Henkel is “Most Sustainable Brand”
Düsseldorf – At the first ever German Sustainability Congress, the award for being Germany’s “Most Sustainable Brand” went to Henkel, providing the company with yet another major accolade for its activities in this field. “We are happy to receive this award, because we have been working on the sustainability topic for more than 130 years. Sustainability is part of our DNA,” said Kasper Rorsted, Henkel’s CEO. “We are strongly convinced that this topic is more important today than ever before. We see enormous potential for innovations that combine performance and quality with responsibility for people and environment.”
For the first time in 2008, the German Sustainability Awards were conferred to companies that combine in an exemplary manner economic success with social responsibility and protection of the environment – and use their sustainability platform as a springboard for further growth. The high-caliber, independent jury was to focus particularly on consistency in sustainability management and evidence of a thorough approach to communications on sustainability topics.
One of the main factors for Henkel’s selection was that the company had begun very early on to address the challenges of sustainability, developing a comprehensive CSR strategy. This has been systematically disseminated throughout the company and encompasses all stages of its value chain. There was also recognition for Henkel’s deliberate and methodical approach in designating as its focal areas the fields of Energy and Climate, Water and Wastewater, Materials and Waste, Safety and Health and Social Progress. This approach has led to further important contributions being made to sustainable development through the company’s business activities and products. Indeed, all Henkel’s new developments are expected to combine performance with responsibility for people and the environment, with a contribution being made in at least one of these focal areas.
Innovative issue leadership
At the German Sustainability Congress, Dr. Friedrich Stara, Henkel’s Executive Vice President responsible for the global Laundry & Home Care business, explained the message behind the “Quality & Responsibility” logo, stating: “Our aim is to establish a new quality standard in the marketplace and to assume issue leadership in the field of sustainability within the markets of importance to us.”
Henkel’s approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility is very highly ranked in many different national and international listings. For example, in September 2008, Henkel was the only company to be included within the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) market segment of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). Only 10 percent of the 2,500 largest corporations in the world manage to qualify for the DJSI World. In March of this year, moreover, Henkel also garnered the “ESG Award 2008” in the DAX corporations category. This accolade recognizes companies listed in the German stock index (DAX) for their performance in the fields of environmental protection, social responsibility and corporate governance (ESG = Environment, Social, Governance).
Sustainability as the key to innovation
“The associated innovation strategy – ‘Performance based on Sustainability’ – is a major driver in the development of innovative products and more intelligent solutions, and it therefore constitutes a significant factor in the creation of meaningful competitive advantage,” explains Christian-Andre Weinberger, Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer.
Epitomizing Henkel’s “Quality & Responsibility” approach, the new product brand Terra Activ – a line of initially five household cleaning products serving various categories – was launched onto the German market in October of this year. Offering outstanding cleaning performance, these products also have the advantage of containing ingredients that satisfy specific, strict criteria with respect to the environment. On average, 85 percent of each formulation is derived from renewable raw materials.
The world’s first ever self-acting detergent – Persil – has also been a pioneer in sustainability over its hundred-year history. As the latest innovation, this brand offers maximum cleanliness at just 20°C to save energy. Similarly, SOMAT 7 now has a low-temperature activator that enables dishwashing to be performed at lower temperatures - helping to save energy while still producing gleaming results. In 2007, moreover, Henkel launched a liquid detergent onto the US market in the form of Purex Natural Elements which utilizes surfactants based entirely on renewable raw materials. Purex Natural Elements was the first leading detergent brand to be included in the "Design for the Environment” program of the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Henkel Cosmetics/Toiletries has also recently launched a toothpaste onto the market in the form of Vademecum Bio, ninety-nine percent of which comprises ingredients based on natural raw materials. The formulation has no synthetic flavorings or sweeteners whatsoever. As a result, Vademecum Bio was awarded in 2008 with the ECOCERT label by the independent ECOCERT certification authority.
The hair care lines Schauma Bio Pomegranate and Schauma Bio Almond launched in 2008 contain natural extracts from plants cultivated under controlled bio-organic conditions, i.e. using natural, non-destructive methods and taking into account the requirements of ecological and environmental sustainability.
A further example from Henkel’s Adhesives sector is that of its TecTalis technology. This represents a completely new process for corrosion protection, eliminating the need for conventional zinc phosphating. The TecTalis range is characterized, among other things, by the complete lack of controlled heavy metals such as nickel and zinc. It therefore represents a highly environmentally sound process.
For its nanoceramic metal pretreatment process Bonderite NT, a substitute for the iron phosphating process, Henkel received the “BDI-Umweltpreis” [Environmental Award of the German Confederation of Industry] in the “Environmentally Sound Products” category. And for the development of new, low-dust products for the construction trade – such as tile adhesives which reduce the dust burden by up to 90 percent – Henkel received a special citation at the end of November from Germany’s Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Comprehensive information and news on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility at Henkel, together with all the company’s rankings and ratings, can be found on the internet at www.henkel.com/sustainability.
The current publication “Facts & Trends on Sustainable Consumption” published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) offers a range of detailed information to which Henkel and other leading companies have contributed with summaries of their experience and future perspectives.
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