Sustainable consumption: A shared task

An important objective of our strategy is fostering sustainable, resource-conserving consumption. Our products are the key here. They are used daily in millions of households and industrial processes. We thus concentrate on developing products that enable the efficient use of resources such as energy and water. Through targeted communication we also try to promote a responsible attitude when using the products. This is especially important as the ecological footprint of many of our products largely depends on their being used correctly.

Besides providing appropriate products, our collaboration with retailers also plays an important role, as does our dialogue with politicians and non-governmental organizations. To raise awareness for this topic among the various stakeholders, we engage proactively at national and international levels – at conferences and through our involvement in initiatives and associations, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Consumer Goods Forum, and the Sustainability Consortium. International retail groups like REWE, Carrefour, Tesco and Walmart are important partners for Henkel on the road to more sustainable consumption. They offer excellent platforms for informing consumers about more sustainable products and encouraging them to use them in an environmentally responsible way.

We have developed numerous communications instruments for making the added value of these innovations transparent to consumers as well as our retail and industrial customers.

Communicating improvements transparently

The Internet site, for example, shows where the use of Henkel technologies in automobile manufacturing results in improvements in sustainability. These include reductions in the number of process steps, cuts in energy and water consumption, and the manufacture of lighter and safer vehicles. TecTalis, for example, replaces conventional zinc phosphating in the pretreatment of car bodies and reduces energy consumption to a minimum. In lightweight engineering, the two-step process for pretreating aluminum car bodies decreases the amount of waste by up to 30 percent. With these technologies, Henkel supports the efforts of the whole of the automotive industry to increase efficiency and quality.

The resource calculator for energy-conscious consumer behavior

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Consumers have a decisive influence on how much energy is consumed and how much carbon is emitted whenever they step into the shower. The interactive resource calculator provided by Dial and Schauma gives every consumer an opportunity to find out online how energy consumption varies depending on the temperature of the water and the time spent in the shower. Consumers can thus quickly see how they themselves can influence the carbon footprint of a product.

Participation in international initiatives

On local, national and international levels, Henkel participates in a wide variety of projects, topical initiatives, and symposia, to make active contributions in the shared task of shaping sustainable development. This also includes engagement in policy-making workgroups and in industrial associations, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Consumer Goods Forum, and the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.). Here we use our experience and leadership in sustainability to spur the debate on sustainable consumption. We are involved in several workgroups dealing with this topic. The Sustainable Consumption group of the WBCSD published initial results of its work in a report issued in November 2011.

Last updated: March 8, 2012