Sustainability: Henkel a leader among international corporations
Combining economic success with corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been a constant feature of Henkel’s business philosophy for over 130 years now. And in international terms, too, Henkel counts among the leading companies in this domain. So when it came to conferral of the first ever “European Corporate Responsibility Award” in Prague on February 5 this year, Henkel was once again among the finalists.
For Henkel, sustainability means ensuring that the company meets the needs of society and the requirements of its stakeholders – without jeopardizing the development opportunities of future generations – both through its brands and technologies and in its role as an employer. After winning the German Sustainability Award in December 2008, Henkel has now impressed another high-caliber jury with its firmly established sustainability strategy, taking its place among the 22 finalists from throughout Europe in the first ever competition for the European Corporate Sustainability Award.
The company regards reaching the final as an important acknowledgment of its commitment in the sustainability field. ”We are delighted at this international affirmation of our strategy – particularly given that this is the first pan-European sustainability award of its kind,” said Christian-André Weinberger, Corporate Senior Vice President und Global Chief Marketing Officer at Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care business sector. ”We have no doubts that this issue is more important today than it has ever been. We see enormous potential here for driving innovation toward combining product performance and quality with responsibility for people and the environment,” he added.
The award recognizes innovative strategies that both promote business success and anchor sustainability and corporate social responsibility as factors for progress within the companies concerned. The competition was organized by the European Independent Consulting Group (E-I), a network of independent strategy and management consultants. The jury is comprised of representatives from the EU Commission and renowned national personalities from the fields of politics, business and society. The German jury member is Professor Dr. Klaus Töpfer, a former Minister for the Environment in Germany and erstwhile Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). Chair of the Czech-based jury is the Minister for Human Rights and National Minorities, Dzamila Stehlikova.
In putting itself forward as a candidate, Henkel was able once again to underline its credentials as a leader in this field. Examples of its activities and commitment to sustainability and CSR include the following:
Active engagement in promoting the recognition of certificates for sustainable palm kernel oil, a raw material used in the production of wash-active substances (surfactants), through membership of the “Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO).
Participation in Germany’s “Product Carbon Footprint” pilot project with the aim of driving forward the development of reliable methods capable of generating transparent and comparable results for determining the full gamut of climate-relevant emissions.
The “Quality and Responsibility” strategy aimed at combining product performance with the best possible degree of environmental protection in all the company’s laundry and home care products.
Extensive use of renewable raw materials, of recycled residues for product packaging, not to mention the introduction of accurate dosing aids.
Henkel’s record on sustainability and corporate social responsibility has gained an excellent standing in various national and international rankings and ratings. For example, in December 2008 the company was recognized as “Germany’s Most Sustainable Brand” at the first ever German Sustainability Congress. And in September 2008, Henkel was the only company in the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) market segment to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). Only 10 percent of the world’s 2,500 largest companies make the grade for inclusion in the DJSI World. In March of this year, moreover, Henkel also garnered the 2008 “ESG Award” 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).
Henkel provides extensive information on sustainability and corporate social responsibility, plus all the relevant rankings and ratings, on its website www.henkel/com/sustainability.