Exchanges with international sustainability experts

Dialogue with sustainability experts from different fields plays an important role for us in driving implementation of our sustainability strategy. We therefore talk to experts from various parts of the world on a regular basis and invite them to take part in discussion events. This dialogue helps us to adjust our activities to reflect external expectations in the different regions and to develop the most appropriate solutions in each particular context.

Since 2005, we have been inviting experts from various parts of the world to collaborate with Henkel in further developing our strategy. We choose these experts on the basis of their knowledge of the challenges their countries face and their experience in corporate sustainability management. Overall, the expert dialogue helps us to adjust our alignment to sustainable development and social responsibility to reflect external expectations in the different regions, and to find the right answers – especially when it comes to developing appropriate solutions at the local level.

For the 2004 and 2005 Sustainability Reports, we asked experts from Brazil, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, and the USA to describe the challenges and priorities they see in their countries and regions.

In 2007, we continued the regional dialogue with expert Dr. Allen White of the Tellus Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. At our sustainability press conference in Düsseldorf in March 2007, Dr. White and Brad Caspar, President and Chief Executive Officer of our subsidiary The Dial Corporation, discussed current developments in the USA in the field of sustainability.

In 2008, we invited John Elkington, founder and Chief Entrepreneur of the SustainAbility Agency, London, UK, to a workshop at our headquarters in Düsseldorf. In the context of his presentation, John Elkington described to Henkel sustainability experts the current challenges associated with the topic of sustainability. The panel also discussed risks and opportunities associated with intensified marketing communication of sustainability activities on brand and product level.

In 2009, top managers from Henkel in Vienna, Austria, participated in a number of talks with scientists and economic experts. These discussions centered on the topic of establishing trust and security in economically difficult times. In developing our new sustainability strategy, we pursued our existing dialogue with five selected experts from Germany, Switzerland, the USA and India.

At the end of 2010, these specialists met with members of the Henkel Sustainability Council in a workshop held at our headquarters in Düsseldorf to discuss current trends in sustainable development, to evaluate their impact on business and our markets, and to identify concrete options for action.

As part of a series of round table discussions, Dr. Rob Melnick, Executive Dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, USA, spoke to Henkel employees in May 2012 in Düsseldorf. His talk focused on the challenges that regions and cities face in reconciling a higher quality of life with sustainability. Already in February 2012, Prof. Dr. Uwe Schneidewind, President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by sustainable development. The goal of this internal discussion series and the dialogue with external stakeholders in 2012 was to give employees a deeper understanding of Henkel's Sustainability Strategy 2030 and communicate it to external stakeholders.

Results of the dialogue with experts in 2010

Henkel Sustainability Tree
This strategy mind-map documents the results of the workshop held in December 2010 to develop Henkel’s Sustainability Strategy 2030.

Collectively, the experts' contributions present a balanced picture of the key issues in emerging economies and industrialized countries. It is clear that, while many of the challenges of sustainable development are similar everywhere, priorities and perspectives differ widely from region to region. Emerging economies, in particular, expect multinationals to contribute to the development of their countries. In industrialized countries, in contrast, maintaining competitiveness is increasingly becoming a key challenge. The table presents the results of our dialogue with the experts in condensed form and gives concrete examples of the varied expectations.

Based on the results of the dialogue, we have developed our Sustainability Reporting still further. The new reporting structure directly reflects the key areas identified in the dialogue and indicates the company's responses to the different regional and global challenges. This approach is intended to emphasize how seriously we take our corporate responsibilities and contribute to sustainable development.

 Key Areas Expectations in Industrialized Countries Expectations in Emerging Economies
Economic Development
  • Remain competitive and offer development opportunities to emerging economies
  • Contribute to the country’s development, especially in structurally weak regions
Values and Management
  • Promote the adoption of environmental and social standards, throughout the value chain, especially among suppliers
  • Create transparency regarding economic, ecological and social aspects of corporate activities, especially in emerging economies
  • Support human rights
  • Act ethically and legally
  • Establish high environmental and social standards, and set an example for suppliers and competitors
  • Help to build management competencies and institutions
Products and Marketing
  • Ensure product safety
  • Offer quality products at fair prices
  • Promote sustainable consumption through ethically and ecologically sound products, and by informing consumers and raising their awareness
  • Develop and market quality products for those at the bottom of the affluence pyramid
  • Ensure that products are safe and environmentally compatible
  • Consider the cultural and social context
Resource Efficiency and Climate Protection
  • Stronger focus on products: Dematerialization of the economy by moving from product- to service-oriented business models
  • Help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Transfer know-how and modern energy- and resource-conserving technologies
  • Satisfy growing consumer needs with products that use limited resources efficiently
Employees and
  • Promote job security through employee training and development 
  • Proactively address challenges like equal opportunity and population aging
  • Create jobs and train employees
  • Ensure occupational safety and health protection
  • Promote and raise employee awareness of environmental protection
Social Commitment
  • Work toward meeting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals
  • Help to solve social problems, also by encouraging employee volunteering
  • Support and promote, in particular, disadvantaged children and young people
  • Raise public awareness of environmental protection
  • Promote education and research for sustainable development

Last updated: March 6, 2013