German chemical and consumer goods company, Henkel, reveals its ambitious sustainability objectives to advocate for a circular economy.
On 3 September, Henkel unveiled it was extending its strategic framework by releasing packaging targets to progress its sustainability initiatives.
Henkel’s existing packaging goals outline the company’s adherence to consumer expectations, along with its commitment to using the minimal amounts of packaging materials.
By recently expanding its strategic framework, Henkel recommits to its sustainable packaging goals.
Targeting the home care, personal care and adhesive technologies markets, Henkel pledges to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
Within the same timeframe, the global brand plans to use 35% recycled plastic in its consumer goods items in European production.
Based on a holistic approach, Henkel’s strategic framework has three core elements to support its circular value chain: Sustainable source materials, smart packaging designs and closing the loop.
“It is more important than ever for companies, consumers, governments and other organisations to drive progress toward a circular economy,” outlined Kathrin Menges, Executive Vice President Human Resources at Henkel and Chair of Henkel’s Sustainability Council.
As it prepares to progress towards a sustainable future and to partner with other environmentally-focused businesses across multiple industries, Menges emphasises: “Only by reusing and recycling as much material as possible will we be able to live well within the resource limits of our planet. This concept is at the heart of our approach to sustainable packaging.”
First pillar: Sustainably-sourced materials
Henkel strives to increase the amount of sustainable materials used in its product packaging. The company assesses multiple recycled materials, including recycled plastic and renewable materials such as paper and cardboard.
Second pillar: Smart design
In today’s sustainability-led marketplace, Henkel will access innovate solutions throughout the entire value chain including transport packaging and logistics.
Design thinking principles also form a substantial part of the product packaging concept stage as the circular economy influence strives to improve its approach to manufacturing and material selection. At this stage, Henkel will consider factors such as visual aesthetics, stability and performance.
Third pillar: Closed loop
Henkel also prioritises the entire production process from pre-to-post manufacturing. Recycling after consumption is vital and incorporates the use of refillable systems to reuse packaging.
Driving innovation in packaging development and supporting improved recycling infrastructure is part of Henkel’s strategy to improve its value chain. It will use biodegradable materials, for example, that align with global composting standards.
Henkel, for example, has invested in the New Plastics Economy, an initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which encourages stakeholders to rethink and redesign the future of plastics for a circular economy.
“Together with our partners along the entire value chain, we want to include materials from sustainable sources into smart designs to close the loop – for the benefit of people and the planet,” Menges added.