Company FAQ

General Questions

What is Beiersdorf AG?

Beiersdorf AG is a global skin care company based in Hamburg, Germany. Beiersdorf has been listed on the DAX since December 2008 and with NIVEA owns one of the world’s largest skin care brands. Beiersdorf has more than 130 years of skin care experience and is known for its innovative and high-quality products.

Which brands belong to Beiersdorf?

Beiersdorf's globally most famous brand is NIVEA. When NIVEA Creme was launched in 1911, it revolutionized skin care as the first stable oil-and-water-based cream in the world. Even today – over 130 years later – NIVEA still stands for values like security, closeness, trust, reliability and care for all types of skin. In more than 45 countries NIVEA is the market leader in the skin care segment. Other names in its successful international brand portfolio include Eucerin, La Prairie, Labello, 8x4, and Hansaplast. Subsidiary tesa SE is an independent subgroup within Beiersdorf and one of the world’s leading producers of self-adhesive products and system solutions for industry, craft businesses, and consumers.

How many people work at Beiersdorf?

At the end of 2014 Beiersdorf had over 17,000 employees.

How much turnover does Beiersdorf Group generate?

In 2015, the total sales of Beiersdorf AG amounted to 6.686 billion euros. More figures can be found in our Annual Report.

Is Beiersdorf globally present?

With over 150 affiliates and 17,000 employees – Including nearly 1,000 in the field of Research & Development – Beiersdorf is globally present. Production facilities throughout the world and regional research laboratories like in Mexico, China and Germany ensure the development of effective skin care products tailored to the different local consumer wishes and skin needs. Find out about Beiersdorf's global locations here.

What is Beiersdorf’s attitude regarding sustainability?

When it comes to care, we have always taken a holistic approach – caring for skin, as well as for people and the environment around them. For us, sustainability is one of the drivers that we exploit in order to realize our goals, both social and business. In 2012, we focused on the company-wide implementation of our “We care.” strategy. Learn more about Beiersdorf's sustainability strategy here.

Current Topics

What is Beiersdorf’s reaction to the discussion about microplastics in skin care products?

So-called “microplastic particles” (or “microbeads”) are solid plastic particles, smaller than 5 millimeters, that are water-insoluble and not biodegradable (according to the definition by UNEP, the United Nations Environmental Program). These particles are seen as especially problematic due to their presence in the world’s oceans. Microplastics have highly diverse sources, although they most frequently originate from larger pieces of plastic that have been progressively fragmented by weather and erosion. Fibers from synthetic clothing or smaller plastic particles from everyday consumer products are further sources of microplastics.

At Beiersdorf we have always paid the utmost attention to both the quality and the long-term ecological impact of our products, and have proactively taken responsibility. We work continually to ensure we permanently reduce the impact of our products on the environment, and identified the need for action very early regarding microplastics in cosmetics and skin care products. This why we took a preventative decision back in 2013 to eliminate the use of polyethylene (PE) particles in all our brands’ skin care products, and to replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives.

These formula changes were completed worldwide by the end of 2015, replacing the particles in the majority of cases with microcrystalline cellulose particles, and mixtures of microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide particles and castor wax in others. Cellulose is a biodegradable, natural organic material that is also present in plant fibers. The chemical composition of silicon dioxide is very similar to that of quartz sand, while castor wax is a natural, biodegradable raw material with a hard, wax-like consistency. The replacement particles have the same effect and are just as gentle and skin-friendly as their predecessors.

Beyond this we have set ourselves a further, ambitious objective for 2020. Some of our rinse-off products still include solid synthetic polymer particles that serve as opacifiers and colorants, amongst other functions. By 2020, we plan to completely remove these ingredients too from our rinse-off products as a precautionary measure, and are currently working intensively on corresponding solutions.

Here you can learn more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf.

Does Beiersdorf use aluminum in its products?

Aluminum is the third most common element and the most common metal in the Earth’s crust. The aluminum salt aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) is a compound that is extracted from raw aluminum and is used as an active ingredient in antiperspirants. Aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) blocks sweat flow in the underarm areas by constricting the upper part of sweat glands. Beiersdorf uses aluminum salts in all antiperspirants that actively reduce sweat production.

How is aluminum absorbed and is it harmful?

Aluminum compounds are natural parts of our daily nutrition. They are in water for example, but also in fruit, vegetables, grains and meat. That means they enter our bodies mostly through oral consumption. The amount of aluminum, which enters the body via cosmetics or care products, is much lower. Aluminum chlorohydrate from antiperspirants becomes an insoluble solid (aluminum hydroxide) when brought into contact with sweat, which cannot physically penetrate the skin. Injuries and damaged skin can however aid the absorption of tiny amounts of aluminum into the body when using antiperspirants. Most of the aluminum that people consume is eliminated by healthy functioning kidneys.

The European Food Safety Authority has derived a tolerable oral consumption quantity of 1 mg aluminum per kilogram of body weight per week. The World Health Organization (WHO) speaks of a tolerable consumption quantity of 2 mg aluminum per kilogram of body weight per week. These quantities can be consumed for an entire lifetime without health risks.

Based on preliminary scientific studies as well as the chemical properties of the aluminum salt aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) we assume that the absorption of aluminum through antiperspirants is very minor and absolutely safe. According to an existing study on people, the amount is approximately 0.01% of the aluminum used – and that is only the case for very sensitive skin. In order to be able to make a more precise assessment of how much aluminum is absorbed by the skin through antiperspirants a comprehensive study is currently being conducted at the European level.

What alternatives are there to antiperspirants with aluminum?

In general, consumers have a choice between deodorants and antiperspirants. For antiperspirants there are no alternatives to aluminum salts: there is currently no other active ingredient that is so reliably effective against the production of sweat. Deodorants function without aluminum salts as an active ingredient and use fragrances to cover undesired body odor. They can also contain the growth of odor-causing bacteria, but they do not have an antiperspirant effect.

Since deodorants and antiperspirants are two different products, Beiersdorf has always offered both. Thus, consumers can decide for themselves which effect they would prefer. Beiersdorf indicates if a product contains aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). By looking at the product ingredients on the packaging, the so-called International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), the consumer can verify this. Additional notes on products indicating that do not contain aluminum salts makes it easy for consumers to find the right product.

What are parabens and why does Beiersdorf use them?

Parabens are preservatives that are used in many water-containing cosmetic products in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and mold during use. For about 80 years, parabens have been widely used throughout the cosmetic industry because of their proven effectiveness and their scientifically demonstrated tolerability among users. They are the most researched preservatives. Thus, parabens are used in in approximately 30% NIVEA products as well.

However, negative publicity has led to consumer concerns regarding this ingredient. It is sometimes claimed that parabens accumulate in the body, disturbing hormone systems and perhaps promoting diseases. This stands in contradiction to the research findings of many independent scientific studies that have been conducted over the course of the last several decades. Both the European Commission and the independent U.S. evaluative commission, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) are in agreement about the safety of parabens. Beiersdorf’s own recognized expertise and research in the area of skin care is also consistent with this opinion. Of course, the use of parabens as ingredients is legally permitted.

At Beiersdorf the tolerability of our products for our consumers is a guiding principle for all actions taken by our company. Our products exclusively contain ingredients that comply with legal regulations and guarantee safety. We want consumers to have complete peace-of-mind when using our products. If we are unsure about an ingredient, we do not use it. Our world-class Research & Development is always searching for new, safe and tolerable preservation solutions and tries to minimize the use of preservatives in general. For example there are no butyl parabens in our NIVEA products. Baby products do not contain parabens at all. For consumers who prefer paraben-free products, NIVEA also offers products without these preservatives (around 70% of our products are paraben-free).

Does Beiersdorf use nanopigments in its sun care products?

Nanopigments like titanium dioxide are minerals that occur in nature that are smaller than 100 nanometers – i.e. a million times smaller than a grain of sand. After they have been technologically enhanced, these naturally occurring substances have unique properties that can also be used for cosmetics.
Beiersdorf uses the nanopigments titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as highly effective UV filters in a series of sun protection products because they can reflect the harmful UV radiation of sunlight. This is how nanopigments make a vital contribution to providing protection from sunburns, skin cancer and early aging. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are among the ingredients that have been in use since the 1980s and have been particularly well studied. Today, the UV-Filters are officially approved in almost all countries and regions of the world.

The safety of both UV-Filters has been repeatedly analyzed and assessed by independent scientists and health authorities as well as the scientific advisory panel of the EU Commission (SCCS). Extensive scientific data exists which confirms that their use in cosmetics is absolutely harmless. Most recently, it was determined in 2007 that titanium dioxide should be evaluated once again – to consider the latest findings on the safety of nano-materials. A new statement from the SCCS was published on April 22, 2014 in which the scientists confirmed the safety of nano-sized titanium dioxide.
Numerous studies likewise confirm that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide cannot enter the human body through the skin, even through diseased or damaged parts of the skin.

It has also often been asked whether nanopigments are an environmental hazard. Recent studies from 2007 and 2008 show that the nanopigments titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are demonstrably non-toxic and consequently do not pose any environmental hazard.

Beiersdorf places great importance in the tolerability and safety of its products. For this reason company experts also conduct their own extensive safety evaluations for all products and their applications.

Does Beiersdorf use palm oil or palm kernel oil?

Many ingredients, such as emulsifiers and surfactants that are essential to the production of cosmetic products are usually derived from mineral or plant oils. Palm (kernel) oil is one of these. As a cosmetics manufacturer Beiersdorf does not directly procure palm (kernel) oil and neither do we produce any of its derivatives, i.e. materials that are further refined or processed from palm (kernel) oil.

All our suppliers are contractually required to comply with our Code of Conduct for Suppliers: This defines social and environmental standards and therefore supports responsible sourcing. Furthermore, we are working closely with our suppliers to drive sustainable palm cultivation and a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry. We see building transparency in the supply chain as a major step forward, and together we aim to make the palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials we use traceable all the way from the source of feedstock to their derivatives. 

A sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry does not cause the deforestation of ecologically vital rainforests (primary or secondary forests). If they are cultivated sustainably, palm trees are environmentally very efficient oil-bearing plants that require a minimum of land for maximum output. For this reason, we are engaged through the “Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO) and the “German Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil” (FONAP) for a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry.

As a FONAP member we additionally advocate the further development of the existing certification criteria, which include:

  • A ban of palm plantations on peat land and other carbon-rich land
  • A ban on the use of severely hazardous pesticides (as defined under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, WHO 1a and 1b, including paraquat)
  • The application of strict reduction targets for greenhouse gases
  • A guarantee that when certified palm-oil mills also procure non-certified raw palm materials (fresh fruit bunches), they obtain these exclusively from legal cultivation.
     

In recent years, we have made continual progress in our transition to sustainable palm (kernel) oil. By 2020, we plan to switch all our palm (kernel) oil-based product and formula ingredients to physical certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil. Our objective is the full transition to segregated – at a minimum, mass-balanced – palm (kernel) oil and its derivatives. Until then we will continue to balance our remaining requirement by purchasing Book and Claim certificates on the RSPO trading platform. Thanks to this, since 2014 we have covered 100% of the palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials we use with certificates, either through directly procuring certified raw materials or through Book and Claim certificates.

Our Palm Sustainability Roadmap supports us in steering and coordinating our company’s progress towards raw material procurement from certified sustainable sources – worldwide. In 2016, we reached a major milestone by achieving official RSPO Supply Chain Certification: In the audit we demonstrated our thorough alignment with a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry and proved that we fulfill all corresponding RSPO criteria. We were consequently awarded the RSPO Multi-Site SCCS certificate. The first shipments of certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil-based materials already reached our production plants in 2015. By the end of 2016, we had achieved a 30% conversion to mass-balanced palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials. Until we reach our objective of full transition by 2020 we will continue to offset the remaining share of our uptake with certificates.

Here you can learn more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf.

Does Beiersdorf conduct animal testing?

Animal testing has been completely banned for all cosmetic products in the EU since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products, since 2013. Beiersdorf, of course, is in compliance with this law and has long done without animal testing whenever it was possible. We are convinced that animal testing is not required to prove the safety and effectiveness of our products.

We are working together with external partners such as in the European cosmetics association, Cosmetics Europe, and the EPAA (European Partnerships for Alternatives to Animal Testing), a partnership of seven industry sectors with the European Commission, toward the development and recognition of alternative testing methods that will replace animal testing.

Read here more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf and our engagement for alternative testing methods that do not entail the use of animals.

Does Beiersdorf also produce goods for other retail brands?

We have never manufactured for other brands and therefore for no retail brands whatsoever. Only products with Beiersdorf on the label contain the trusted Beiersdorf quality and care.