Starting in June, the face-care products of Nivea Naturally Good will be on-shelf in about than 30 countries with more environmentally supportive cosmetic packaging.
The idea was begun in late 2021 when Beiersdorf announced working to produce more sustainable cosmetics packaging using certified renewable polypropylene (PP) from global petrochemicals manufacturer SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio to replace fossil-based virgin plastic.
"We are proud to be a pioneer among our industry in the field of renewable plastic packaging,” says Jean-François Pascal, VP corporate sustainability at Beiersdorf. “The ambitious targets we have set ourselves with our Care Beyond Skin Sustainability Agenda are being put into practice with a great deal of commitment and hard work."
The project began with a comprehensive analysis of the market for alternative plastics. Material requirements were stringent.
"Our excellent skin care products obviously include a high-quality packaging, which has to fulfill many requirements," says Michael Becker, head of global packaging development at Beiersdorf. "On the one hand, this concerns visual and tactile features that our Nivea consumers are acquainted to, but packaging recyclability is also an important aspect for us in line with our vision of a circular economy that we aim to support."
Another essential criterion in the selection of the raw material and the supplier was that the "feedstock concept", which for the Nivea Naturally Good face care packaging is based on a second-generation raw material: tall oil. Producing a cosmetic packaging from sugar cane or corn and thus using a source of food had been out of the question. "The certified renewable plastic we source from Sabic has no visual effects or other adverse properties,” explains Hannah Rasel, Beiersdorf senior packaging specialist. “The jar made of renewable PP is neither visually nor haptically distinguishable from the previous packaging. In addition, SABIC pursues a holistic sustainability approach with its feedstock concept.”
Beiersdorf has also taken a new approach to the sourcing of the packaging concept, according to Isabel Hochges, Beiersdorf's chief procurement officer. "We are now getting involved much earlier and deeper in the supply chain, where we are building new supplier relationships. Becoming more sustainable as a company also means driving the development of new materials along the value chain. We are going beyond our existing supplier relationships and bringing upstream suppliers together with our tier 1 suppliers to accelerate the transformation of our packaging materials towards sustainability."
After identifying Sabic as a source, Beiersdorf connected the vendor with long-time trusted partner Berry Global to help speed the packaging changeover.
The result drove a rapid market introduction: The project took just nine months from idea to implementation.
“We need these strong partnerships along the value chain and are very pleased that we were able to establish such a good cooperation with our suppliers Berry Global and SABIC," explains Julia Wiedemann, global category manager sustainable packaging in procurement, Beiersdorf.
Achieving mass balance.
The packaging launch is based on the principle of mass balancing, in accordance with the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme. The raw material base for the renewable plastic is certified renewable tall oil, which is a “second generation” feedstock and by-product of the forestry-industry. It seamlessly replaces crude oil in the manufacturing process — without the need to establish a separate production process.
Converting the packaging to renewable plastic not only has the advantage of conserving fossil resources, but also reduces carbon dioxide emissions. Approximately 76g of CO2 emissions are saved per jar produced, a reduction of around 60% compared to the fossil-based jar. The project therefore also contributes to the company's climate target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% absolutely across the entire value chain (Scope 1-3) by 2025. Any remaining emissions that cannot be avoided or further reduced during the manufacturing of the product are, for the first time, climate-neutralized via carbon offsetting through afforestation projects. This is new step for Beiersdorf and its largest skin care brand. The Nivea Naturally Good face-care range of eight products will be recognizable as “climate-neutralized” on-pack and on-shelf.