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Climate protection strategy and targets

  • Introduction
  • Three main levers
  • Our goal: Working towards a climate positive contribution
  • Our Operations
  • Further levers along the value chain

Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by humans are responsible for increased climate change and global warming. These emissions are also increasing due to our lifestyle and our economic systems. And yet the global “climate budget” is limited.

The UN’s global Paris agreement on climate change represents a commitment by the community of nations to limit global warming to significantly less than two degrees Celsius. To achieve this, carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 80 to 90 percent between now and 2050.

Henkel is committed to the two-degree target and sees it as an essential prerequisite if nine billion people are to be able to live well within the resource limits of our planet in 2050.

Three main levers are available to stop global emissions from increasing further, and to make sure emissions are reduced by the required amount:

  1. Increase efficiency: save energy and raw materials
  2. Decarbonize: replace CO2 in energy and raw materials
  3. Use CO2 as a resource: convert CO2 into raw materials

In light of the need to reduce emissions and decarbonize the economy, Henkel pursues the vision to become climate positive in its operations and driving significant progress in other relevant areas of our value chain. By pursuing this goal, we will make an active and committed contribution toward climate protection.

We focus on our own production, which we can influence directly. In addition, we want to influence the key levers in our value chain with major potential for reducing CO2 emissions.

The carbon footprint of our production is about 734,000 tons of CO2 and is attributable in equal measure to the fuels we use ourselves (Scope 1) and the energy purchased (Scope 2), particularly electricity.

We are aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of our production by 75 percent between now and 2030. To do so, we want to continually improve our energy efficiency and to use more energy, particularly electricity, from renewable sources.

Energy efficiency:

We have defined specific targets for our operations to support our progress toward our long-term goal of becoming three times more efficient by 2030 (“Factor 3”). One of our medium-term targets is to reduce the energy used by our production sites by 30 percent per ton of product by 2020 compared to the base year 2010, and then to increase this reduction to 50 percent by 2030, compared to the same base year.

Conversion to green power:

In addition to our efficiency targets, we are striving to source 100 percent of the electricity we use in operations from renewable sources by 2030. Our interim target for this goal is to achieve 50 percent coverage by 2020.

To implement our goal, it is important to consider differences in legislation and infrastructure, as well as levels of regulation and variations in climate conditions in each of the countries we operate in. For this reason, we are following country-specific approaches that are flexible and leverage a portfolio of options. With this in mind, we are basing our conversion to green power on a combination of the following three models:

  1. On-site production: Wherever the analysis of environmental and economic criteria supports the generation of green power in our own plants (e.g. wind turbines or solar cells), we plan to do so. We either fund these plants ourselves or collaborate with external partners through long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
  2.  Direct purchase: This model involves purchasing green power either straight from the grid of a local energy utility company or within the framework of a long-term PPA.
  3. Virtual coverage: If the two options mentioned above cannot be implemented at one of our sites, meaning that we cannot purchase the electricity directly, we will cover our green power requirements virtually. We do this by entering into long-term PPAs that feed green power from specific plants into the supply grid – in an amount that is equal to the amount we consume. If this is not possible, we purchase the appropriate green power certificates.

Off-site, direct procurement

By successively converting our production sites using a combination of the models described above, we consider the individual conditions at each site, as well as their respective energy requirements.

Scenario 2030+ for our operations

From 2030 onward, we want to replace the last remaining fossil fuels used in our operations with climate-neutral alternatives, such as biogas or gas obtained from converting CO2 (power-to-gas), and to supply carbon-neutral energy to third parties. In doing so, we will not only avoid emissions ourselves; we will also enable third parties to benefit from clean energy and avoid potential emissions themselves.

Overall, production only accounts for about two percent of our carbon footprint along the entire value chain. The use of our products accounts for around 70 percent, and the raw materials for around 25 percent. This is where we see big potential to reduce emissions and contribute to climate protection.

COemissions during product use

Our products are used millions of times every day in households and industrial processes. As our analysis shows,  the product use phase has the greatest impact on our carbon footprint. For this reason, our goal is to leverage the potential of our brands and technologies and to offer our expertise to help our customers and consumers save 50 million tons of CO2 emissions between now and 2020.

On the one hand, we make products whose applications are directly linked to the use of energy, such as detergents, shower gels, or hotmelt adhesives. As far as these products are concerned, we plan to contribute toward reducing energy usage and the associated carbon footprint through innovations that enable the efficient use of energy. At the same time, we are striving to develop specific communication campaigns to encourage responsible behavior during product usage. Our Persil and Dial resource calculators, for example, show how even a small change in everyday behavior can make a positive contribution. Our business units have launched initiatives to raise our consumers’ awareness of the need to handle resources responsibly, such as our „BeSmarter“ initiative, and the introduction of the cold wash logo on detergent products.

Henkel also offers products that make a relevant contribution toward avoiding energy consumption and CO2 emissions – when insulating buildings, building lighter vehicles, or eliminating the need for superfluous wash cycles, for example. When our customers reduce their emissions in this way, we are able to improve our carbon footprint indirectly by avoiding so-called Scope 4 emissions within our value chain.

To encourage a sustainable washing behavior in consumers Henkel developed a special Logo with the appeal “be sustainable – wash cold”. Henkel hereby promotes energy saving during washing directly on the packaging of detergents. By reducing the washing temperature, consumers can save energy and up to 2 Mio. tons of CO2 each year.

Ceresit building isolation: 107,500 tons of CO2  avoided each year 

Dry shampoo: > 1,500 tons of CO2 avoided each year

Colour Catcher: 210,000 tons of CO2 avoided each year

Somat Maschinen-Reiniger

Somat dishwasher cleaner: 7,000 tons of CO2 avoided each year

Leave-in conditioner: 86,500 tons of CO2 avoided each year

Cool roof coatings: 16,500 tons of CO2 avoided each year


CO2 emissions from raw materials

Contribution by our suppliers:

The raw materials we purchase have a decisive impact on our carbon footprint along the value chain, which is why we expect our suppliers and contract partners to set efficiency targets that are as ambitious as our own. We want to work with our partners to develop innovative raw materials solutions and, at the same time, discuss ambitious targets for reducing the carbon footprint of our raw materials portfolio by 30 percent as early as 2030.

Replacing CO2 in raw materials:

In order to reduce emissions further, we have studied our portfolio to see where we can replace carbon-intensive raw materials with low carbon alternatives.

Palm (kernel) oil is a key raw material for Henkel. Its cultivation can lead to deforestation of primary or secondary rainforests of significant environmental value, including peat lands and forests that absorb high levels of carbon. Drainage of these areas, for example, causes considerable carbon emissions. Our goal is therefore to purchase all palm and palm kernel oil used in our products from sustainably-cultivated sources in line with the RSPO’s Mass Balance model by 2020. In doing so, we want to avoid the abovementioned activities that drive carbon emissions during the production of palm (kernel) oil. This approach will reduce our footprint by 500,000 tons of CO2 each year. As such, it is a significant contributor to decarbonization in our value chain.

Use CO2 as a resource: Power-to-X

To maximize our efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions along the value chain, Henkel is also focusing on technologies that are still at the development stage – and which offer huge potential for making even better use of temporary or local energy peaks in the future. One of these is “power-to-X”, which enables the CO2 to be used for positive outcomes and is expected to be ready for large-scale technical application within the next 15 years. The technology is the subject of a government research project that is supported by several companies: Henkel is also planning to participate.

Using power from renewable energy sources, this technology makes it possible to blend CO2 with other chemical elements and convert the energy it contains.

The “power” in power-to-X is green power that is generated through water electrolysis and stored as hydrogen. “X” represents the numerous valuable raw materials into which this hydrogen can be converted in conjunction with carbon dioxide – e.g., gas fuels, synthetic fuels or chemical raw materials, such as surfactants or plastics. These raw materials are climate-neutral if made from CO2 taken from industrial processes. They are climate-positive if CO2 from the atmosphere is used as the resource.
This opens up new possibilities for Henkel: Firstly, we can use gas from power-to-X to fuel our production (spray towers, power plant). Secondly, we can replace carbon-intensive raw materials with raw materials from the power-to-X process.

If used on a wide scale, the technology can help to significantly cut CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, reducing the carbon footprint of our value chain in the future. Over the long term, it could even make it possible to extract more CO2 from the atmosphere than is emitted into it, making a positive overall impact on the climate.