With our products and technologies, we want to create more value for our customers and consumers by constantly innovating to offer better performance with a reduced environmental footprint.
- Our products should offer customers and consumers more value and better performance at a smaller environmental footprint.
- Our ambition is therefore that each new product must make a contribution to sustainability.
- Sustainability is a key pillar in the innovation strategies of the business units.
- Since 2008, we have subjected our products to systematic assessment in an innovation process. For the product categories, sustainability topics and metrics are considered accordingly in the innovation process.
- By considering the entire life cycle, we can ensure that the action taken will improve the overall sustainability profile of our products.
- For each product category and market, we examine whether we can spotlight certain product features – compatibility, packaging solution or environmental.
Sustainability evaluation in the Henkel innovation process
The Henkel focal areas have been systematically anchored into our innovation process since 2008. This means, our innovation process employs a variety of tools to systematically analyze, measure and evaluate our products. For the product categories, sustainability topics and metrics are considered accordingly in the innovation process. Our researchers have to identify the points in the value chain and the strategic areas in which the product offers concrete advantages. Each product receives a separate sustainability profile based on this data. To make it easier to optimize our products while they are being developed, we integrate the environmental profiles of potential raw ingredients and packaging materials into the information systems of our product and packaging development teams. This allows the footprint of a new formulation to be calculated as early as the development phase.
Measuring, assessing and managing progress
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 specific data from our suppliers, customers and other partners along the supply chain. We make use of reliable and specific databases for secondary data, such as certain emission factors or average values.
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. In addition, we participate in various initiatives, such as Together for Sustainability, Catena-X, A.I.S.E., the Eco Beauty Score Consortium and the Renewable Carbon Initiative. The aim is to standardize and harmonize the methodology for calculating product lifecycle appraisals, improve data quality, integrate supplier-specific data and primary data, and drive digital data exchange. For this reason, Henkel participates in pilot projects in the USA and Europe with the aim of driving forward the development of a reliable and internationally harmonized method of determining product life cycle analyses.
In addition, we have further developed our “EasyLCA” software tool for the fast calculation of CO2 footprints for product formulations. This is a quick way to make the footprint of formulations transparent for decision-making processes during the product development process.
Strengthening the contributions of our brands and technologies
Our business units in the consumer goods and the business and industrial customer segments align their brands and technologies with the specific sustainability challenges that are most relevant for their product portfolio, and integrate sustainability more strongly into brand and business strategies. Thus, sustainability is a key pillar in the innovation strategies of the business units.
In our consumer goods business, we are developing our product portfolios using resource-efficient technologies, with a particular focus on sustainable packaging solutions and optimized ingredients. They are driving the expansion of sustainable brands, and gradually transforming the entire product portfolio with a holistic approach.
Our Adhesive Technologies business unit is developing solutions that enable our business and industry customers to advance their contribution to sustainability through a combination of technical materials expertise and science-based innovations. With our customized products, we want to help reduce emissions, increase energy and material efficiency, recycle valuable resources and improve safety during the manufacturing and use phases, as well as for end users.