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The Future of the Planet and Henkel’s Sustainability Goals – Together for a Conscious Effort

Updated: Jul 9, 2021

By 2030, we have streamlined our key sustainability goals and I would like to focus on three workstreams which are - climate positive, thermal energy initiatives, and circular economy. Along with the UN SDGs, we have set up a vision for 2030 statement, to triple the value we create for the environmental footprint made by our operations, products, and services. To reach our goal of becoming three times more efficient by 2030, we are focusing on a 3% reduction in energy, water, and waste, year on year. Our targets are monitored monthly, and put into the global framework; there is strong reporting and review because we strongly believe in protecting our environment for our future generation.” - Sudhir Shenoy, Head -Safety, Health & Environment, Henkel India

In the Sustainable Circular Economy Series – Doing Well by Doing Good conducted by ProMFG in collaboration with BiofuelCircle, Sudhir Shenoy, shared his insights and best practices that have been implemented within the company to create an ecosystem of sustainability and circular economy.

Question: Please walk us through the steps that Henkel has taken towards sustainability.

Henkel as an organization that is into the adhesives business, we make a lot of industrial adhesives, general adhesives, transportation adhesives, surface treatment, and it's a global company having a leading position in the adhesive segment. Henkle supported all the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined in the UN Summit in 2015, in which 193 member nations participate. We support all the 17 sustainable development goals as outlined there are primarily energy, climate, societal progress, health, and safety, eliminating poverty, protecting the oceans. So we are into practically all, playing a very strong part in each one of those. Along with the UN SDGs, we set up a vision 2030 statement, wherein, you know, we've talked about a 3% reduction in energy, water and waste year-on-year. So that means every year we set targets, it's being monitored every month, and put into the global framework, there is regular reporting, review and setup on having the 3% reduction because we strongly feel that currently, we are using approximately one and a half times the resources of this planet, with about 7 billion people on this planet. And by 2050, when we visualize 9 billion people to be there, we will be consuming approximately the resources of five planets. And clearly, it's not sustainable. And that's something we as conscious citizens in the industry should be looking at, and protecting this environment for our future generation. That's where the 3% reduction is a conscious effort, so we have termed it as a Factor of Three. So we increased either the value, meaning the societal progress efficiency in our productions, health and safety, we increase it year on year by 3%. Or on the denominator, we reduce the footprint, meaning the energy and climate, material and waste, water and wastewater all this, so that that's what we strongly do. By 2030, we also have certain work streams and milestones that we have set as goals. Our three workstreams on climate positive are the thermal energy initiatives, one on circular economy that we are all talking about here, it's all about doing the packaging waste, reducing the bonding, zero waste to landfill sites. So those are all targets on which we are working very actively, we endeavored on all these initiatives way back in 2010. And year on year, we are very strongly monitoring, reviewing, and in fact, accelerating our programs on each of these workstreams. So, we aspire to be climate positive, meaning zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. We have set up interim milestones also by 2025, we aspire to have a 65% reduction in co2 emissions by 2030 75%. And by 2040, we are aspiring to be totally climate positive. Likewise, for example, other initiatives like Zero Waste to Landfill, we want to make our sites, zero waste to landfill by doing more co-processing by doing more interaction with the industry using all our waste with our calorific fuels, calorific value, and using it as co-processing inside cement kilns. These are the initiatives that we have promoted across the region and we have been pretty successful in that. So currently, our portfolio stands at 68% of our sites, globally. Our zero waste to landfill sites tend to all these initiatives that we put in place, and the clear aspiration is to go up to 75% by 2030. On the renewable energy front is another initiative that we have taken wherein, currently, very strong initiatives are going in our North American business. Germany, of course, is a leader there. And India, of course, has very much at the forefront. We do have a wind energy power purchase agreement; we have onsite solar installations at our sites that contribute to the renewable energy effort in India.

Q: Would you like to throw some light on the Energy-Mix undertaken taken at Henkel?

Our traditional energy mix has been the bought-in electricity. We also have a power purchase agreement on the renewable front. We also have a mix of having solar energy or wind energy. So, we use a traditional mix of conventional electricity - bought-in electricity, renewable, and also on the onsite installations. At our location, we have been steadily increasing the renewable content at our manufacturing locations. We are putting more and more solar rooftops to augment and our current portfolio stands at 13% of the electricity with renewable having a renewable content. So we have the wind energy farms expertise for recommends that at Chennai manufacturing locations, at our Kurkum location, which is a state of the art facility, going more and more for solar rooftop installation, and also with the power purchase agreements that we have with Tata Power. So the idea is to steadily increase this portfolio on renewable. On a global scale, our current standing is that 46% on the renewable with basically North America taking the lead, closely, followed by Germany and then, of course, India. So we are certainly at the top on the renewable energy front. On Bioenergy, there are a lot of workstreams that we are now specifically focusing on, and certainly, it is linked to being climate positive, reducing the CO2 emissions. So all these are closely interlinked, and of course, we are pointing out as we are speaking, we are also in talks with Thermax on having this biomass facility at our location as well. We have been partnering closely with Thermax multiple locations, for our plants in Iran. We intend to carry more along in the coming days and years. The only constraint is in terms of space, in terms of the logistics, and handling, which of course, we will seek guidance from Thermax and others.

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