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Sustainability

The commitment to sustainability has been an integral part of Henkel's corporate culture for decades. As a leader in sustainability, we aim to pioneer new solutions for sustainable development while continuing to shape our business responsibly and increase our economic success. This ambition encompasses all of our company’s activities – along the entire value chain.

Sustainability Strategy 2030: Achieving more with less

As part of our sustainability strategy, we want to create more value for our customers and consumers, for the communities we operate in, and for our company – at a reduced environmental footprint.

Six focal areas

We focus our activities along the value chain on six focal areas that reflect the relevant challenges and opportunities of sustainable development as they relate to our business.

Three of them describe how we want to create “more value” for our customers and consumers, our employees, our shareholders and for the communities we operate in:

  • Social Progress
  • Performance
  • Safety and Health

The three others describe the areas in which we want to reduce our environmental footprint:

  • Energy and Climate
  • Materials and Waste
  • Water and Wastewater

Goals

We have defined clear goals in the area of sustainability and made significant progress:

  • Our long-term 20-year goal for 2030 is to triple the value we create with our business activities - in relation to the ecological footprint we leave behind through our operations, products and services. We summarize this overarching goal as "Factor 3". Henkel has already increased its overall efficiency by 56 percent ?(compared to 2010).

  • To drive progress forward, we have defined specific targets in our focus areas for 2020 and beyond.

Active contribution to climate protection: Climate-positive

Henkel’s long-term vision is to become a climate-positive company by 2040 and to drive progress in further relevant parts of its value chain, thus making an active contribution to climate protection.

Targets

  • On the way to becoming climate-positive by 2040, we plan to reduce the carbon footprint of our production by 65 percent by 2025. We intend to achieve this by continuously improving our energy efficiency and by using electricity from renewable sources.
  • In addition, we want to leverage our brands and technologies to help customers, consumers and suppliers save 100 million tons of CO2 in a ten-year period up to 2025.
  • In parallel, we are striving to source 100 percent of the electricity we use in operations from renewable sources by 2030.
  • From 2030 onward, we want to replace the last remaining fossil fuels used in our production with climate-neutral alternatives, such as biogas or gas obtained from converting CO2. We also aim to supply surplus carbon-neutral energy that Henkel does not need for its own purposes to third parties. In doing so, we will avoid emissions from our own activities, and also enable third parties to avoid potential emissions by using clean energy. Supplying others with clean energy means that our sites become climate-positive.

Sustainable packaging & circular economy

Henkel has already made many advances in the field of sustainable packaging and is constantly driving the development towards a circular economy. In our new packaging strategy, we have set ourselves ambitious targets.

Our packaging targets for 2025

  • 100 percent of Henkel’s packaging material will be recyclable or reusable*.
  • We aim to reduce the amount of virgin plastic from fossil sources in our consumer products by 50 percent. We will achieve this by increasing the proportion of recycled plastic to more than 30 percent, by reducing the plastic volume, and by using bio-based plastics.
  • Henkel wants to help prevent waste from being disposed into the environment. That is why we support waste collection and recycling initiatives. We invest in innovative solutions and technologies to promote closed-loop recycling, and we aim to enable contact with more than 2 billion consumers per year by providing targeted information about recycling.

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By the end of 2019, 85 percent of Henkel's packaging was already recyclable or reusable* and the proportion of recycled plastic in its consumer goods packaging was 10 percent globally.

Initiatives and partnerships

Progress towards sustainability in packaging is only possible if companies along the entire value chain work together. Therefore, Henkel is engaged in various partnerships and cross-industry initiatives. A few examples:

  • We participate in the New Plastics Economy initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which brings together stakeholders to rethink the future of plastics and provide ideas to foster a circular economy.
  • Henkel is a founding member of the global Alliance to End Plastic Waste, launched in January 2019. The Alliance will develop and implement solutions for the reduction and management of plastic waste.
  • In 2017, Henkel became the first global consumer goods company to cooperate with the social enterprise Plastic Bank. The common goal: to stop plastic waste in the oceans and at the same time create new opportunities for people living in poverty. Within the partnership, Henkel supports projects in Haiti, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as the construction of more than 400 Plastic Bank collection points in Egypt. The local population has the chance to earn money or services by removing plastic waste from the local environment – before it enters waterways or oceans. The collected and recycled material?– Social Plastic? – is already used by Henkel in its own product packaging.

Positive contribution to social progress

Contributing to social progress is one of the six focus areas of Henkel's sustainability strategy.

Henkel wants to further expand its positive social impact on communities by 2025 through 100 percent responsible sourcing, by leveraging its more than 50,000 employees, which have been trained as sustainability ambassadors, and by helping to improve the lives of 20 million people worldwide.

Commitment of our employees

We not only want to impart knowledge about sustainability to our employees, but also encourage them to commit themselves to sustainability. With their skills and knowledge, they can make important contributions to sustainability as ambassadors at our sites, with our customers and with other partners in our business environment.

Sustainability Ambassador Programme

  • In 2012, Henkel initiated the "Sustainability Ambassador Program" to encourage employees to learn more about sustainability.
  • Since then, Henkel has qualified more than 50,000 Sustainability Ambassadors worldwide - through targeted e-learning programs and team training.
  • Within the scope of our school project, our Sustainability Ambassadors also visit schools in order to familiarize children with sustainable action in everyday life. By the end of 2019, we had informed more than 170,000 schoolchildren in 53 countries about sustainability.

Other initiatives

  • As part of the Sustainability Ambassador program Henkel has launched a global employee initiative. It is part of its commitment to foster a functioning circular economy and reduce plastic waste in the environment: Around 1,300 Henkel employees around the world have so far taken part in clean-up events and removed waste from riverbanks, parks and cities. The aim of the ‘trashfighter’ initiative is to further raise awareness of waste in the environment.

* Excluding adhesive products where residue may affect recyclability or pollute recycling systems.

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