To truly understand, you have to listen attentively. That’s why companies are so keen to engage in dialogue with their stakeholders. An open approach to sharing opinions and exchanging insights is the key to understanding the expectations of different interest groups as they evolve over time. Whether through focus groups, surveys or participation in discussion platforms: Businesses gather insights into the concerns and priorities of their stakeholders – and reflect these insights in their day-to-day activities.
Initiatives and Partnerships
Expectations for social and environmental responsibility are changing again and again. That’s why companies rely on open dialogue with communities, suppliers, customers and many other stakeholders to make sure they provide solutions to the challenges that matter most.
Discuss, engage, involve
At Henkel, our approach to sustainability is shaped by our interactions with our stakeholders. We’re convinced that open, ongoing dialogue with all groups that have an interest in our business is the key to making sure we’re working on the challenges that matter most. Through direct conversation, participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives and support for dialog platforms, we aim to share our unique knowledge and gather insights – and then integrate what we’ve learned into our products, services and business activities. We want to understand our stakeholders. That’s why we truly listen.
Dialog with our stakeholders
Understanding the social demands that stakeholders of all kinds place on our company is a key component of our sustainability management. This includes our customers, consumers, suppliers, business partners, employees, shareholders, investors, neighbors and local communities, associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academia, as well as politicians and government authorities.
To better understand the expectations and perspectives of our stakeholders and to engage in dialog that is more targeted and solution-oriented, we make use of specific surveys and continuously monitor the opinions at several levels: in direct dialog, in multi-stakeholder initiatives, and through dialog platforms. Cooperation with NGOs and opinion leaders gives us insights into global challenges and enables us to respond to issues at an early stage. Stakeholder dialog is a key element of our approaches to innovation and risk management, and helps us to continuously develop our sustainability strategy and reporting.
In 2021, we once again conducted a comprehensive survey of our stakeholders to identify which topics have priority for them and to map the current expectations of the various stakeholder groups as part of the development of our sustainability strategy. Another aim was to obtain a clear picture of our international sustainability reputation. We followed both a quantitative and a qualitative approach, with in-depth interviews in addition to a comprehensive online survey. The survey confirmed that our target groups place great importance on our efforts to integrate sustainability into all of our activities and product life cycles, and that they also have a strong focus on the environmental impacts that occur during the individual phases of our products’ life cycles.
Everybody can make a difference
For many consumer products, the majority of the related environmental footprint is generated during the use of the product. That’s why promoting responsible-minded behavior is so important. As a result, manufacturers, retailers and distributors are joining forces to develop platforms that inform consumers about sustainable products and encourage them to use products responsibly.
Together with our retail partners we join forces to show consumers how they can cut their personal carbon footprint without sacrificing their quality of life. For instance, in a joint campaign, Henkel and the German drugstore chain Rossmann focused on a digital footprint calculator: Consumers answer a set of simple questions to calculate how much carbon is produced by what they eat, where they live or how they spend their free time. At the end, they see how their results compare to the national and international average.
Involving the next generation
More and more initiatives are being launched to encourage today’s consumers to change their habits now. However, it’s also important to think about future generations. That’s why educational activities that promote sustainable behavior and raise awareness about the challenges facing our planet are also gaining popularity. Henkel’s Forscherwelt (“researchers’ world”), for example, encourages children to explore the world of science by making research fun. The international program includes teaching units and materials for elementary schools. The contents of the program reflect the focal points of Henkel's research areas, while also exploring sustainability.