Creating more value for our customers and consumers, for the communities we operate in, and for the company – while reducing our environmental footprint at the same time. This is the idea at the heart of our sustainability strategy and its related ambitious targets.
For a long time, growth and resource consumption seemed to go hand in hand and impossible to attain one without the other. Whenever population and living standards increased, it meant using up more and more of the earth's resources. With expected population to grow to about nine billion people by the year 2050, this trend will not change anytime soon. Resource consumption will accelerate in the coming decades as natural resources such as fossil fuels or water are consumed much faster than the planet can keep producing them.
While these developments are challenges for the future, they also offer great potential: Innovating and achieving more with less will be a key to becoming sustainable. We need solutions that allow people to live a good life yet use less and less materials. This idea is at the heart of Henkel's sustainability strategy, as we strive to find new ways of growing and improving quality of life without using up more resources. We want to improve our products and solutions through innovations and smart thinking – to create more value at a reduced ecological footprint.
Becoming three times more efficient by 2030
Our contributions in six focal areas
We concentrate our activities along the value chain on six focal areas that reflect the challenges of sustainable development as they relate to our operations. Innovating and achieving more with less will be a key to a sustainable development that does not sacrifice people’s quality of life. To drive progress along the entire value chain through our products and technologies, we concentrate on a fixed set of areas that summarize the challenges as they relate to our operations. We have subdivided these focal areas into two dimensions: “more value” and “reduced footprint”. In order to successfully establish our strategy and reach our goals, both of these dimensions must be ever-present in the minds and day-to-day actions of our employees and mirrored in our business processes.
Our focal areas are divided into two dimensions: “more value” and “reduced footprint.” We aim to increase the value we create in the areas of “social progress”, “safety and health” and “performance”. In the areas “energy & climate”, “materials & waste” and “water & wastewater”, we aim to further reduce the resources we use and hence the ecological footprint of our operations and products.
What we want to achieve by 2030
Our 20-year goal for 2030 is to triple the value we create for the environmental footprint made by our operations, products and services. To reach our goal of becoming three times more efficient by 2030, we will have to improve our efficiency by an average of 5 to 6 percent each year. We reached our targets for 2011 to 2015, improving the relationship between the value we create and our environmental footprint by 38 percent overall, and there was an efficiency increase of 64 percent by 2020.
Our interim targets so far represent important milestones on the journey toward our long-term goal of becoming three times more efficient by 2030. On the way to achieving our long-term goal, we want to further improve our performance and have therefore defined new interim targets for 2025:
Determining relevant topics and gaining insights and perspectives
To determine and categorize relevant topics for our business activities and reporting, we engage in a continuous process of recording and evaluating the challenges and opportunities of sustainable development using various tools. We assess the importance of the topics for the company, environment and society, and also for our stakeholders. Dialog with our stakeholders helps us to obtain insights and perspectives from outside our business and fosters a common understanding of priorities and challenges. We also consider the assessment criteria of various financial and sustainability-oriented ratings and the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The results of these processes can be categorized in the six focal areas which we have identified in a materiality analysis. In these focal areas, we want to drive sustainable development globally along the value chain with our business activities.