10/14/2008, Düsseldorf


Henkel contributes to protecting the rain forests

Pioneering work: Henkel initiates trading with palm kernel oil certificates

Committing to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility includes tackling the issue of where the raw materials for production originate and how they themselves are produced. Palm kernel oil, a renewable raw material used in the manufacture of surfactants (surface-active substances used in laundry and home care and also cosmetic products) is a case in point. Together with independent partners, Henkel has helped to achieve recognition of certificates for sustainable palm kernel oil as issued for official trading by the ‘Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil’ – and bought the certificates for the new Terra Activ cleaners. The certificates serve to confirm sustainable palm cultivation in the countries of origin and contribute to protecting the rain forests. The process for trading these certificates, known as ‘Book & Claim’, functions in a manner similar to that applied to eco-electricity.

“We are proud to have been instrumental in establishing the first trading platform for sustainable palm kernel oil certificates,” commented a delighted Christian-Andre Weinberger, Corporate Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer in the Laundry & Home Care business sector. “Together with a number of independent partners, Henkel has helped pioneer the establishment of the Book & Claim system, leading to the opening up of new markets for sustainable palm kernel oil. This scheme has the potential to quickly create new and significant incentives for sustainable palm kernel oil development by all market participants,” Weinberger continued. “Our vision is that all palm oil and palm kernel oil will eventually originate from sustainable production systems.”

For decades, Henkel has been committed to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, and that includes pursuing sustainability in raw materials production. Henkel’s aim is to make a significant contribution to ensuring that the cycle that begins with the cultivation of these renewable raw materials is thoroughly sustainable throughout the entire value chain, with responsible usage and ecologically sound disposal.

Around 35 percent of the surfactants used in the laundry and home care products and cosmetics produced by Henkel are based on renewable raw materials. The commodities involved primarily take the form of palm kernel oil and coconut oil. Although Henkel uses less than one percent of worldwide palm oil and palm kernel oil production indirectly through its consumption of surfactants, since 2003 the company has been involved in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil or ‘RSPO’. This was created in 2002/03 on the initiative of, among others, the WWF, with the purpose of promoting and monitoring sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil production. In particular, Henkel supports a marketing model for sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil: the Book & Claim system. This scheme separates the certificates from the physical product flows. A well-known example for such a certification system is that applied to eco-electricity, which is traded in Germany on the basis of similar criteria. Only those plantations that satisfy the strict requirements laid down by the RSPO – which includes the non-felling of rain forests – qualify to receive the associated certificates.

In order to promote and establish the Book & Claim system for palm kernel oil, Henkel has, as the first company in the world, now purchased such palm kernel oil certificates for its newly introduced brand Terra Activ, a product that has been on the market since October 1. Terra Activ cleaners offer top performance and are manufactured from substances that satisfy strict criteria with respect to the environment. The share of the ingredients based on renewable raw materials is on average 85 percent. Consequently, Henkel has set a new standard in combining excellence with environmental compatibility. ‘Performance based on Sustainability’ is the name of the strategy behind this approach.

“Our focus in adopting this strategy is on integrating the strengths and capabilities of our brands with responsibility for people and the environment,” explains Weinberger. “We see enormous potential in this combination of performance plus sustainability for driving forward the development of innovative products and more intelligent solutions. The benefits for our consumers derive from the fact that, in their purchasing decisions, they are able to choose not only the best-performing product but also the more sustainable option. This is further underlined by Henkel throughout the world with our ‘Quality and Responsibility’ logo, which appears on all our laundry and home care products.

Further comprehensive information concerning Henkel’s activities in the field of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, plus all the rankings and ratings, can be found under www.henkel.com/sustainability.