Sustainability as a societal challenge

Working together for responsible, sustainable consumption

The ecological footprint of many of our products depends not only on production factors but also, and to a very large extent, on their efficient use. Henkel’s brands and technologies are used daily in millions of households and industrial processes. We therefore focus on the development of products that enable our customers and consumers to make efficient use of resources such as energy and water. At the same time, we encourage them to use our products responsibly by providing them with information in a variety of ways.

Photo Kasper Rorsted in Montreux

Innovation instead of renunciation
In October 2010, more than 900 representatives of leading laundry detergent producers and raw materials suppliers from almost 60 countries came to Montreux, Switzerland, to discuss future-oriented themes of concern to this industry. The Chairman of the Henkel Management Board, Kasper Rorsted, spoke about the significance of innovations and greater efficiency as the key to sustainable development.

2010 offered an important forum for experts to confer: the World Conference on Detergents, held in Montreux, Switzerland, from 5 to 7 October. This was the seventh time the event had been staged at this venue since 1977. Representatives from all leading detergent manufacturers and raw materials suppliers, as well as academics, met here to discuss the conference theme of New Strategies in A Dynamic Global Economy. Henkel’s Management Board Chairman, Kasper Rorsted, delivered a keynote speech in which he stressed that innovative sustainable consumption is a challenge for the entire value chain.

Sustainable consumption was also at the top of the agenda at the 2010 German Sustainability Awards. As one of the first winners of the Sustainability Award, Henkel supports this event as a partner, and presented its approaches for innovative sustainable consumption during the German Sustainability Conference. Experts from industry and the business world discussed how companies can respond to situations where consumers place great importance on quality and sustainability while at the same time being extremely price-sensitive.

We have developed numerous communications instruments for making the added value of these innovations transparent to our consumers, retail and industrial customers:


We try to influence the behavior of customers and consumers worldwide through targeted communication. To encourage consumers to conserve resources, for example, we participate in the “Save Energy, Save Water” initiative of the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A. I. S. E.). This initiative was launched to encourage consumers in Europe to save energy and water when using their dishwashers.

Through the “Quality & Responsibility” logo printed on our laundry detergents and household cleaners since 2008, we aim to make it easier for consumers to reach responsible purchasing decisions. The logo indicates to consumers that, by buying this product, they will not only obtain superior performance but a sustainable solution as well.

As the first company in the consumer goods sector to do so, beginning in 2010, Henkel will use Quick Response Codes to stimulate responsible product use.

Coloring easily and safely

For many people, coloring their hair has now become part of their regular beauty care routine. Under the heading “Safe Coloring for You,” our new Internet pages at provide consumers with help regarding the proper and safe use of hair colorants. Here we inform consumers about what they need to know before, during and after coloring their hair. A video explains, step by step, how to carry out a skin sensitivity test every time before using a colorant and advises on when hair coloring products should not be used. Answers are provided to frequently asked questions, such as about possible allergy risks and about coloring hair during pregnancy.

Communicating improvements transparently

The Internet site, for example, shows where the use of Henkel technologies in automobile manufacturing results in improvements in sustainability. These include reductions in the number of process steps, cuts in energy and water consumption, and the manufacture of lighter and safer vehicles. TecTalis, for example, replaces conventional zinc phosphating in the pretreatment of car bodies and reduces energy consumption to a minimum. In lightweight engineering, the two-step process for pretreating aluminum car bodies decreases the amount of waste by up to 30 percent. With these technologies, Henkel supports the efforts of the whole of the automotive industry to increase efficiency and quality.

Another tool designed to communicate the added value of our innovations to our industrial customers is our “Value Calculator”. For industrial products it shows how much time, energy and labor can be saved by using a product from Henkel. The Value Calculator can be used to compare each step of a new process with that of an existing one. This helps us to identify potential savings in the consumption of energy, water and raw materials, and to improve our customers’ processes. The resulting advantages and cost savings are demonstrated in a transparent and easily understandable manner. The Value Calculator is currently available for more than 30 brands, including Bonderite, TecTalis, Macroplast and Macromelt.Consider Bonderite NT, for example.

We developed this nanoceramic coating process for the metal industry as an alternative to iron phosphating. For decades, iron phosphating has been the standard method of protecting metal used in, for example, refrigerators, office furniture, supermarket shelves, and agricultural machinery against corrosion. Bonderite NT not only offers optimal corrosion protection, but is also qualitatively, ecologically and economically superior to iron phosphating. The new process cuts energy consumption during processing by up to 30 percent. In addition, there are no emissions of heavy metals to wastewater, and the costs of wastewater treatment and disposal are reduced. The graph shows how the new process using Bonderite NT can reduce total costs, by 14.8 percent in this example, despite the higher cost of the chemicals and while improving overall sustainability performance.

Graphic Value Calculator: Example Bonderite NT
My Report
  • fileadmin/ONNB10/PDF_EN/Henkel_SR10_products_sustainable_consumption.pdf
  • View Selection (0)
Further Links