Expectations for social and environmental responsibility are changing again and again. That’s why companies rely on open dialogue with communities, suppliers, customers and many other stakeholders to make sure they provide solutions to the challenges that matter most.

To truly understand, you have to truly listen. That’s why companies are so keen to engage in dialogue with their stakeholders. An open approach to sharing opinions and exchanging insights is the key to understanding the expectations of different interest groups as they evolve over time. Whether through focus groups, surveys or participation in discussion platforms: Businesses need to gather insights into the concerns and priorities of their stakeholders – and reflect these insights in their day-to-day activities.

Discuss, engage, involve

At Henkel, our approach to sustainability is shaped by our interactions with our stakeholders. We’re convinced that open, ongoing dialogue with all groups that have an interest in our business is the key to making sure we’re working on the challenges that matter most. Through direct conversation, participation in multi­-stakeholder initiatives and support for dialog platforms, we aim to share our unique knowledge and gather insights – and then integrate what we’ve learned into our products, services and business activities. We want to understand our stakeholders. That’s why we truly listen.

Dialogue with our stakeholders

Understanding and mapping the social demands that stakeholders of all kinds place on our company is a key component of our sustainability management. This includes our customers, consumers, suppliers, business partners, employees, shareholders, investors, neighbors and local communities, associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), academia, as well as politicians and government authorities.

To better understand the expectations and perspectives of our stakeholders and to engage in dialogue that is more targeted and solution-oriented, we make use of specific surveys and continuously monitor the opinions at several levels: in direct dialogue, in multi-stakeholder initiatives, and through dialogue platforms. Cooperation with NGOs and opinion leaders gives us insights into global challenges and enables us to respond to issues at an early stage. Stakeholder dialogue is a key element of our approaches to innovation and risk management, and helps us to continuously develop our sustainability strategy and reporting.

  Stakeholder dialogue underpins sustainability strategy

We engage in intensive dialogue with our stakeholders on an ongoing basis in order to recognize their expectations of us and to meet those expectations.

As we develop our sustainability strategy, we continue to take advantage of the comprehensive stakeholder survey conducted in 2021. The survey confirmed the importance of integrating sustainability into all our activities for our target groups and showed that our stakeholders perceive Henkel to be well positioned to address sustainability issues. We rolled out our sustainability strategy in 2022 and have continued to develop it further in collaboration with international partners.

In 2023, we also worked with a variety of external partners in our strategic focus areas. With regard to natural raw materials, for example, we conducted an analysis to identify our impact, risks and dependencies in relation to biodiversity across our entire value chain. On the social side, our measures included a social impact assessment. The purpose of this assessment was to combine the different perspectives from the countries in which we operate and our social activities to form an overall picture.

Cooperation along the value chain and beyond

We are convinced that we can only drive sustainable change by forging strong partnerships along our entire value chain: from the purchase of raw materials and packaging materials all the way through to our company, including production, logistics and use of our products by consumers, as well as reuse in material cycles.

Everybody can make a difference

For many consumer products, the majority of the related environmental footprint is generated during the use of the product. That’s why promoting responsible-minded behavior is so important. As a result, manufacturers, retailers and distributors are joining forces to develop platforms that inform consumers about sustainable products and encourage them to use products responsibly.

Together with our retail partners we join forces to show consumers how they can cut their personal carbon footprint without sacrificing their quality of life. For instance, in 2017, Henkel and the German drugstore chain Rossmann focused in their campaign on a digital footprint calculator: Consumers answer a set of simple questions to calculate how much carbon is produced by what they eat, where they live or how they spend their free time. At the end, they see how their results compare to the national average.

Involving the next generation

More and more initiatives are being launched to encourage today’s consumers to change their habits now. However, it’s also important to think about future generations. That’s why educational activities that promote sustainable behavior and raise awareness about the challenges facing our planet are also gaining popularity. Henkel’s Forscherwelt (“researchers’ world”), for example, encourages children to explore the world of science by making research fun. The international program includes teaching units and materials for elementary schools. The contents of the program reflect the focal points of Henkel's research areas, while also exploring sustainability.

Forscherwelt (Researcher's World) Dubai - Thumbnail