Responsible Sourcing

Our responsible sourcing approach focuses on sustainability aspects along our supply chains for the benefit of people and our planet. Intensive dialog and close cooperation with our suppliers are essential for achieving sustainable business, process and production practices.

  • 100% Responsible Sourcing

  • What we expect from our business partners and suppliers

  • Responsible Sourcing Process

  • Risk markets: Early warning system and conflict-free mineral management process

  • Initiatives for greater Sustainability

Global supply chains are very complex – raw materials are often handled by many different companies and travel long distances before reaching their final destination. This creates challenges for companies when seeking to boost sustainability at every step in their supply chain. To accommodate these increasingly globalized value chains and complex procurement activities we, at Henkel, ensure a holistic supplier management process. Together with our business partners, we are further shaping our collaborative approach and driving this process forward.

Expectations towards our supplier base

We place the same exacting demands on our suppliers and business partners worldwide. We expect them to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with our sustainability requirements. In selecting and working with our business partners, we consider alongside key commercial and operating indicators their performance with regard to safety, health, environment, social standards and fair business practices as decisive criteria. This is based on our globally applicable Corporate Purchasing Standards and the Safety, Health and Environmental Protection (SHE) Standards that we formulated as early as 1997, thereby demonstrating even at that time our commitment to assuming responsibility along the entire value chain. We supplemented these with a Responsible Sourcing Policy. Our aim is to make 100 percent Responsible Sourcing decisions globally, across all regions, business units, and material groups.

Binding supplier code

Compliance with the cross-sector Code of Conduct of the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing, and Logistics (BME) is mandatory for our suppliers worldwide. Henkel joined the BME in 2009, as its code is based on the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact and is therefore internationally applicable. Alongside our Responsible Sourcing Policy, the BME code also serves as the basis for contractual relationships with our strategic suppliers, who have either recognized the cross-sector BME code – and hence the principles of the Global Compact – or produced their own comparable code of conduct.

Cooperation with strategic suppliers and partners

Additionally, we collaborate intensively with our strategic suppliers to ensure the procurement of sustainable raw materials. We aim to initiate positive change throughout the value chain through joint projects for process optimization, resource efficiency, innovation, and environmental and social standards. Furthermore, Henkel has been honoring sustainable innovations by its suppliers for nine years.

Henkel has also engaged in targeted dialog with its most important strategic partners on the subjects of sustainable innovations and responsible supply chains, for many years. The dialog centers on the definition and implementation of a common plan for Henkel’s sustainability goals for 2025 and beyond. We use target agreements with our strategic suppliers to manage transparency, sustainability performance and innovation potential in the area of sustainable sourcing solutions. As part of our risk management approach, we are working to improve the transparency of our upstream supply chains with regard to sustainability risks. To support climate-change mitigation measures along the value chain, we also require our suppliers in the raw materials and packaging sectors to be transparent about the emissions levels of their product portfolios. We expect them to make a contribution to reducing COemissions along their supply chains in line with our science-based target for Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions. This approach addresses about 50 percent of our indirect emissions in the area of raw materials. In addition, we encourage sustainable innovation by engaging in dialog with suppliers and setting individual targets. This is how we ensure that focus topics such as biodegradability are systematically integrated into Henkel’s holistic approach to sustainability.

Our six-step Responsible Sourcing Process, which generates indicators on the sustainability performance of our suppliers, is a central element of our strategic risk management and compliance approach. We use the resulting transparency to support our buyers in working with suppliers to continuously improve sustainability performance in the value chain. These continuous improvement processes are based primarily on knowledge transfer and competence building with respect to process optimization, resource efficiency, and environmental and social standards. 

The Responsible Sourcing Process is an integral component of our sourcing activities. This process is initiated before the start of any new cooperation. It culminates in a recurring cycle of review, analysis and continuous improvement with existing suppliers. Using this process for the audit and assessment of the sustainability performance of our suppliers, we cover about 93 percent of our purchasing volume in the areas of packaging, raw materials, and contract manufacturing.

Henkel uses an early warning system for sustainability risks in global purchasing markets. We begin by evaluating the potential risks in a region or country. In doing so, we concentrate on countries identified by international institutions as being associated with heightened levels of sustainability risks. The assessment includes the criteria “human rights,” “corruption” and “legal environment” as well as risk value chains. Risk value chains are related to industries and sectors that we consider to potentially represent a sustainability risk for our company. This helps us to identify countries and purchasing markets that may require special precautions.

One of the most prominent contemporary examples of such sustainability risks in global purchasing markets relates to “Conflict Minerals”. Conflict-free supply chains are an integral part of our Responsible Sourcing Policy. We require our suppliers to provide documentary evidence that all the materials they source are conflict-free. Since Henkel has no direct business relationship with the smelters, we expect our suppliers to engage with these smelters on a conflict-free verified basis with the requirement to use exclusively Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) validated sources.

Henkel requests all affected suppliers to provide a completely filled and up-to-date Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) disclosing all smelters in our common supply chain showing that all these smelters participated in the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) and are verified as conformant smelter by the RMI. 

All the CMRT’s are regularly reinvestigated and updated and published company wide. See

For more details on our Responsible Sourcing Policy responsible-sourcing-policy.pdf (

Together for a sustainable supply chain

In 2011, Henkel and five other companies in the chemical industry co-founded the initiative “Together for Sustainability – Chemical Supply Chains for a Better World” (TfS). It is based on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact and the Responsible Care Initiative of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). At the heart of the initiative is the core idea: “An audit for one is an audit for all!”. TfS aims to harmonize increasingly complex supply chain management processes with regard to sustainability and to optimize dialog among worldwide business partners. Above all, synergies are to be created so that resources can be used more efficiently and with a minimum of administrative effort, not only among the member companies but also with all of our shared suppliers.

Around 16,000 assessments and audits have been conducted since TfS was founded. Performance is assessed in the areas of management, environment, health and safety, labor and human rights, and issues of ethical corporate governance. The TfS initiative has grown strongly in recent years and now consists of 33 members that represent a total spend of more than 244 billion euro (status: February 2022).

In September 2020, TfS launched its new strategic framework “TfS Grow&Deliver.” This new strategy builds on the initiative’s past achievements and will pivot TfS from an initiative focused on measurement to a community that delivers tangible impact. TfS members will continue their commitment to promoting higher standards, as well as improving the insights and data gathered from assessments and audits. This will enable TfS to train suppliers in topics and areas that offer the largest potential sustainability impact. TfS has also decided to expand its work in emerging markets such as China and India. Taking collaborative action is another building block for the new strategy. In this way, TfS aims to further extend its contribution to sustainability. On top of this, fostering the TfS community is another key factor that will enable TfS to achieve its aims.

Since May 2019, Bertrand Conquéret, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Henkel, has been President of the TfS initiative. He played a key role in developing the new “Grow&Deliver” strategy.

Responsible Sourcing together with our partners

Henkel is additionally a member of AIM-PROGRESS, a forum of companies from the consumer goods industry. The objective here is also to encourage member companies to share experiences in the area of sustainable sourcing and utilize synergies. The forum also focuses on holding regional supplier events to communicate and improve CSR performance within the value chain.
In line with our strong belief in the power of multi-stakeholder and cross-industry initiatives, we are also a founding member of the “Action for Sustainable Derivatives” (ASD). It brings together organizations from along the palm oil derivative supply chain to support efforts to increase transparency and promote compliance with NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) principles, with the overall aim of positively transforming the palm oil industry.