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11/28/2019

NIVEA’s First Step to Tackle a Big ChallengeAn Interview with Catja Prykop, Global Marketing Director NIVEA Face Cleansing

Katrin: “Catja, it’s great to have you here today. You brought a very special product to our appointment. At first glance, it looks pretty normal: What’s so special about it?”

Catja: “I have one of our new NIVEA Face Cleansing Oils with me – a very effective cleansing product that makes the skin super soft. One of the special features of the product is the bottle, which consists of 25% recycled plastic. This is new for us – so far we have only worked with new material. But times are changing: plastic has become a big and important issue that we need to address. That’s why it’s great to hold the first rPET bottle in your hand, which is part of the entire NIVEA range. A first important step towards achieving our target for 2025: by then, we want to manufacture the entire NIVEA range in Europe with 25% recycled material.”

Katrin: “Thank you, Catja, that sounds very exciting. Were there particular challenges in this project, as it was the first of its kind?”

Catja: “When we decided to use rPET about a year ago, the discussion was mainly about balancing the visual effect. The new Cleansing Oils are very high quality products and that’s how they were supposed to look. However, packaging made of recycled PET usually brings a certain grey haze with it. But the market is developing quickly and consumers are becoming more acceptant in terms of the look of a packaging and appreciate a company’s effort towards sustainability. So the challenge was to trust that consumers would accept it once it’s there.”

Katrin: “What did you or your team learn from this project?”

Catja: “We learned that you have to have the courage to try things out and that you simply have to start breaking new grounds. It always starts on a small scale to bring about a big change. It feels great to have taken the first step with our products to reach our company’s ‘Plastic Pledge 2025’.”

Katrin: “So here it is – the first packaging with recycled content within the NIVEA range. How does it feel to hold such a milestone in your hand?”

Catja: “It definitely feels totally good and right. But it’s a first step, and I am far from being satisfied. We have many other products in our Face Cleansing range that we have to work on and of course we want to increase the proportion of recycled content in our plastic packagings beyond 25%. I think it is important to constantly rethink what we as a company and as a brand can do, what responsibility we bear and where and with which changes we can become more sustainable. It feels good and right that we have set this important milestone, but sustainability is a journey. It has only just begun.”

Katrin: “What’s your strategy for making more NIVEA Face Cleansing products or other NIVEA assortments more sustainable?”

Catja: “We as Beiersdorf have published a so-called ‘Plastic Pledge’ this year that we plan to reach by 2025. It aims to achieve 25% recycled content across all of our plastic packaging in Europe by 2025. This applies not only to NIVEA, but also to our other brands in the portfolio – like Eucerin for example. It’s important to have ambitious targets like that. Face Cleansing plays an important role within this commitment as we sell a lot of products in Europe. So, of course, we are thinking about how to proceed. But also beyond plastic, I find it important to check regularly, to gain inspiration and to create new ideas on how we as can become more sustainable in other dimensions, e.g. by reducing our packaging. This is also a very exciting field.”

Katrin: “How passionate are you about sustainability? And what are you ‘doing’ in this context? In business or your private life?”

Catja: “Sustainability is quite important to me. For some years now, my particular attention has been to buy as little packaging as possible with food. I carefully choose when I cannot avoid the packaging and make my stake in a very conscious recycling, as I would call it. As I will need more and more recycled material for our Face Cleansing products in the future (and my so will my colleagues for their assortments), it is really important to recycle correctly and hence, enable the recycling and processing companies to make use of the valuable materials again and bring them back into the ‘loop’. It’s harder than you think to do your waste-sorting correctly. A nice approach of our NIVEA Team in Germany, who teamed up with the drug store dm to educate consumers on this topic. Oh yes, and I don’t buy bottled water. My whole family drinks tap water. Juices and yogurt I purchase in re-usable glass bottles. It is in daily consumption where everyone can make a contribution – no matter how small it may be for now – it will bring the necessary change, you will see. We just have to get started with it.”



Thank you, Catja, for the great conversation and good luck for you and your team on your sustainability journey. 

Katrin Selzer

About the editor: Katrin Selzer

Katrin has been working at Beiersdorf since 2003. After various positions in marketing, strategy, digital and PR, she is since September 2018 Senior Communication Manager and responsible for the topic of sustainability. For Katrin, sustainability has a high personal relevance, since it changes the world for the better – and she contributes by communicating about it. Her communication is very passionate and she tries to also push the topic forward. In her private life, she is constantly seeking new ways and means to live a more sustainable lifestyle and inspire others with it.