Our contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Climate change is a complex environmental issue and one of the major challenges of our time. Within the context of its comprehensive commitment to sustainability, Henkel fully acknowledges the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global level. In the past ten years, from 1998 to 2007, we have already reduced energy consumption by 40 percent. Thanks to the savings in energy consumption, we have also been able to reduce the associated carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent. On the basis of the progress achieved up to 2007, we have defined Company-wide targets for the next five years, until 2012: to reduce energy consumption by another 15 percent per metric ton of output (see “Our Objectives”).


As a manufacturer of non-durable consumer products and industrial products and technologies our operations are not particularly energy and greenhouse gas intensive. From a life cycle perspective, the main energy use – and the associated carbon dioxide emissions – is generally attributable to the use of our products and technologies.

We therefore focus on creating competitive advantage through energy efficient products and technologies while striving for more energy efficient processes in our operations. In our main power plant in Düsseldorf (Germany) the use of renewable resources and combined heat and power generation contributes to a reduction of our direct carbon dioxide emissions.

Early commitment

Henkel recognized its environmental responsibilities early on and published its "Principles of Environmental and Consumer Protection" in 1982.

At its power plant in Düsseldorf for example, Henkel's most important source of direct carbon dioxide emissions, Henkel already implemented extensive emission reduction measures in the early 1990s. The construction of a gas turbine brought about an immediate reduction of approximately 25 percent in carbon dioxide emissions. With the help of further improvements in energy management and a tripling of the carbon dioxide neutral fuels from production residues, emissions per kilowatt hour of electricity and steam have been reduced by an additional 20 percent since 1990.

Monitoring and performance

Henkel measures the direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions at 193 sites in 57 countries, including the National Starch sites acquired in 2008. These sites represent more than 95 percent of our worldwide production in 2009. The validation of the data reported by the sites is an integral part of Henkel’s international audit program and carried out by independent Henkel experts. As a result of its global activities, Henkel was able to reduce energy consumption by 26 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent per metric ton of production over the last five years from 2005 to 2009. 

With our substantial reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions of our operations over the last years, we have contributed to the emission reduction targets of the various countries our production facilities are located in.

Life-cycle approach

The manufacture of our consumer products, industrial brands and technologies is not particularly energy or greenhouse gas intensive. Energy consumption and the associated carbon dioxide emissions during the use of our products are usually more significant. We therefore focus on creating products that can be used in an energy-saving manner during the application phase and during the use by our customers, e.g. for low-temperature washing.

Graphic Life Cycle Analysis of an Automatic Laundry Detergent (Persil Megaperls)

Hence, the permanent challenge facing the product developers of our laundry detergents and household cleaners is how to achieve better and better washing performance with even lower energy consumption. An example of successful developments in this area are the new formulations of our premium solid and liquid laundry detergents in Europe: The new formulations remove more than 20 types of stains, including lipstick, grease and coffee, more efficiently at just 20 degrees Celsius.


The development of new, clean sources of energy such as fuel cells and flexible, lightweight solar cells provide opportunities for Henkel to apply its expertise in tailor-made adhesives, sealants and surface treatments. Thus, Henkel makes an important contribution to the development of these alternative energy sources. With innovative solutions like the Windows Technology Quality System (WINTeQ System), we help to considerably reduce energy losses from the home.

Furthermore, we are monitoring with great interest the degree to which societal concerns regarding global warming are reflected in the actions and purchasing decision of our customers. It remains to be seen whether consumers will adopt e.g. less energy-intensive washing behavior, or choose more energy efficient products.

PDF-Download: Questionnaire Carbon Disclosure Project 2010

Last updated: March 8, 2012