07/01/2009, Düsseldorf

 

A new standard of quality for sustainable consumption

 

Quality & Responsibility

Christian-André Weinberger, Corporate Senior Vice President und Global Chief Marketing Officer and Sustainability Council representative for the Laundry & Home Care business at Henkel explains why sustainability is a success factor, why performance – based on sustainability – is setting a new standard of quality, and why innovative, sustainable consumption can lead us out of the crisis.

Mr. Weinberger, what does innovative and sustainable consumption mean to you?
Focusing on sustainable development and how it impacts on our day-to-day actions will play a decisive role in shaping developments in the areas of energy, water and education. People will always consume more and more. The important thing is to make sure that this consumption will be sustainable. By that I mean that we will have to develop even better products and solutions that meet the needs of people today without compromising the development opportunities of future generations.

You speak of a new standard of quality – what do you mean by that?
At Henkel our ambition is that a new product should not only offer consumers excellent performance but must also make a contribution to sustainable development at the same time. We call this combination “Performance based on Sustainability.” This ambition to combine the quality of our brands with responsibility toward people and the environment demands that we constantly come up with new, ever more innovative ideas. For us, this is a clear strategic advantage which significantly strengthens our position in the laundry and home care market..
Take our new Purex Complete 3-in-1, for example. By developing this laundry detergent as a super concentrate, we have been able to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions during transport by just under 80 percent and the material consumption for packaging by some 60 percent. Another example is our Somat brand, which offers consumers top cleaning performance, even with water- and energy-saving dishwashing programs, and which is highly successful.

How is sustainability lived at Henkel?
Sustainability is part of Henkel’s DNA. To us, it is essential to act responsibly throughout the entire value chain. We therefore systematically focus our activities on the challenges of sustainable development as they relate to our operations. We have grouped these according to five focal areas: Energy and Climate, Water and Wastewater, Materials and Waste, Health and Safety, and Social Progress. A central feature of our commitment is that each new product is should be better than its predecessor in at least one of these focal areas.

So you are focusing more on performance, than on using less?
Absolutely. In my opinion we are currently focusing too much on a theme that I generally call “achievement versus avoidance currency”. By that I mean that we are always trying to use even less water and energy in the manufacture and use of our products. This is extremely important, of course, but to act sustainably, we should be concentrating more on the performance side of the equation, that is, the quality of our products. We should also be talking about how we can achieve these advances. My answer is: only through better technology and innovative, even smarter solutions. Let me give you an example: At Henkel, we have developed Persil Actic Power, a laundry detergent that develops its washing power at just 15° Celsius, thanks to even better performing enzymes. Washing laundry at lower temperatures not only lowers energy consumption but also puts money back in people's pockets.

What role does the consumer play in all this?
The role of the consumer and our business activities are very closely linked. This also applies to our efforts strive for a more sustainable development together with them. The consumer is extremely important because he or she decides which product to buy. We want to make it easy for consumers to make responsible decisions. With brands and solutions from Henkel, they not only obtain excellent product quality, but are also buying the more sustainable solution at the same time. This is a commitment that Henkel has been living for more than 130 years. Through our "Quality & Responsibility" logo that we use worldwide on all of our laundry and home care products, we are underscoring this commitment and communicating it clearly to consumers.

For the first time Henkel offers users an opportunity to follow the media event on July 1 on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/henkel

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Head of Corporate Communications:
Ernst Primosch, Corporate Vice President