Oct 16, 2014 Berlin / Germany
Leading academics meet business experts on ‘innovating for sustainability’
How to improve the dialogue around sustainability between corporations and institutional investors? How to incorporate and communicate sustainability in a credible way as a major mass-market brand? These are two of the many questions that sustainability experts discussed with international academics at the CSR conference of the Humboldt University in Berlin on October 8th and 9th 2014.
The conference focused on the topic “innovating for sustainability” by exploring the integration of the vast knowledge on organizational and product innovation with the work on CSR. In plenary and 32 parallel sessions of the conference, various topics, including sustainable product innovations, investors and sustainability and responsible supply chain management, were discussed. Renata Casaro, Head of Investor Relations at Henkel, and Jean-Baptiste Santoul, General Manager at Henkel France, were both speakers at the event, where leading international business schools, world authorities in CSR such as John Elkington, business experts and investors met.
Santoul explained during a session on sustainable products and services the challenges of sustainability for a leading mass-market brand. In order to incorporate and communicate sustainability in a credible way, it is important to understand what is relevant to the consumer, never compromise on the performance of products and accompany customers with communication that triggers sustainable consumption habits, Santoul showed in his presentation. Collaborating with external eco-labels can help underline this commitment.
In the panel discussion “Investors and Sustainability,” Casaro stressed the importance of sustainability to create value and explained how it is embedded in Henkel’s innovation process. “Every innovation contributes to our sustainability targets,” said Casaro. “With this commitment to sustainability and value creation, together with a solid sustainability strategy and a compelling track record, we further increase relevance for investors and capital markets.”
By 2030, Henkel wants to triple the value it creates compared with the footprint of its operations, products and services. The shareholders on stage confirmed the importance of linking sustainability to the business case and pointed out how innovation and value driven sustainability management add to a company’s attractiveness.