products even more efficient in combination with washing machines and dishwashers.

Interview with Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Adhesive Technologies business sector

What people expect first and foremost from Henkel adhesives is high performance and reliability. Are your customers at all interested in sustainability?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: Our products naturally have to deliver first-class results. But at the same time, they help our customers to make their own industrial processes more efficient. In car manufacturing, for example, the use of Henkel technologies can lead to numerous improvements – by reducing the number of required process steps, by saving energy and water, and by helping to make cars lighter and safer. This reflects our all-encompassing understanding of sustainability. We offer top performance, the customer saves money and conserves resources, and the environment benefits as well. For our customers, that is a perfect combination, and for us, it is a significant competitive advantage.

How do customers know this?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: To visualize the multiple benefits our products offer, we developed our Value Calculator. This allows us to show exactly how much water, energy and chemicals can be saved through the use of our products. Customers from the automotive industry, in particular, can visit our www.henkel-car.com website and see for themselves all the different applications where adhesive solutions and surface treatments from Henkel can be used and how they help to enhance quality and improve efficiency during car manufacturing.

Adhesives are used in many different kinds of industrial applications. What functions do the products fulfill?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: The range of applications for our products is indeed vast, and we have a very broad portfolio. This may be surprising initially, considering that adhesives are essentially materials that join things together with the help of two forces – adhesion and cohesion. But when one looks at all the areas where adhesives are used and the fact that they can replace traditional joining methods such as welding, screw-fastening and riveting, it is easy to imagine how versatile this material is. Our ideas for innovative products must be just as flexible as the adhesive itself. With these new or improved products, high performance is no longer the only yardstick. Other factors play a role here, too, such as using renewable raw materials to make the products and ensuring they can be applied efficiently.

How do you generate your ideas for tomorrow’s sustainable adhesive solutions?

Prof. Dr. Ramón Bacardit: Today we are cooperating more than ever before with industrial partners and external research institutions to pursue global trends and meet tomorrow’s challenges with our innovations. For example, we assisted Tonji University in Shanghai, China, in developing a hydrogen-powered car. With sound absorbing materials from Henkel it was possible to reduce the driving noise levels inside this pioneering model to two decibels, which is a great step forward. This innovative solution was installed in the cars that were presented at the Shanghai EXPO 2010. We maintain a constant, creative dialogue with our customers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers. Through these partnerships we work together to develop new solutions, and we learn what is really needed.

Interview with Enric Holzbacher, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Adhesive Technologies business sector

Henkel has defined five focal areas for sustainable development. Which of them are especially relevant to your business sector?

Enric Holzbacher: Since our portfolio includes an enormous variety of products, the priority could be on different focal areas in each specific product category. However, we find that most of our products contribute to the focal areas of “health and safety” and “energy and climate.” Consequently, we decided to concentrate primarily on these two topics in our product development.

With what results?

Enric Holzbacher: In “health and safety,” for example we made great progress last year in regard to solvents. These are often the subject of controversy in public debate because of their possible negative impact on health and the environment. We have been working for many years to replace the solvents in our formulations, but through acquisitions, new solvent-based products kept being added to the portfolio. In 2010, we therefore set ourselves the target of decreasing the use of solvents in our consumer adhesives by 50 percent relative to today. Our vision is to eliminate solvents from all our consumer ranges of contact and assembly adhesives by 2030.

How do you plan to achieve this target?

Enric Holzbacher: The change-over will be done in several stages. We began by looking at areas where potential health hazards due to misuse of our adhesives were most likely to occur, as well as areas where substitution was both technically feasible and acceptable in the market. Since the end of 2010, none of our consumer adhesives contain any toluene or methylene chloride. We drew on our experiences in Chile to achieve this. As far back as 1995, Henkel Chile substituted the toluene in its adhesives when it became known that street children were misusing them for glue-sniffing, in other words as intoxicants. Prompted by Henkel’s example, the Chilean president signed a law on December 24, 1998 banning the production and sale of toluene-containing adhesives anywhere in the Chilean market. For its pioneering role, Henkel received a national health award from the Chilean Minister of Health. To make sure alternatives will be available in time to shape a future without solvents, we are investing long-term in the development of new basic technologies.

And what contributions are you making to the “energy and climate” focal area?

Enric Holzbacher: Many of our products have great potential to contribute to climate protection. We offer a variety of systems comprising joint sealants, insulating foams and panels, and waterproofing membranes that enable the professional sealing of windows, doors and façades, thus increasing the energy efficiency of buildings. One of our main priorities for the immediate future will be to raise awareness and foster transparency among our customers. We have to point out where energy is being lost unnecessarily in buildings and explain why this is so.

How do you aim to do this?

Enric Holzbacher: By offering professional advice on all aspects of our products or providing tools like energy calculators – the way we do in Germany, for example at our website www.henkel321.com. This is the only way we can make the advantages our products bring visible to our customers. In other markets such as Central and Eastern Europe, we establish schools for professional craftsmen. We train them in how to use the products correctly and raise their awareness for environmentally compatible building materials. This is how we convey the message that investing in high-quality adhesives, sealants and insulating materials pays in the long run.

Interview with Dr. Peter Florenz, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for Governmental Relations

Participation in political decision-making by companies – called corporate lobbying – is often viewed critically by society…

Dr. Peter Florenz: This is unfortunately true, even though we generally find this view to be unwarranted. Lobbying is, in fact, meaningful and useful, not only for companies, but for society as well. The preparation of political decisions requires input from all social groups if fair, responsible and balanced solutions are to be found. These groups naturally also include companies. We at Henkel are often directly approached by politicians and regulators asking for our opinion and expertise on specific questions – especially in the case of topics that are directly related to our business areas and on which we have been able to amass valuable experience through our engagement in the industrial and consumer goods sectors throughout the years. The prerequisite is, of course, that this dialogue is open and transparent.
How can this be ensured?

Dr. Peter Florenz: Last year, for example, Henkel signed on to the Transparency Register of the European Union. This voluntary register makes the participation of company representatives in the various working groups transparent. Our aim here is to openly indicate the topics for which we help to shape the decision-making process of the European Commission. Moreover, within the company we have established clear rules in regard to our lobbying activities, and we have published these in our “Representation of Interests in Public Affairs” standard. These rules, by the way, also include the fact that Henkel does not provide financial or other forms of support to political parties.

Why is it actually important for companies like Henkel to have an influence on discussions in the political arena and industry associations?

Dr. Peter Florenz: Above all to ensure that planned legislation can actually be implemented in practice and that the desired social steering effects can indeed be achieved. At the moment, regulators are focusing intensely on the chemical and consumer goods sectors. These two fields are directly relevant to Henkel’s business environment. REACH and the EU Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production are examples of this. By participating in the development of these sets of regulations, we as a company are in a position to communicate our own interests and experiences, as well as those of our employees, customers and consumers. We thus offer a kind of “reality check” for political decision-making. We do not do this all by ourselves, by the way. It is often more effective to form a joint opinion with other companies in industry associations and working groups and to then – strictly adhering to compliance and antitrust regulations – speak with a single voice. For this reason, we are involved in many national and international projects and voluntary initiatives.

Which ones, for example?

Dr. Peter Florenz: We have long been an active member of the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.) Since 2005, we have been engaged in the Charter for Sustainable Cleaning, the only voluntary sustainability initiative of its kind up to the present time, whose primary aim is to continuously improve standards for the manufacture and use of laundry and home care products. This charter has been signed by 130 manufacturing and retail companies up to now, covering more than 80 percent of the volume of laundry and home care products produced in Europe. We also collaborate with Europe-wide working groups in regard to topics such as REACH and the recognition of alternative methods to replace animal testing. Increasingly important to us is working with our customers – such as our involvement the Sustainability Consortium established by Walmart, which focuses on the measurability of sustainability performance. In Germany and the USA, we are involved in joint projects with partners in research, industry, trade, politics, and nongovernmental organizations aimed at developing a reliable and internationally uniform method of calculating the carbon footprint of products. This is because we consider that helping to develop new standards is just as much a part of our responsibility as adhering to existing ones.

Interview with Carsten Tilger, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for Corporate Communications

In 2010, Henkel introduced its new vision and values. All Henkel employees participated in Vision and Values workshops. Why did you choose this particular communications instrument?

Carsten Tilger: We wanted to be sure that every single one of our employees has the opportunity to  engage with our vision and the values. Instead of simply relying on the standard channels, such as employee newspapers, our intranet, or presentations at employee meetings, we deliberately chose a new approach. Only if all employees know and understand what our vision and values mean for them personally and for their team in their day-to-day work, they will become a guideline to behavior and decision-making. This is why we considered it important for all Henkel employees worldwide to participate in these Vision and Values workshops so that they could define, for example, what our “sustainability” corporate value means for them. This approach proved a great success – thanks, above all, to the employees themselves.

Is the “sustainability” value more difficult to communicate than the other values?

Carsten Tilger: The challenge we face when talking about sustainability is that this term is a very abstract one and there are so many different definitions. Moreover, sustainability can involve different aspects, depending on the context. So we needed to explain to our employees exactly what the term means to Henkel and which areas it covers in Henkel’s view. Only then will marketing staff, for example, be able to properly emphasize the ecologically sound properties of a product, or purchasing staff be able to explain why they chose a particular raw materials supplier rather than another one, based on sustainability considerations.

Do you also see challenges in terms of your dialogue with external stakeholders?

Carsten Tilger: Here, the number and variety of stakeholders is constantly growing, as is the scope of topics of interest for them. For example, rating agencies or retail customers are requesting increasingly detailed, technical information. By contrast, when communicating with consumers it is essential to communicate short, in clear and simple words, to ensure that the messages will be understood quickly. Choosing the appropriate communication channels and suitable forms of presentation for each specific target group is therefore becoming more and more important for a successful stakeholder dialogue. The challenge is to convey the company’s message consistently, no matter which communication medium is used or which target group is being addressed.

 How do you succeed in persuading the general public to take your sustainability communication seriously and not dismiss it as “greenwashing”?

Carsten Tilger: Experience shows that companies generally have to work hard to earn the public’s trust. Companies that are active in communicating their sustainability activities in the media are particularly susceptible to being accused of doing just PR or even “greenwashing”. More than anything else, sustainability communication must show continuity and authenticity in order to be credible and build long-term trust and reputation. By continuity, I mean that the actions and the commitment that are communicated must be connected what has been done in the past, and not short-term activism. Authenticity means that measures undertaken are relevant to the core business and relate to normal business activities. Potential dilemmas in pursuing sustainability and business targets must not be suppressed but explained and discussed openly. Authenticity is when people believe in what they are doing: The topic of sustainability has to be, above all, backed and brought to life by all employees.


Statement: “The variety of topics that interest our stakeholders and the information they request is constantly growing. Choosing the appropriate communication channels and suitable forms of presentation for each specific target group is therefore becoming more and more important. In all cases, we consider it essential to communicate in a way that is open, consistent and authentic. Only then can the complex topic of sustainability be communicated in a credible manner.”

Interview with Kathrin Menges, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for Human Resources Management

What does a “winning culture” mean for employees?

Kathrin Menges: A winning culture is characterized by strong achievement orientation and the will to succeed. We at Henkel have the will to be the best in everything we do. This means that we challenge and encourage our employees and reward them for excellent performance.

How can excellent performance be measured?

Kathrin Menges: At regular intervals, we review the feedback and evaluation processes at Henkel. This is necessary because the work environment is constantly changing. Most recently, we refined our system for assessing the performance and potential of our managers. Our employees profit from this system, as it makes the feedback from their supervisors on their performance and their potential even clearer and more transparent than before. Once the process has been completed, all of our staff knows where they stand, what is expected from them, and how he they can continue to develop. It also enables supervisors to compare the performance of their team members and assess them in regard to the demands of their specific positions. At the same time, this transparency heightens the motivation of each individual to achieve excellence. And we reward this, of course.

So this benefits both the company and its employees?

Kathrin Menges: Yes, most definitely, because employees rightly expect their performance to be recognized and rewarded. And they expect a corporate culture with which they can identify and which they can help to shape. For example, when we introduced our new vision and our new values, all Henkel employees worldwide took part in a Vision and Values workshop. After all, establishing a winning culture can only succeed if all employees commit to the new vision and the new values – and live them at Henkel in their day-to-day work.

Interview with Tina Müller, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Cosmetics/Toiletries business sector

In 2010, you commissioned a comprehensive study on beauty. How are you making use of the results?

Tina Müller: On the occasion of Schwarzkopf’s 111th anniversary, we initiated the “Beauty is Hair” trend study. We want to understand the globally changing needs of our consumers – especially those of our female consumers, since most purchasing decisions are still made by women. The study clearly showed that the needs of female consumers and their views of beauty are in flux all over the world. The various cultures, age groups, and lifestyles demand an individual approach and products that are just right for them.

Did the study also give you insights into the topic of sustainability and its significance for your various product categories?

Tina Müller: Our study shows, above all, that beauty, personal well-being and hygiene are basic human needs in all parts of the world. Our products help to fulfill these needs individually – and by doing so make an important contribution to society per se. The aim of our product development is to contribute as much as possible to this. To me, this includes our brands’ engagement in charitable projects such as the new Schwarzkopf initiative called Shaping Futures. Moreover, our shampoos, shower gels, hair sprays, skin creams and hair colorants are used in more than a million of households every day. Through our innovations, we utilize this great potential to directly foster the growing trend toward environmentally and health conscious lifestyles in daily life. We support this trend in many different ways – for example, by using renewable raw materials or ingredients derived from controlled organic crops, by further improving the biodegradability of our products , and by minimizing the packaging as much as possible.

Will you make use of the social and ecological aspects of your products more intensively to address consumers – that is, for advertising – in the future?

Tina Müller: For us, a truly good product must combine product performance with ecological and social improvements. We have made it our business to achieve this balancing act by offering products that provide superior efficacy as well as skin compatibility. They contribute to hygiene, but also to beauty. Furthermore, we use high quality ingredients that are obtained in a responsible manner.

This internal commitment is, however, not necessarily the focal point of our approach to consumers. After all, the success of our personal care products is based primarily on their relevance for consumers. They want effective and compatible products, and so our advertising concentrates on these aspects. If we also want to point out improved ecological performance, we have this confirmed by an external body, as is the case with our Ecocert-certified soaps and toothpastes.

Interview with Dr. Thomas Förster, Member of the Henkel Sustainability Council for the Cosmetics/Toiletries business sector

In 2010, you set yourself the goal of having all Diadermine care products evaluated by ECARF, the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation. Why is this important, and how far have you come?

Dr. Thomas Förster: Studies show that the number of people with sensitive skin or allergies is continuing to rise, especially in industrialized countries. This topic thus plays an increasingly important role in our product development. Since 2009, we have had our Diadermine care products, in particular, extensively tested by dermatologists at the Charité hospital in Berlin. Our formulas and their biomimetic action – that emulates nature – have been shown to be extremely skin- and allergy-friendly. Diadermine skin creams are therefore permitted to bear the ECARF seal of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation. In 2010, all of the skin creams in the Dr. Caspari lines of Diadermine products were also certified by ECARF. This was a huge success for us, one that confirmed our dermatological expertise.

And what is the current focus of your researchers?

Dr. Thomas Förster: In general, we are always looking for formulations for our cosmetics products that are more effective and more compatible, but also more efficient. This is because we face the challenge of delivering greater performance while using less raw materials. In 2010, for example, we introduced new basic formulas for our cleansing products, such as shampoos, shower gels, and liquid hand soaps. They show the same high performance as the previous ones, but use approximately 15 percent less surfactants, or washing active substances. Contributions to resource efficiency can also come from products with especially long-lasting effects, such as our newly launched Right Guard deodorant sprays. Their 48-hour effectiveness considerably reduces how much product is used as compared with conventional deodorant sprays.

And how do you ensure the health compatibility of these formulas?

Dr. Thomas Förster: All of our cosmetic products, as well as the ingredients they contain, are submitted to a comprehensive assessment program to verify their compatibility. For our finished cosmetic products, we use only dermatological studies and in vitro tests that do not involve animals. These are tests that are carried out in test tubes using artificial, full thickness skin models. A central goal of our research is, of course, replacing the animal testing that is still legally required for certain ingredients with alternative test methods. We have been working on this intensively since the 1980s and have achieved considerable success, collaborating closely on an international scale with partners from industry, regulatory authorities, and research institutions.

Interview with Dr. Andreas Bruns, Member of the Sustainability Council for Infrastructure Services and Safety, Health and Environment (Corporate SHE)

Industrial companies are not exactly viewed by the public as decided proponents of sustainability. Why is this so, do you think?

Dr. Andreas Bruns: Industry has an image problem here, in my opinion. Many ordinary citizens don’t know very much about the way industrial companies operate, and so are quick to criticize them purely on emotional grounds, especially when it comes to companies that produce or process chemicals, like Henkel. However, people often forget that it is industry, in particular, which creates the basis for society’s prosperity today – by creating jobs, paying salaries and taxes, and developing products that offer an increase in social value added. Seen from this angle, Henkel is important for sustainable development. We are the ones who drive forward the efficiency of resource management, processes, and products worldwide. And this is why we engage in a dialogue with our stakeholders, so that we can improve our industry’s image.

How can manufacturing operations be made both sustainable and efficient?

Dr. Andreas Bruns: At Henkel, sustainability means achieving a balance between social, ecological and economic goals. Sustainability therefore includes efficiency. And far from being a contradiction or restriction, economic efficiency is very much inherent to any strategy for sustainability. That, too, is often forgotten in the public debate.

How do you put this into practice?

Dr. Andreas Bruns: We look for intelligent solutions that are capable of meeting requirements in all three dimensions. For example, environmentally sound, resource-conserving ways of making the company more efficient. Paying our employees fair wages and salaries and treating them with respect increases productivity and makes the company more successful. Technological advances and knowledge transfer are vitally important, too. To give you an example, the Infrastructure Services department has launched a project called “Excellence in Site Service.” All factories around the world are systematically examined, looking at energy and water consumption, environmental performance and safety, maintenance and site logistics – up to and including the quality of the canteens or cafeterias.

Where do you see the biggest challenges in implementing new and different improvement measures?

Dr. Andreas Bruns: Difficulties arise when one of our improvements causes a new problem to appear elsewhere. As an example, the switch to concentrated liquid laundry detergents enabled us to achieve considerable savings in water and materials in our production facilities. On the other hand, relative energy consumption – i.e. per metric ton of output – increased, as the energy consumed is distributed over a smaller weight of output. The more seriously and intensively a company seeks to achieve sustainable development, the more often it will be confronted with conflicts like this.

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