Sep 23, 2014  Düsseldorf / Germany

Anchoring sustainability in the innovation process

Driving sustainable innovations at Henkel

Innovative products and solutions are essential if society wants to decouple economic growth from resource consumption.

Henkel has spent the last three decades working on the development of high-performance enzymes that remove starches quickly and effectively.

Henkel has spent the last three decades working on the development of high-performance enzymes that remove starches quickly and effectively.

Thanks to systematic tools and processes, Henkel is consistently developing innovative products and solutions that offer customers and consumers more value and better performance with a smaller environmental footprint. Henkel does not focus on developing a few “sustainable products” with environmental benefits. The company’s aim is to continuously improve all products across the entire Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care and Adhesive Technologies portfolios, taking every aspect and the entire value chain into account.

“Sustainability is an important competitive factor,” said Chief Executive Officer Kasper Rorsted. “Our intense focus on sustainability during the innovation process enables us to develop high-performing, efficient products for our customers and consumers.”

Tools that integrate sustainability systematically

In 2008, Henkel systematically anchored the focal areas of its sustainability strategy into the innovation process. Researchers must demonstrate the specific advantages of products and processes they are developing with regard to performance, social progress, health and safety, energy and climate, water and wastewater, as well as materials and waste.

Henkel has developed an evaluation system – called the Henkel Sustainability#Master® – to demonstrate specific hotspots along the value chain and across these strategic focal areas, where innovations can have the greatest impact. Only by considering the entire life cycle can Henkel ensure that innovations will improve the overall sustainability profile of its products and processes. Henkel experts use the Henkel Sustainability#Master® not only to evaluate potential innovations but also in dialog with retail partners, NGOs, and other stakeholders.

New products and process examples

High-performance enzymes in Pril: Together with Novozymes, Henkel has developed high-performance enzymes that enable Pril hand-dishwashing detergents to remove rice, noodles and other starches quickly and effectively. Thanks to the enzymes and a wide range of steps that optimize the product formulation, Henkel reduces its surfactant consumption and cuts CO2 emissions by more than 10,000 metric tons per year. This removes as much CO2 from the environment per year as would a wooded area three times the size of New York City’s Central Park.

Recycled aluminum packaging for Fa: Henkel’s Beauty Care business unit is conducting a pilot project in collaboration with Ball Corporation on the use of 25 percent recycled aluminum in spray-can packaging (e.g. canisters for Fa deodorant sprays). Using recycled aluminum is significantly less energy intensive than manufacturing primary aluminum. In fact, Henkel could avoid as much as 10,000 metrics tons of CO2 emissions per year thanks to this new packaging innovation.

Solutions for lightweight vehicles: The automotive industry is seeking solutions to cut down on vehicle weight, reduce fuel consumption, and comply with strict CO2 emissions standards. Through a unique portfolio of Loctite adhesives, Teroson sealants and Bonderite functional coatings, Henkel creates opportunities to design and build advanced-material, lightweight automotive components. These enable quieter, lighter and more durable vehicles, while providing comfort, strength and safety. Henkel’s Teroson acoustic solutions enable manufacturers to reduce weight by 25 percent in comparison to traditional bitumen pads.

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