Success Story

On the way towards sustainable materials

Our Adhesive Technologies business is shifting the industry to using renewable carbon alternatives

Sustainability Building and Construction Transparency

Close-up of a white, Henkel-branded bag containing white pellets.

Net-zero target, sustainability commitments – no matter what news you read, you will for sure come across these headlines. Why they make it there is clear: Climate change is undeniably one of the major current global challenges. The increasing amount of CO2 has been slowly heating up our planet, affecting weather patterns in all parts of the world, leading to heat waves, a growing number of natural disasters, like hurricanes or flooding, and rising sea levels. 

We at Henkel acknowledge this challenge and therefore put protection of climate at the core of what we do. That’s why our ambition is to offer all our customers net-zero or low emission products by 2030. However, it takes bold moves from all players in the value chain to shift an industry based on fossil raw materials to using renewable carbon alternatives. Henkel is ready to tackle this challenge!

Cutting CO2 emissions from raw materials by 30 percent

In the chemical industry, carbon has been a basic raw material from the very beginning. A predominant part of the currently used carbon sources are of fossil origin such as oil, natural gas or coal, which are extracted from the ground. This means they hold an inherent carbon footprint which adds to our scope 3 emissions. At Henkel we are aiming to cut the CO2 emissions from raw materials by at least 30 percent by 2030. To tackle this, our Adhesive Technologies business has defined a comprehensive strategy, enabling customers to do the same along their value chain.

Out of our Adhesive Technologies business’ total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, about 60 percent can be attributed to the indirect emissions from purchased goods and services (upstream scope 3). Therefore, we assess the carbon footprint of the raw materials we use to identify ways of cutting related emissions. 


Emissions from a company’s operations (e.g. from an on-site natural-gas-fired boiler or in timber buildings vs. concrete and steel buildings)


Emissions stemming from the use of energy purchases, for example electricity (e.g. from an off-site power plant that serves company facilities)


Emissions that do not come from the company itself but are generated in upstream and downstream supply chain or in the use of the product

Assessing and replacing raw materials

Photo Dr. Sebastian Barth, Director Sustainable Materials Adhesive Technologies at Henkel

Although the amount of feedstock emissions stays the same, the more refined the raw material is, the more it adds to our upstream scope 3 emissions.

Crude oil needs to be refined and the materials that come from the refining process are then used as ingredients in our products. Step of material processing required to refine our raw materials needs energy and therefore creates further emissions that add to the overall carbon footprint. To understand CO2 emissions of a certain raw material holistically, both embedded carbon and process emissions have to be considered. 

“When looking into the scope 3 emissions of our raw materials, we have to differentiate between embedded and process-related emissions. What do we mean by that? In the chemical industry a lot of our raw materials are based on crude oil or natural gas, which are made of carbon. Embedded or feedstock emissions are produced when, at the end of useful life, a product is incinerated, and CO2 is released into the atmosphere” Sebastian Barth adds.

For our Adhesive Technologies business we have defined a comprehensive strategy for cutting scope 3 emissions - in line with the Science-Based Targets initiative’s pathway to net-zero. Our experts are working on replacing fossil-based raw materials with ingredients from renewable carbon sources like biomass, recycling and atmospheric CO2. However, there are some challenges to overcome when doing so. “Looking at replacing fossil-based raw materials, we have to factor in availability”, says Sebastian Barth, “because with more and more companies expanding their feedstock portfolio to include renewable carbon alternatives, the demand is increasing.” 

What is renewable carbon?

Renewable carbon includes any carbon source that avoids or replaces the use of additional fossil carbon, such as natural gas, oil and coal. There are three possible sources of renewable carbon: biomass, recycling of existing plastics and other materials, or CO2 from air and exhaust gases.


According to market research from nova institute, the share of renewable carbon from biomass, CO2 and recycling today is just making up 11% of the worldwide polymer market. This scarcity of low emission materials requires close collaboration from all partners involved. Therefore, we are connecting players from every step in our value chain through dedicated sustainability programs, projects and partnerships, to secure the access to the raw materials we need.

“We see ourselves as process partner for our customers, helping them to achieve their goals for renewable sourcing and CO2 reduction,” Sebastian Barth points out. “Working together with them already at an early stage, for example when designing new packaging concepts, will enable them to fully leverage the benefits of our portfolio transformation to renewable carbon material.”

YouTube Thumbnail Reducing CO2 Emissions from raw materials (Thumbnail)

In the video, Sebastian Barth explains the role raw materials play in our journey on Sustainability and how Henkel is implementing alternative raw materials solutions.

Redesigning products

This collaboration is bearing fruit: With Technomelt Supra ECO we have introduced the bio-based hot melt adhesive to the consumer goods market. Made with up to 98 percent of renewable carbon-based material – mixture of classic bio-based raw materials and materials certified according to the biomass balance method – it provides full traceability of the CO2 footprint and the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, thanks to a mass balance approach certified under ISCC PLUS. This independent certification confirms that our suppliers for the biomass-balanced raw materials replace the required amount of fossil raw materials with a corresponding amount of renewable raw materials at the beginning of the industrial value chain. 

The carbon footprint of a standard polyolefin hot melt adhesive amounts to 328 tons of CO2 per year, at an average consumption of 100 tons of adhesive per year. This equals 71 passenger cars driven for a full year! Technomelt Supra ECO with its new formulation offers our customers reduction of GHG emissions by more than 100% excluding the use phase and end of life emissions (based on a Henkel Cradle-to-Gate Product Carbon Footprint Assessment as defined in ISO 14067 OR considering biogenic CO2 uptake as negative emissions).

The goal of using more than 80 % bio-based raw materials without sacrificing product’s performance is technically very challenging, however Technomelt Supra ECO keeps the well-known performance of our polyolefin Supra technology, complies with relevant food contact regulations and is compatible with recycling according to EPRC guidelines.  

We are pioneering the transformation of our industry through dedicated programs and partnerships and will offer net-zero or low emission products to all our customers by 2030. That’s our promise.



Discover more about how we drive innovation and sustainability and explore even more success stories on the megatrends that inspire us.



Discover the brand portfolio of our Adhesive Technologies business and learn more about the industries we operate in.