Our shared responsibility for the future

Our supplier base is one of our most important resources. It constitutes millions of workers around the world and is of high relevance since the intensive dialogue and close cooperation with our suppliers are essential for achieving sustainable business, process and production practices. Our responsible sourcing approach focuses on sustainability aspects along our supply chains for the benefit of people and our planet with the aim of driving transformational change together with our partners.


We at Henkel are committed to 100% Responsible Sourcing. To live up to our commitment, we count on the support and collaboration with our suppliers!

Purposeful growth through Responsible Sourcing

With our leading approach to Responsible Sourcing, we aim to enable purposeful growth by driving sustainability throughout our supply chain – for the benefit of people and the planet. Our mission is to go beyond compliance, to drive impact and change across our entire value chain, and to create sustainable value for our customers. For this reason, we maintain intensive dialog and collaboration with our suppliers to promote sustainable practices and respect for human rights along the value chain.

Together for a sustainable supply chain

In 2011, Henkel and five other companies in the chemical industry co-founded the initiative “Together for Sustainability – Chemical Supply Chains for a Better World” (TfS). It is based on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Responsible Care Initiative of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). The vision that the six Chief Procurement Officers shared was “An Audit for one is an audit for all”. The aim of TfS is to harmonize increasingly complex supply chain management processes with regard to sustainability and to optimize dialog among worldwide business partners. Above all, synergies are to be created so that resources can be used more efficiently and with a minimum of administrative effort, not only among the member companies but also with all of our shared suppliers.

Performance is assessed in the areas of management, environment, health and safety, labor and human rights, and issues of ethical corporate governance. The TfS initiative has grown strongly in recent years and consists of members that are internationally operating chemical companies.

In September 2020, TfS launched its new strategic framework “TfS Grow&Deliver.” This new strategy builds on the initiative’s past achievements and will pivot TfS from an initiative focused on measurement to a community that delivers tangible impact. TfS members will continue their commitment to promoting higher standards, as well as improving the insights and data gathered from assessments and audits. This will enable TfS to train suppliers in topics and areas that offer the largest potential sustainability impact. TfS has also decided to expand its work in emerging markets such as China and India. Taking collaborative action is another building block for the new strategy. In this way, TfS aims to further extend its contribution to sustainability. On top of this, fostering the TfS community is another key factor that will enable TfS to achieve its aims.

Together we are stronger

In addition to our work in the Together for Sustainability initiative, Henkel is also member of AIM-PROGRESS, a forum of companies from the consumer goods industry. The objective here is also to encourage member companies to share experiences in the area of sustainable sourcing and utilize synergies.

In line with our strong belief in the power of multi-stakeholder and cross-industry initiatives, we are also a founding member of the “Action for Sustainable Derivatives” (ASD). It brings together organizations from along the palm oil derivative supply chain to support efforts to increase transparency and promote compliance with NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) principles, with the overall aim of positively transforming the palm oil industry.

Expectations towards our supplier base

Henkel currently has suppliers and other business partners from 120 countries. We expect them to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with our sustainability requirements. In selecting and developing our suppliers, we consider alongside key commercial and operating indicators their performance with regard to safety, health, environment, social standards and fair business practices as decisive criteria. This is based on our globally applicable Safety, Health and Environment standards that we formulated as early as 1997, thereby demonstrating even at that time our commitment to assuming responsibility along the entire value chain. We supplemented these with a Responsible Sourcing Policy as an integral part of our sourcing processes. Our Corporate Standard Purchasing continue to apply.

UNGC Principles embrace our Supplier Code of Conduct 

Compliance with the cross-sector Code of Conduct of the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing, and Logistics (BME) is mandatory for Henkel’s suppliers worldwide. Henkel joined the BME in 2009, as its code is based on the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact and can therefore be used internationally. The BME code serves as the basis for contractual relationships with our strategic suppliers. This means that they have either recognized the cross-sector BME code – and hence the principles of the Global Compact – or produced their own comparable code of conduct.

Accelerating the infinite cycle of continuous improvement 

The central element of our strategic risk and compliance management is our six-step Responsible Sourcing Process which we established to assess the sustainability performance of our suppliers. Through this six-step process, we support our purchasers and suppliers in making their contribution to continuous sustainability improvements in the supply chain through targeted collaboration and cooperation – for example, through knowledge transfer and competence building about process optimization, resource efficiency, and environmental and social standards. 

The Responsible Sourcing Process is an integral part of our purchasing activities and is applied both at the beginning of any cooperation and in the repeated cycle of review, analysis and continuous improvement with existing suppliers.

Intelligent procurement: Henkel SAP Ariba

One of our success factors is that we at Henkel aim for valuable partnerships with our suppliers. To strengthen our relationships, we invite both our existing as well as new suppliers to our digitalization journey: Henkel SAP ARIBA.

The implementation of Ariba Network enables the transformation of our procedures to simplified and digitalized supply chain activities. The electronic purchase orders and transactions allow more efficient processes while reducing costs and supporting sustainability. Thus, this intelligent procurement leads to an improved collaboration, being a standard part of doing business with Henkel around the globe.

Additional Information

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