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Beiersdorf China reach new sustainability milestones

Members of the Beiersdorf China team driving sustainability forward

Across the globe, Beiersdorf affiliates are working hard each day to propel our sustainability journey forward. Beiersdorf China is a key example of this. The country has the national goals of achieving its carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Hence, Beiersdorf China is ramping up climate action activities across the value chain within R&D, production, supply chain, sales and interaction with consumers, paying well into Beiersdorf’s CARE BEYOND SKIN Sustainability Agenda as well.

In this interview, members of the core team who work on the topic of sustainability including Shirley Xue, Daisy Ge, Echo Li, Rayee Qian and Sophie Yu are asked about their latest sustainability milestones, why these are significant and what’s next in their journey.

2022 was a big year in terms of sustainability for Beiersdorf China. What were some of the biggest achievements from your perspective?

Shirley Xue (General Manager North East Asia & Managing Director China):
In 2022, we have achieved unprecedented progress in promoting sustainability locally. Through the dedication and hard work of our team, we have successfully implemented a series of local sustainability programs centered around product innovation, production, consumer engagement and social responsibility. In terms of product innovation, we launched the NIVEA MEN Oil-Control line which uses 100% recycled plastics in packaging. In terms of consumer engagement, NIVEA MEN China joined Green River, an environmental NGO to carry out the Qinghai-Tibet environmental protection mission. In terms of production, since 2018 our Production Center Shanghai runs off 100% renewable energy (photovoltaic system) which leads to a reduction of 800 tons of CO2 emissions each year. We are especially proud that in 2022 we achieved that 25% of the yearly electricity used in our Production Center (PC) Shanghai was generated on site. Finally, in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we launched our new sustainability awareness program for younger generations. We are proud to do our part across the value chain to further propel sustainability forward and contribute to our ambitious commitments within our Sustainability Agenda.

NIVEA MEN Oil-Control line – a sustainable product range example

Consumers increasingly rank sustainability as a priority in their purchases. Can you share a bit more about how the NIVEA MEN Oil-Control line is more sustainable than before?

Echo Li (Brand Manager NIVEA MEN China): The NIVEA MEN Oil-Control line, a range targeted at young male consumers, adopts an environmentally friendly mining method to avoid negative impacts on glaciers as the key ingredient originates from glacial mud components. The product line also uses 100% 1FDA-certified packaging2 which effectively reduces 16%3 CO2 emissions. We strive to protect not only the skin of our consumers with our products, but also the “skin health” of our earth in every process within our value chain. Thanks to the great cross-functional team effort within R&D, Regulatory Affairs, Corporate Communications and the Marketing team, we are proud to share that we received several awards for this innovative and climate-friendlier product, for example the “Best Environmental Sustainability Award” by TopDigital in China and “Golden Apples Award in Plastic Recycling” by China Replas, a Plastic Recycling Association.

The team partners with local NGO to carry out environmental protection projects

NIVEA MEN’s consumer engagement with the Qinghai-Tibet environmental protection series project sounds very interesting! What is this about?

Daisy Ge (Senior Consumer Engagement Manager, NIVEA China):
As the product line was inspired by the rare Arctic glacial mud, the NIVEA MEN team in China decided to take sustainability action a step further by partnering with Green River to carry out the Qinghai-Tibet environmental protection series projects.

Together with volunteers of Green River as well as our own employees, we support garbage collection around the plateau to protect the glaciers, wild animals’ habitat and promote a circular economy – this has been a very rewarding and inspiring experience for everyone involved!

Involving consumers and members of society around education initiatives

Supporting education programs for younger generations on the topic of sustainability seems to be a strong focus for Beiersdorf China. Can you tell me more about the “Sustainability Awareness program” you initiated?

Rayee Qian (Senior Corporate Communication Manager China): Not only are we transforming our products and operations towards sustainability, but we are also focused on involving consumers and members of society around education initiatives. We know this is key to making a lasting impact. Our “low-carbon ambassador” program supports college students’ ideas and resources with a focus on our “plastic pledges” and “carbon neutrality” within our sustainability agenda. Plus, we aim to enhance environmental awareness among younger generations. We have partnered with YIYOU Youth Center Green NGO and ‘Share The Care’ to provide the opportunity for students to design and produce short and creative video material in order to communicate about these key sustainability topics. Our initiative has reached more than 2 million students in 300 colleges and universities across China during our campaign in 2022!

Sophie Yu (Project Lead Sustainability, Corporate Communications China): During Earth Day last year we also hosted several livestream sessions featuring our R&D experts from the packaging and formula development team at Shanghai Innovation Center. We also arranged a special “low carbon discovery tour” for the participants and NGOs. Product experience, company visits, skin care ‘Do-it-yourself’ sessions and seminars were just some of the activities for the team to gain a deeper understanding of Beiersdorf’s corporate targets and how we aim to create value for consumers, society and the environment. That was a great experience and something we want to continue in the future.

What’s next in terms of sustainability for Beiersdorf China?

Shirley Xue: We will continue to work hard to protect the “skin” health of the earth within every process of Beiersdorf China, all on behalf of our Sustainability Agenda CARE BEYOND SKIN. We aim to bring more sustainably designed, sustainably sourced and sustainably produced skin care products to Chinese consumers. Equally important is to continue to inform and educate about the safety and environmental sustainability of our formulations and packaging. We hope our sustainable product range and awareness programs (together with government, media, NGOs and our employees) can inspire more consumers and encourage them to join us on our sustainability journey in 2023.

Closing remarks

Many thanks to the project team for this exciting update about Beiersdorf China’s sustainability journey!

1. It refers to the bottle of Oil Control Cream Cleanser
2. The bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic, excluding labels and color masterbatch.
3. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 16% is based on SPICE ecological design tool data.

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Hannah Trigg

About the editor: Hannah Trigg

Hannah is a sustainability enthusiast with a passion for positive change, international collaboration and storytelling. She is responsible for communication on the topic of sustainability at Beiersdorf.