Regardless of whether the material is plastic, glass, metal, cardboard or paper, packaging development at Beiersdorf constantly pursues the aim of reducing material use while maintaining stability and quality. This yields more than just economic benefits. Every stage of the packaging life cycle offers potential savings that can make a substantial contribution to environmental protection. In particular, this includes low-energy production technologies, reduced transportation, and waste minimization. Since 2009, sustainability has been strategically anchored in our packaging development processes. Where possible, we apply the sustainability criteria of avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle to all of our packaging innovations. In addition to this, we have been piloting a sustainability product scorecard which will be integrated into our innovation management.
The graphic below is just one example of how we integrate sustainability criteria into our product development. Due to the new NIVEA Body packaging we have been able to make significant reductions in several areas.
Today, nearly 100% of our packaging materials are already recyclable. Worldwide, the reclaiming and recycling of used packages is dealt with by different – often licensed – disposal companies that also observe country-specific requirements. These companies ensure the professional collection, sorting and recycling of the different packaging materials. In Germany for example, this task is carried out by one of the nine “Dual Systems”. In one of these companies we have to license 100% of our sold product packaging so that a high-quality, environmentally friendly disposal (recycling and disposal) is guaranteed. Similar systems also exist in other European countries such as Austria (ARA), Spain (ECOEMBES) and Poland (Rekopol SA). In Brazil, a local recycling program in cooperation with ABIHPEC (Brazilian Association of Hygiene, Cosmetics and Perfumery Industries) has been implemented.
Refill pouches are just one example of our commitment to reducing packaging. These have been available for various product categories since 1992. Thanks to refillable containers and the possibility of using product packages, such as soap dispensers, for an extended period, waste volume can be reduced substantially. For example, the refill pouches for our NIVEA Creme Shower Gel results in 75% less waste. All folding boxes for our Florena products come from responsibly managed forests and carry the FSC Mix label. Moreover, the inside of our firming care products boxes are 100% unbleached.
Our shipping packaging consists of entirely recyclable materials. We also use self-adhesive tape produced in an environmentally friendly manner to seal our cases. We develop additional savings ideas for packaging materials in cooperation with our customers and suppliers. For example, we have developed shelf-ready end packaging in collaboration with a retail customer, which can be placed directly on retail shelves.
Excerpts from an interview with Volker Krampe, Corporate Safety Adviser for Dangerous Goods
I have to say that throughout my more than 25 years of working with Beiersdorf, I have always had the feeling that safety comes first. One interesting part of my job is to help find solutions to enable us to combine safety measures with sustainability. For example, we helped develop and championed the international adoption of the system to allow the pre-printing of hazard labels without a white background directly on shipping boxes. As a result we have both a cost saving and we avoid using tons of printing ink.
For us as an internationally operating company, globally harmonized regulations are essential. Only 10 years ago the regulations for the safe transport of so-called “dangerous goods” varied enormously depending on the transport mode, country or region. A lot of packaging and labeling variations were necessary in order to meet these regulations. Today, different products can be transported by truck, train or via ship using the same outer packaging with fully harmonized labeling on the boxes. This also eliminates the need for every container to be unloaded and unpacked at the port of entry, then repacked, reloaded and secured again just to fulfill a local safety regulation. This way we not only save time and money, we also achieve greater resource efficiency. That’s why we are actively involved in ensuring that regulations are discussed and agreed upon on a European and UN level. Our approach to safety mirrors that of sustainability in that we work together and engage other stakeholders to find long-lasting solutions.