Product Innovations

Our products help to decouple quality of life from resource use.

  • Sustainability evaluation in the Henkel innovation process
  • Measuring, assessing and managing progress
  • Strengthening the contributions of our brands and technologies

The Henkel focal areas have been systematically anchored into our innovation process since 2008. This means that, at a given point, our researchers must demonstrate the specific advantages of their project in regard to product performance, added value for customers and consumers, and social criteria (“more value”). They also have to show how it contributes to using less resources (“reduced footprint”). For each product category and market, we examine whether we can spotlight certain product features – compatibility, packaging solution or environmental benefits – by using appropriate (environmental) labels.

With the help of life cycle analyses and the knowledge they have acquired during many years of work on sustainability, our experts analyze the complete life cycle of our products. Only by considering the entire life cycle can we ensure that the action taken will improve the overall sustainability profile of our products. As early as the product development phase we can assess what environmental impacts occur, to what extent, and in which phase of a product’s life. Building on these results, improvement measures can then be applied where they are most needed and can be most efficiently implemented. In preparing life cycle analyses, we use our own primary data as well as data from our partners along the supply chain. If such data is not available, we draw on secondary data from existing databases on life cycle analyses, average values, and emission factors. To further develop metrics and indicators, we collaborate with external partners on topics such as product carbon footprints and water footprints. We also participate in international initiatives such as “The Sustainability Consortium” and the Consumer Goods Forum's Measurement Group.

The Henkel Sustainability#Master is an important measurement tool. It combines various instruments for measuring sustainability. This evaluation system centers around a matrix based on the individual steps of the value chain and on our six focal areas. The goal is to increase the value of the product and simultaneously reduce its environmental footprint. Hot spots can be identified for every product category on the basis of scientific measurement methods. These are the fields with the greatest relevance for sustainability – this applies to both the “Value” and the “Footprint” dimension. The specified hot spots can also be used to compare the sustainability profile of two products or processes. This allows sustainability profiles to be prepared for each product category. Henkel’s researchers use these findings for innovation and continuous product improvements.

Our brands and technologies are used a million times over, every day, in households and industrial processes. For this reason, we want to expand their contributions to sustainability by focusing more strongly on pioneering innovations. In order to strengthen the part played by our products, we define brands and technologies that have the potential to make relevant contributions to meeting environmental or social challenges through groundbreaking innovations or by engaging customers and consumers. We will make more use of communication with our customers and consumers to demonstrate how our brands and technologies contribute to sustainability, where consumers can play a part, and how we can help them use resources more efficiently and reduce costs.