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“Freedom to Innovate” allows it to happen


As part of our “Freedom to Innovate” program, we met our colleagues Julia Beier, Wolfram Gerwat, Lerisha Narain, and Merle Zewuhn and talked with them about their project. Over a period of nine months, they jointly developed the “NIVEA VON HERZEN” product from the idea to market launch. Lerisha Narain, Technology Manager: “I’m usually far away from concrete product development. Through my experience in this project, I learned a lot about the process and implementation of a product concept. With ‘Freedom to Innovate’ we have a great platform that enabled us to develop ‘NIVEA VON HERZEN’ in the first place”. The R&D employee program allows them to spend 10% of their working time on their own ideas and innovations.

The “NIVEA VON HERZEN” Limited Edition, which is available in the NIVEA stores in Hamburg and Berlin as well as in the NIVEA Online Shop since the beginning of December, contains only one pure ingredient, namely sustainably sourced shea butter from West Africa. In addition, the entire value chain up to the women’s groups is transparent and traceable. Julia Beier, Responsible Sourcing Manager: “I am very happy that we have been able to combine our social commitment in the Shea supply chain with a good business case that fits perfectly with the new corporate strategy towards more sustainable and responsible products.” For every product sold, one euro is donated to NGOs in Burkina Faso that are privately supported by the two Beiersdorf employees.

And what remains after such an exciting phase of hard work when the product has been successfully launched and is on the shelf? Wolfram Gerwat, R&D Engineer: “It’s great to see how many NIVEA consumers like our product design, which is inspired by the bright colors and patterns from Burkina Faso. And that our authentic and natural shea butter product convinces them to buy it.” Merle Zewuhn, R&D Senior Engineer, adds: “And of course it was great to see how we were able to convince so many colleagues of our heart’s project and how their support made our idea a reality. We are very grateful for this.”

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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.