Procurement of Good Quality Recycled Materials Remains a Challenge
Nivea manufacturer Beiersdorf has ambitious sustainability goals. Eva Bredehorst, Global Packaging Sustainability Manager at Beiersdorf, explains the challenges that need to be overcome in response to an inquiry from FACHPACK360°.
Although many consumers in Germany are saving in the face of inflation, they continue to reach for care products from the traditional Nivea brand. Last year, its manufacturer Beiersdorf increased its sales by 10.2 percent to 8.8 billion euros. Most of the increase in sales was due to price increases. Despite 20 percent additional costs, the consumer goods giant was also able to increase its profits. Before interest and taxes (Ebit), excluding special items, it climbed by 17 percent to 1.16 billion euros.
The company continues to pursue ambitious plans not only in terms of finances, but also in regarding sustainability. The Group strategy also includes the CARE BEYOND SKIN sustainability agenda. With this, Beiersdorf has set itself targets that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and the 1.5- degree scenario.
FACHPACK360° asked Eva Bredehorst, Global Packaging Sustainability Manager at Beiersdorf, about the challenges facing the sustainable design of Beiersdorf's packaging, and whether the European sustainability targets are achievable.
Skin care product safety
“One challenge we face all the time is integrating recycled plastics or ensuring the required quantities of high-quality recycled plastic (PCR grades) for us. Many companies are interested in this type of recycled plastic, and the quantities are still very limited,” explains Bredehorst. This can lead to difficulties in procurement, she adds. “In addition, it is not only availability that is a challenge, but also the quality of the material. The recycled packaging material must not compromise the safety of our skin care products under any circumstances,” says Bredehorst.
That is why Beiersdorf is also working intensively with its suppliers and is involved in various cross-industry committees to further improve plastic sorting and to define a cosmetics standard, she adds. “If we solve this challenge in cooperation with our partners and the recycling industry, the European sustainability targets will be achievable,” says the packaging technology graduate.
Beiersdorf committed to the Global Plastic Pledge in May 2020, stipulating that all packaging should be refillable, reusable, or recyclable by 2025. The recycled content of plastic packaging is to increase to 30 percent (currently 10 percent) and the amount of new, petroleum-based plastic used is to decrease by 50 percent (currently 15 percent).
Vision of a circular economy
"With ‘Plastic Pledge’, we have set ourselves ambitious targets that apply worldwide and that we want to achieve by 2025. They are in line with our vision of a circular economy.” She says the development of innovative refill and reuse concepts is an important aspect Beiersdorf is working on. “These new formats will help reduce our global plastic footprint in the future.”
If you would like to find out even more about Beiersdorf's sustainable packaging strategy, Eva Bredehorst will be one of the prominent speakers at the German Packaging Congress organized by the German Packaging Institute (dvi) in Berlin on March 30. The congress, at which other experts from the consumer goods sector, packaging industry, science, and politics will speak, is supported by FACHPACK as a premium partner of the dvi. The theme of the two-day congress is “How VUCA is changing the packaging world.” The abbreviation VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.