Oct 6, 2014  Düsseldorf / Germany

Partnerships for sustainable innovations

Henkel delivers sustainable solutions with partners

Henkel is working together with partners and leading specialists in various industries to ensure that new products and solutions offer more value and better performance with a smaller environmental footprint. This approach is key to Henkel’s sustainability strategy of achieving more with less.

As part of the strategy, every new product must contribute to at least one of Henkel’s six sustainability focal areas – performance, social progress, health and safety, energy and climate, water and wastewater as well as materials and waste. In many cases, collaboration begins in the product design stage to understand customer and consumer needs and develop cutting-edge innovations.

A success factor for the company

Looking outside of the organization and embracing collaboration is fundamental not only to Henkel’s sustainability strategy but to the company’s business success. “We need to collaborate with the best partners so that we can develop new and pioneering products and solutions,” said Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum, Corporate Senior Vice President of Research & Development, Laundry & Home Care and co-chair of the Sustainability Council. “This approach will enable us to bring innovations to the market sooner and remain one step ahead of our competition.”

Recent examples of collaboration

Somat Gold and Somat 10 leverage pharmaceutical dissolving agent: Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care business unit draws upon innovations in industries such as food & beverage, food processing, pharmaceuticals and textiles to make products more effective and efficient. For example, Henkel has repurposed a substance, which was first developed in the pharmaceutical industry and used to ensure that drugs in pill-form dissolve quickly, for its Somat Gold and Somat 10 dishwashing detergents. The ingredient ensures that Somat Gold and Somat 10 dissolve so quickly that they are best suited for short washing cycles. This innovation not only delivers superior performance due to the fast release of the active ingredients, but also enables consumers to reduce water and energy consumption in the process.

Open-source alternative to animal testing: Henkel is working with partners on an “Open Source Reconstructed Epidermis Model” (OS-REp) to determine skin-irritating effects. Knowledge of this model – from its production to its uses – will be made generally available so that others can use it as a replacement for animal testing. The documentation has been submitted to EURL ECVAM, the European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing, which is responsible for scientifically validating alternative methods. We hope that this model will soon be able to establish itself as a “gold standard”.

Solutions for innovative furniture: Urbanization is changing the way people live. The shift toward more single-person households and smaller living spaces is creating demand for innovative furniture designs that combine functions – while using less resources. Henkel offers solutions that open new design possibilities, drive down resource consumption during the manufacturing process and deliver high quality throughout a longer product life. Henkel has collaborated with machine manufacturers Homag and Cefla to develop sustainable technologies and applications for the furniture industry that create more value for manufacturers and end-consumers alike. “Fusion-coating”, for example, delivers longer-lasting surface hardness and a higher degree of thermal resistance without using any water during production – and the final product is both solvent and formaldehyde free.

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