reduction of the co2 foodprint

Climate change is one of the major global challenges of our time. We at Henkel are committed to the 1.5-degree Celsius target set in the Paris Climate Agreement. We integrate tackling climate change and its impacts into our sustainability strategy and across our entire value chain and are committed to climate protection. 

One part of our journey is our cooperation with our supplier BASF. Together, we can decrease the amount of fossil sources used for the production of ingredients and reduce their CO2 footprint.

Where do our ingredients come from?

We purchase a large amount of our ingredients for our hair and body care as well as laundry and home care products from our supplier BASF. Ingredients are, for example, surfactants that we use as cleaning agents in our shampoos, shower gels, laundry detergents and household cleaners. Those ingredients can be based on fossil and/or renewable raw materials. Fossil raw materials come from sources that are limited and are for example petroleum, crude oil or natural gas. Fossil sources like oil and gas result from a transformation of plant-based materials over thousands or millions of years in the earth. Renewable raw materials can come from different sources including biomass from organic wastes, forestry or agriculture.

Why does the CO2 footprint of fossil-based ingredients differ from renewable-based ingredients?

Fossil raw materials collected by extracting oil or gas from under the earth’s surface, where it has remained undisturbed for thousands or millions of years. Extraction brings captured CO2 to the planet’s surface, thereby at the end of the life cycle increasing the overall amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. 

Renewable (biomass) raw materials, come from plants growing today on the surface of our planet. Plants capture CO2 from the air during their lifetime and use the carbon (along with water) as source. Plants then release oxygen back into the air. This process is called photosynthesis. The CO2 that a plant captures, the carbon uptake, is named biogenic carbon. At the end of the life cycle CO2 is then released again through combustion or degradation. This is called the closed carbon cycle.

Within the full life cycle the usage of renewable raw materials show a lower total CO2 emission of the products than the usage of fossil raw materials.

How can we decrease the amount of fossil sources for our ingredients?

We decided to invest into the cooperation with BASF to increase the amount of renewable raw materials for the manufacture of ingredients and thus contribute to CO2 footprint reduction. Compared to conventional ingredients, the renewable-based ingredients will come with a lower CO2 footprint, amounting to 200,000 tons in savings over the duration of the four-year cooperation. That’s how much an airplane would emit if it flew around the world more than 76 times.

The current solution that is used to determine the amount of fossil and renewable sources in the production process is called “biomass balance approach”.


The biomass balance approach: an innovative path towards replacing fossil sources.

What is the biomass balance approach and how can it help to replace fossil sources?

In BASF production system renewable raw materials sourced from Europe and fossil raw materials are combined to manufacture ingredients (so called “biomass balance approach”). Afterwards, we use these ingredients to produce hair and body care as well as laundry & home care products. The mass balance approach is monitored by an independent third party (TÜV Nord). They certify the ingredients BASF manufactures for Henkel’s products according to the recognized REDcert² certification scheme for sustainable biomass. 

To better understand the biomass balance approach, let us compare it to the sourcing of renewable electricity. When paying for renewable electricity, it is not guaranteed that the electricity entering the home comes directly from renewable sources. But one can be sure that the equal amount of energy you buy is produced somewhere by green technologies.

Same applies for our cooperation with BASF: We cannot guarantee that the ingredients BASF delivers for our products are directly made from renewable raw materials. But due to the REDcert²-certification it is assured that the equal amount of renewable raw materials is actually sourced and consumed by BASF for the production of ingredients. Therefore, the approach is called “mass balance”.

You will find further information about BASF’s biomass balance approach here

How can you be part of our journey?

We aim to further increase the amount of renewable-based ingredients, thereby reducing our use of fossil-based ingredients. This is a strong contribution to more sustainable sourcing and production processes.

By purchasing one of our hair and body care as well as laundry or home care products (such as Schauma, Fa, Nature Box, Persil, Perwoll and Somat), you are supporting the use of more renewable-based ingredients via mass balance approach. 

And this is only the beginning of our journey. Be part of it!