Improving our performance, reducing resource consumption

Henkel has production sites in 57 countries. We also have administration, research and marketing and sales sites, warehouses, and logistics centers in many countries. As a local employer and contractor, we are thus able to stimulate the economic development of various regions. Efficient and modern production sites are a prerequisite for the production of high-quality brands and technologies. The continuous improvement of our processes and site structures, as well as the reduction of resource consumption and environmental burdens, are an important part of our promise of quality. This includes the worldwide transfer of knowledge and new technologies.

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

“Companies are crucial to sustainable development. We drive forward the efficiency of processes worldwide, through the international transfer of knowledge and technologies, for example. We create jobs with fair and safe conditions and develop products that offer an increase in social value added. In this way, industry creates a central basis for society’s prosperity, now and in the future.”

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

Read the complete interview with Dr. Andreas Bruns

Globally applicable standards, training courses and audits

Our safety, health and environment standards (SHE Standards) and our Social Standards apply to all of our sites worldwide. We ensure compliance with these standards, especially at the production level, through a clearly defined process of communication, training courses and audits.

Checking the level of compliance with our standards is part of the due diligence procedure undertaken before we buy into a company. On the basis of the results, we draw up detailed action plans to raise newly acquired sites to the level of the Henkel standards where necessary. Leadership behavior at the local level plays a key role in Henkel’s successful focus on sustainability and the implementation of our standards. We therefore give high priority to special training programs to raise the awareness of all production employees. These include the introduction of modern management methods, continuous professional development seminars, and training courses on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Leadership. In 2010, the Corporate Internal Audit department alone trained more than 250 employees in the Henkel standards on safety, health and environment. The program content ranged from risk assessment to emergency management and management systems.

We regularly audit our production and administration sites and logistics centers. For us, audits are a key instrument for identifying risks and potential improvements. We have our environmental management systems at the individual sites externally certified, if this yields competitive advantages. At the end of 2010, about 71 percent of the production volume came from sites certified to ISO 14001, the internationally recognized standard for environmental management systems.

Use of subcontractors for production

Third-party manufacturing constitutes an integral part of our production strategy and is used flexibly for our products and markets. For example, we may use toll and contract manufacturers when entering new markets or introducing new products and technologies. In these cases the corresponding production volume is often still small. In other circumstances, the use of external partners helps to optimize our production and logistics network and to increase resource efficiency. Currently, we source about 10 percent additional annual production volume from toll and contract manufacturers.

We place the same requirements regarding quality, environmental, safety and social standards on our subcontractors as well; they are an integral part of all contractual relationships and order placements. We monitor the implementation of our standards through audits by our Corporate Internal Audit department and, increasingly, by specialized third-party service providers.

Energy efficiency in administration buildings

The energy efficiency of our administration buildings is also increasingly a focus of our efforts. For new buildings we use energy-efficient construction methods, such as in our new Henkel regional centers in Shanghai, China, and Scottsdale, Arizona, in the USA. Furthermore, we conduct energy-saving campaigns and hold “environment days” to inspire all employees in management, administration and research to save energy at their own workplaces. For example, one of the first measures in our “Green IT” project, launched in 2010, was to change the settings for computer screens so that they would automatically shut down after a certain period of inactivity.

Photo Henkel headquarters in Shanghai for China and the Asia-Pacific region

The new Henkel headquarters in Shanghai for China and the Asia-Pacific region. The building is highly energy-efficient. Glass curtain walls and heat recovery circuits for the heating and air conditioning system save energy. The building thus consumes 60 percent less energy than comparable structures.