Heat waves, an increasing number of hurricanes, and rising sea levels. A few degrees might not seem like they would make much of a difference, but they do when it comes to the future of our planet. And when you factor a growing population, increasing consumption, and resource scarcity into the mix, the need for action is undeniable. We need to act not only for ourselves, but so that future generations can also live a good life sustainably. It is important that we as a company and individuals are aware of the impact of our own energy consumption on the environment. After all, efficient management of energy would be felt on a global scale: In the form of possibly decreasing costs of living, improved health of millions of people, and ultimately the reduced impact of climate change.
Climate ActionBecoming climate-positive
How Henkel actively contributes to climate protection
Climate change is one of the major current global challenges with potentially dramatic consequences for everybody on earth. Emissions of gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) are changing our planet’s climate and can make it uninhabitable in the future. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and meet the commitment made in the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on climate change – we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions rapidly. But reducing emissions is not enough for Henkel: We want to make an active contribution to climate protection and help others to reduce their emissions, too.
We have developed new long-term ambitions as part of our sustainability strategy. One of these ambitions is to become climate-positive in our production already by 2030, thus ten years earlier than initially planned.
Ulrike Sapiro, Chief Sustainability Officer at Henkel.
By 2030, we want to achieve a climate-positive carbon footprint for our production sites for Scope 1 and 2 emissions. We also want to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 2030 and lower emissions from raw materials and packaging. Here, Henkel is pursuing the Science Based Targets approach, which derives emissions targets on a scientific basis that are consistent with achieving the targets of the Paris Agreement.
Scope 1 emissions:
Emissions from sources that arise directly in a company's own operations, such as production.
Scope 2 emissions:
Emissions stemming from the use of energy purchases, for example electricity.
Scope 3 emissions:
Emissions that do not come directly from the company itself but are generated in the upstream and downstream supply chain or in the use phase of the product.
Our goals and milestones on the way to climate-positive production
Our vision: By 2030, we want to achieve a climate-positive carbon footprint for our production sites in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. To achieve this, we are taking measures to reduce energy consumption at all our sites worldwide. This is done on the one hand by designing sustainable production sites, and on the other hand by switching to renewable energies. By 2030, we aim to obtain 100 percent of the electricity we purchase for production from renewable sources. We are replacing fuels that we need to generate thermal energy with CO2-neutral alternatives such as biogas or biomass. In line with our ambition, we also want to supply third parties with CO2-neutral energy.
Our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals“ (SDGs)
We support the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) signed by the 193 member states of the United Nations in September 2015.
Our progress in climate protection and our ambition to become climate-positive in production by 2030, actively contributes to the implementation of the SDGs. For example, we are converting 100 percent of our energy requirements to electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
With our experience and holistic approach to the different aspects of sustainability, we support the SDGs with our activities. Together with partners along the value chain, we are committed, for example, to protecting against deforestation and to increase the use of biobased raw materials.
Climate action along the value chain
There are opportunities for businesses to improve energy efficiency at every stage in the value chain. To decrease a product’s environmental footprint, its resource and energy consumption can be improved from sourcing through to delivery. Henkel’s research and development teams are constantly developing smarter packaging that use a minimum amount of material overall and a maximum amount of material that is recycled or that can be easily recycled to promote a circular economy.
We also focus on constantly improving our production sites and processes around the world, taking the standards of each country into consideration, and providing country-specific approaches and solutions. Implementing new technologies can also give production processes an ecological boost. With a global digital Environment Management System, production sites can track exactly how much energy and other resources are consumed in a day – all in real-time. The transport networks that carry products out into the world are also supported by new technologies. With the introduction of Industry 4.0, manufacturing has never been more efficient, flexible, or intelligent. Automation, sensor technology, data exchange, and real-time analytics increase resource efficiency along the entire production chain. With so-called "digital twins" – cloud-based 3D replicas of plants – we simulate operations, for example, and optimize our processes based on data. Our pioneering work in the area of Industry 4.0 and the use of digital methods to implement our sustainability strategy have already received several awards from the World Economic Forum. Our Laundry and Home Care production in Toluca, Mexico, and our production at the Düsseldorf site, and Montornès del Vallès, Spain, are among the "lighthouse" projects.
Climate-positive operations by 2030
We will reduce the carbon footprint of our production by 65 percent by 2025 compared to the base year 2010
We continually check and improve our energy efficiency, and want to reduce energy consumption at our production sites by 50 percent per ton of product by 2030
Our goal is to source 100 percent of the electricity we consume for production from renewable sources by 2030 through on-site production, direct purchase (PPA) and virtual coverage (VPPA)
By 2030, we want to replace the last remaining fossil fuels used in our production with climate-neutral alternatives, such as biogas or gas obtained from converting CO2
We aim to supply surplus carbon-neutral energy that Henkel does not need for its own purposes to third parties
Our climate action stories
Learn more about Henkel‘s climate action and deepdive into our stories:
Trend wooden construction: Sustainable and resource-efficient
Renewable carbon and bio-based materials at Henkel Adhesive Technologies
Why we find it so difficult to make long-term behavioral changes
How you can contribute to climate action
There’s even more potential for improving energy efficiency after products have left a factory and are used by consumers. The largest part of the ecological footprint of products – up to 90 percent – is created during their use. This means small changes in your daily life can make a big difference. With the Henkel footprint calculator, you can quickly estimate the amount of CO2 emissions generated by your personal lifestyle. Use our CO2 footprint calculator to see where you can improve and cut emissions!
Climate action FAQ
What does climate-positive mean?
What is the difference between climate-neutral, climate-positive and "net zero"?
Why is CO2 harmful to the climate?
What is the Paris Agreement for?
Which different renewable energy sources do exist?
What is a VPPA?
Climate positivity is not only the reduction of direct and indirect carbon dioxide emissions of our own operations. To become climate-positive, we as a company also need to replace fossil fuels used in our production with climate-neutral alternatives such as biogas or gas obtained from converting CO2 and additionally supply surplus carbon-free energy generated at our sites to third parties.
When we talk about climate-neutral production, the carbon dioxide emitted during production is offset elsewhere, so that the product's overall carbon footprint is balanced – i.e. neutral. In contrast, climate-positive goes one step further. In climate-positive production, the aim is to achieve not only a balanced (neutral), but even a positive balance for the climate at the end of the value-adding process. More greenhouse gases are to be removed from the atmosphere than are released by the entire value chain.
To stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, we would have to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050, so that the "bottom line" is zero – i.e. net zero. To do this, we need to offset the remaining emissions with "negative" emissions. This can be done, for example, by planting forests or by capturing carbon from the air.
Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) are released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned in the scope of economic activities and our lifestyle. They are responsible for global warming and climate change. When the global temperature rises more than 2 degrees Celsius, it will have catastrophic consequences for our life on Earth.
The UN’s global Paris agreement on climate change represents a commitment by the community of nations to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. To achieve this, carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 2050.
The most popular renewable energy sources currently are:
- Solar energy
- Wind energy
- Geothermal energy
- Biomass energy
- Hydro energy
- Tidal energy
At Henkel, we mostly generate solar and wind energy, and soon geothermal and biomass energy at some sites.
A virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) is a contract between a renewable energy producer and another party. The buyer agrees to purchase a certain amount of energy from the producer, and this electricity will be fed into the national supply grid. It’s called a “virtual” agreement because the energy is not directly transported from the wind farm to the buyer.