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Emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change and global warming. Limiting these emissions is one of the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced.

Committed to climate protection

A few degrees might not sound like much, but it makes a big difference to the future of our planet. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 – and meet the commitment made in the United Nations’ Paris Agreement on climate change – we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions rapidly. Achieving this ambitious target will only be possible if governments and companies embrace this challenge as an opportunity to drive innovation and explore visionary ideas.

Climate change is one of the major global challenges of our time. We are committed to the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement. We take climate change and its impacts into account as part of our sustainability and risk management and across our entire value chain. It is relevant for us from two perspectives: One is the potential impact of our business activities on the global greenhouse gas balance, and the other is the potential impact of climate change on our business activities. In the context of our sustainability strategy, we consider our direct and indirect CO2 emissions and their potential impact on the climate. We are starting here by focusing on our own sites, which we can influence directly. We plan to achieve a reduction in the carbon footprint of our production. We will achieve this by continuously improving our energy efficiency and by increasingly making use of power, especially electricity, generated by renewable sources.

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Our CO2 footprint

We strive to optimize our own CO2 footprint. To assess our footprint, we use representative life cycle appraisals across all product categories. We also assess data on the raw materials and packaging materials we use, as well as the transport operations.

Overall, production of our products accounts for around one percent of our carbon footprint along the value chain. This includes direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased energy (Scope 2). The majority of direct sources are incinerators, for example, for the operation of boilers. However, mobile combustion sources such as vehicle engines are also responsible for Scope 1 emissions. Examples include trucks, forklifts and other vehicles. Purchased energy (Scope 2) primarily includes electricity purchased, but also steam, heating and cooling.

Indirect emissions within our value chain (Scope 3) account for almost 99 percent of our operational CO2 footprint. The use of our products accounts for around two thirds, and the raw materials and packaging for around one quarter. This is where we find the most potential to reduce emissions and contribute to climate protection. The transport of our products and disposal/recycling account for around 6 percent of our emissions.

Our Ambition: We aim for climate-positive operations by 2030

Our primary climate change mitigation focus is on our own sites and production. This is an area where we have set ourselves ambitious timelines and absolute reduction targets. To do so, we want to continually improve our energy efficiency and to use more energy from renewable sources, particularly electricity and heat.

We are committed to reducing our Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2 emissions per ton of product by 67 percent by 2030 (vs. the base year 2017). We are still pursuing our interim target of making a 65-percent reduction in the carbon footprint of our production sites by 2025 (vs. the base year 2010). We continue to strive to source 100 percent of the purchased electricity we need for production from renewable sources by 2030.

Based on our progress in these areas and the experience we have gained, we decided in 2021 to bring forward our ambition for 2040 by ten years: By 2030, we want to achieve a climate-positive greenhouse gas balance in our production (Scope 1 and 2).

For us, climate positivity in our production means that we aim to supply surplus carbon-neutral energy that Henkel does not need for its own purposes to third parties. In doing so, we will avoid emissions from our own activities, and also enable third parties to use carbon-neutral energy.

Engagement along our value chain

In addition to our activities at our own sites, we aim to leverage our influence on areas of our value chain that are particularly relevant to CO2 emissions.

Our analysis shows that the product use phase has the greatest impact on our CO2 footprint, especially in consumer business. Our products are used millions of times a day in households and industrial processes. Accordingly, our goal is to work with our customers, consumers and suppliers to save 100 million metric tons of CO2 over the ten-year period from 2016 to 2025. To achieve this, we have developed a CO2 savings portfolio that can be used as a basis for quantifying the exact contributions made by products to reducing emissions.

Many of the raw materials we use are based on carbon, for example the surfactants in detergents and shampoos, resins in adhesives and plastics for packaging. These release CO2 when they are biodegraded or burned. We therefore plan to gradually replace the fossil carbon in our raw materials and packaging with renewable carbon as we move toward a resource-efficient, climate-neutral future. In particular, the focus is on the use of carbon from plants or parts of plants as part of the renewable biosphere. Carbon from the air and from waste materials such as plastics can also be utilized as a source in the future.

We will set a Net-Zero pathway for our emissions along the value chain

Key value chain targets include our science-based target of reducing the footprint of the raw materials and packaging we use per ton of product by 30 percent by 2030 (vs.  the base year 2017). One component of this is our packaging strategy, as CO2 emissions can be reduced by using recycled material, for example. As with our target for production, our target for value chain emissions (Scope 3) also meets Science Based Targets initiative’s criteria for ambitious value chain targets, which means it is in line with best practice.

Building on our current SBTi targets for 2030 and our ambition to achieve a climate-positive balance in our production by 2030, we will incorporate the “SBTi Corporate Net-Zero Standard” to set a pathway for reducing our Scope 3 emissions. This standard includes guidance, criteria, and recommendations for companies to set science-based net-zero targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5-degree target. 

Helping customers and consumers reduce COemissions

Our products are used in millions of households and industrial processes every day. Accordingly, our goal is to work with our customers, consumers and suppliers to save 100 million metric tons of COover the ten-year period from 2016 to 2025. To achieve this, we have developed a CO2 savings portfolio that can be used as a basis for quantifying the exact contributions made by products to avoid emissions (Scope 4).

We aim to help our customers and consumers save CO2 – for example by washing at lower temperatures or by switching to haircare products that do not need to be rinsed out and so do not require water to be heated up. Small changes in everyday life can make a big difference and can have a positive effect on the climate.