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Project for Environmental Product Optimization

For us at Beiersdorf it’s fundamentally important to market high-quality personal care products aimed at fulfilling the needs of our consumers. We’re also steadily reducing the impact of our products on the environment – and this is why we view the environmental optimization of our products as an essential field of action for future product developments. Together with our raw materials suppliers, in 2014 we launched the “Eco Design Project”: Here we asked ourselves just what part of our value chain has the biggest impact on a product’s environmental footprint. Life-Cycle Analyses  (LCA) are a decisive aid to us here in finding answers and constantly improving our understanding of the complex interrelationships. LCAs guide us along the entire process chain and help us identify criteria that allow the progressively more sustainable design of our products.

NIVEA Body Milk range

As an example of this, the raw materials processes that precede product manufacture can have significant impacts on the environment. Our joint “Eco Design Project” with its LCA-driven results gives us valuable insights that we then apply in our evaluation of each product’s environmental footprint. We take this approach right from the raw materials selection stage by making sure we know exactly where these materials are derived from, and checking regularly whether there’s a more environmentally friendly production process for these raw materials.

From our years of experience we know that the sensory aspects of our products play a vital role for our consumers! A cream or lotion should always be just as absorbable or hydrating for the skin. This is why we also take a regular critical look at our product formulations and ingredients. Above all the oils that our products contain are responsible for ensuring their consistency – and as raw materials, these oils play a fundamental role in defining our products’ environmental footprint.

In the course of our project we gained a valuable insight: It takes a holistic approach and additional latitude for a manufacturer when formulating products to optimize these environmentally. If we know what impact each raw material has, in the development stage we can also focus on this in parallel to new products’ sensory characteristics. Manufacturing a product with identical characteristics after swapping out ingredients to improve its environmental scorecard requires this extra effort.

This collaboration provides us with excellent opportunities to identify areas of optimization potential throughout a product’s lifetime. Our company’s specialists are constantly engaged in an intensive exchange of know-how, which pools expert knowledge of environmental scorecards, product sensory characteristics, and consumer acceptance. Building on this we draft the right solutions to help us continually reduce our products’ environmental impacts.