Collective responsibility

Communities can only function if all of their members are prepared to accept responsibility. This applies to governments and companies as well as individual citizens. The role of governments is to develop internationally binding agreements – for example, on global priorities for sustainable development or the protection of human rights – and to ensure their implementation. Globally operating companies are called upon to provide active support. They must actively accept responsibility within their sphere of influence and thus contribute to the global implementation of sustainable solutions. Henkel has embraced this challenge in daily practice for many years. As a visible sign of its commitment, in July 2003 the Company declared its participation in the United Nations Global Compact.

Henkel sees the United Nations Global Compact as a network in which the partners can share experiences, discuss methods of promoting sustainable development, and learn from each other. Since joining the Global Compact in July 2003, Henkel has reported in the Global Compact Learning Forum in addition to its annual progress reports. For example, Henkel submitted a project example on a public private partnership project carried out jointly with the German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) illustrating the fulfillment of the Global Compact principles. On a national level, Henkel participates in the German Global Compact network. The members of this network initiate joint projects and engage in intensive exchanges.

In 2008, the Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP), spearheaded by Wuppertal Institute, organized a number of consecutive workshops on behalf of the German Global Compact network dealing with the theme of “Sustainable consumption”. Henkel actively supported these workshops as an appointed member of one of the advisory groups. Workshop results were presented in the context of a publication on “Partnerships for sustainable consumption”, which was released in 2009.

The principles of the Global Compact

The spirit of the Global Compact is already embedded in Henkel´s vision and values. The associated corporate value reads: Henkel is dedicated to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The corporate ethic derived from this commitment is defined in worldwide standards and a Code of Conduct, with which all employees must comply. For Henkel, participation in the Global Compact was another step in the process of emphasizing the importance of high standards in its worldwide activities. As a part of this process, it informed its employees and communicated its participation to the public, its business partners and its shareholders.

The Ten Principles of the Global Compact

Companies and other private institutions that join the Global Compact commit to support the following objectives and values in their corporate policies:

Human Rights

1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence; and
2. make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labor Standards

3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
4. the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
5. the effective abolition of child labor; and
6. eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
8. undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
9. encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


10. Businesses should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.

The principles of the Global Compact are based on universal consensus, being derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization's Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the United Nations’ Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

Last updated: March 8, 2012