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Henkel Advances Sustainable Cultivation of Palm Oil

From 2012 onwards, Henkel is purchasing certificates for sustainable palm kernel oil for its entire range of laundry and home care products. This ensures that for the quantity of palm kernel oil used in the production of the surfactants for Henkel’s detergents and cleaning products, a corresponding quantity of sustainable palm kernel oil will be produced and enter the supply chain. As early as 2009, Henkel committed to cover its overall product portfolio by certificates and to complete this step by 2015. To underline its clear commitment to sustainable palm oil production, Henkel is now accelerating the process for laundry and home care, its largest product category containing surfactants.

“We are committed to sustainable business practices across the entire value chain. This includes the sustainable management of raw materials and the conservation of natural resources,” says Bruno Piacenza, executive vice president laundry & home care at Henkel. “To support the concept of sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil cultivation and to underline Henkel’s leadership in sustainability, we decided to purchase palm kernel oil certificates to cover the full range of laundry and home care products as of 2012 – as the first company within this industry on a global scale.”

While palm oil is predominantly used in the food industry, palm kernel oil serves as one of the major renewable feedstocks for the production of surfactants (cleaning active agents) for laundry detergents and household cleaners.

A strong partner for the sustainable cultivation of palm oil

In order to foster a sustainable palm oil economy, Henkel has been participating in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since its beginning in 2003 and became an official member in April 2008. In close cooperation with the trading platform GreenPalm, Henkel also initiated the certificate trading system for palm kernel oil and was the first company in the world to purchase palm kernel oil certificates in 2008.

To promote the concept of sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil production even more effectively, Henkel engages in dialogue with other partners above and beyond the RSPO. In October 2009, Henkel joined the “Palm Oil Coalition.” Its members include representatives of globally operating companies in the consumer goods and food industries as well as non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Oxfam, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and others. Their common goal is to enforce the protection of rainforests by shifting their sourcing of palm oil entirely to sustainably managed sources by an agreed date.

Furthermore, Henkel initiated the “Forum on Sustainable Palm Oil” jointly with industry partners, the WWF and the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ). The goal of this platform is to promote the use of sustainably produced palm oil and palm kernel oil. The standards defined by the RSPO serve as the basis for developing and amending them further by the Forum.

External recognition

Henkel’s leading role and the company’s contribution to the sustainable cultivation of palm oil is recognized by external stakeholders as well. The WWF has ranked Henkel in the top category of its global Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard in November 2011, awarding the company the maximum score of nine out of nine.


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