Henkel aims to triple business efficiency by 2030

Technologies business Henkel has identified sustainability as a key driver behind its pledge to improve the efficiency of its business and supply chain three-fold by 2030.

The global brand behind the likes of Persil, Schwarzkopf and Sellotape has new outlined short-term and long-term sustainability ambitions, saying its overall goal is to improve the ecological footprint of its business and supply chain.

It aims to improve the efficiency of its products and services by about 5 to 6% each year by evaluating the entire carbon footprint of the product. It has set five-year focal targets up to 2030 to achieve this.

As a result, in its interim targets for 2015 in which it pledges to improve the relationship between its products value and ecological footprint by 30%, against a 2010 baseline, stating that reducing resource use and sustainable development is at the ‘heart’ of its strategy.

Setting out sustainability targets in six key areas, including energy and climate, water and wastewater and materials and waste, Henkel says it plans to build on its current sustainability progress.

In its sustainability report 2011, Henkel management board chairman Kasper Rorsted said he believes sustainability will support business growth in the future – particularly as natural resources such as fossil fuels and water become more precious.

The report also recognises that climate change is going to place an increasing demand on resources, and as such has set a target of a further 15% reduction in energy consumption and associated carbon emissions per production unit by 2015.

It also pledges to match this target in materials, waste, water and wastewater reduction, as well as increasing the biodegradable ingredients in its soaps, shower gels and shampoos to 90% by 2012.

Henkel has also been part of the Global Packaging Project (GPP) of the Consumer Goods Forum, which aims to develop standardised evaluation processes and indicators for packaging solutions can be analysed with regard to their economic, ecological and social impacts.

To date, Henkel has steadily increased the amount of recycled materials used in its laundry detergent and household cleaners PET bottles, which now contain 25% recyclate on average. However, its Terra brand bottles, used for dishwashing liquid, glass and bathroom cleaners, use 100% recycled PET. This is an initiative Henkel plans to build on during the next five-years.

In terms of waste reduction, it notes that developing packaging technologies with the smaller ecological footprints, which optimise the packaging of its products by using less raw materials and energy, will be vital.

As a result, it pledges to use 100% packaging material, including recycled paper and board materials by 2015, against a 2012 figure of 50%.

It also plans to test and develop renewable packaging sources, such as bioplastics, which have a lower environmental impact to crude-oil based materials, as well as phasing out PVC materials.

In line with corporate initiatives, Henkel notes that encouraging consumer behavioural change to foster “sustainable, resource-conserving consumption” practices will be important, as the ecological footprint of many of its products “largely depends on their being used correctly”.

To support this it has launched a ‘resource-calendar’ to enable customers to track the energy consumption of the product and their carbon footprint.

According to Mr Rorsted, leadership in sustainability will be “key for our success in the future”, adding that it offers Henkel a competitive advantage.

He said: “It will help shape our business in the future, and enable us to combine excellent business performance with a long-term perspective and responsibility.”

The full report can be viewed here.

Carys Matthews

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