Nivea Makes Huge Sustainability Strides in 2020

This year has been filled with unprecedented challenges, and the incredible logistic, staffing, and supply chain changes around the world have created setbacks for many brands. But Nivea and Beiersdorf have been making steady progress on a wide range of sustainability initiatives. 

Nivea’s sustainability goals are ambitious and comprehensive, addressing every aspect of how they make products and do business. Nivea believes that creating the best protective skincare products requires careful interactions with the natural world, and has set standards throughout their supply chain. Their sustainability program includes:

Responsible and Sustainable Ingredient Sourcing

  • Research and development: Nivea’s R&D teams are constantly looking for alternative or improved ingredients that help reduce environmental impact. In many cases, synthetic ingredients can be more pure and consistent than naturally-derived ingredients, and be produced in laboratories, so that fields and water can be used to grow food crops instead. 
  • Sustainable sourcing: When natural and naturally-derived ingredients are more effective than synthetic ingredients, Nivea holds its suppliers to a code of conduct that respects both the environment and social responsibility. Nivea fights deforestation and protects biodiversity, using paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and sourcing palm oil that has been certified by the RSPO. In 2018, Nivea participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project and was given the highest score for their work on deforestation and sustainable palm oil supplies.
  • Eliminating microplastics: As far back as 2013, Nivea began to reduce microplastics in their skincare products, and their products have been free of microbeads since 2015. The company is also reformulating their products to eliminate microplastic- and nylon-based ingredients that give their products their characteristic texture and appearance, and replacing them with bio-polymers that create the same luxurious feel without endangering water resources.   

Sustainable Manufacturing and Production

  • Responsible manufacturing: Nivea strives to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint, while ensuring healthy and safe working conditions for everyone involved in manufacturing their products. In 2018, Nivea production centers in Germany and Spain were converted to renewable energy sources, with a 59% reduction in their carbon footprint. 
  • Reducing waste: Nivea believes that waste is a resource, and they recycle production waste into heat and energy for their facilities. Changing packaging procedures has not just reduced production waste, but also allows the company to use raw packaging materials more efficiently, reducing the shipping of raw materials and reducing carbon emissions. 
  • Sustainable packaging: Nivea has been working on sustainable packaging since 2009, looking for innovative packaging methods and materials that keep their products safe and fresh while reducing environmental impact. Simply using lighter weight plastic in product packaging has saved 50 tons of polypropylene. Nivea and Beiersdorf plan to have 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable product packaging by 2025. 

This end-to-end sustainability vision, that incorporates responsible use of land and water at every phase of production, while supporting safe and healthy labor practices, and reducing energy consumption, is incredibly ambitious. Nivea and Beiersdorf care about making great products, and being responsible global citizens, and it shows. 

Recent Sustainability Landmarks by Nivea and Beiersdorf

Despite the global challenges and setbacks of 2020, Nivea has still made major progress and garnered recognition for their sustainability efforts. Their most recent accomplishments include:

  • Dec 2019: Beiersdorf achieves 100% green energy at all production and office facilities worldwide, a year ahead of schedule. 
  • Dec 2019: Beiersdorf and Nivea join the Global Shea Alliance and AAK sustainability program Kolo Nafaso. This innovative program supports the West African women who grow and harvest shea butter, with direct and ethical trade, and complete traceability. 
  • May 2020: Nivea’s Fresh Blends launches with 100% recycled PET packaging. 
  • June 2020: Beiersdorf commits to 30% greenhouse gas emission reductions across all its business segments by 2025, including a 10% reduction of emissions in their supply chain. The company also aims to make all production sites climate-neutral by 2030. 
  • October 2020: Nivea’s Refill Station, introduced in August 2020, wins the Readers Choice Sustainability Award from Packaging Europe. These refill stations, currently available at some dm stores in Germany, allow consumers to choose an empty bottle and fill it with a Nivea product. The machine prints a barcode that can then be used for checkout, and the consumer can bring the bottle back to the store to refill it. After the third refill, the customer is asked to return the bottle for recycling, and get their first refill of a new bottle for free. This system minimizes new product packaging and maximizes package recycling, while still ensuring that Nivea products meet safety and hygiene standards. This test program allows Nivea to gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, and promote a circular economy while pioneering new sustainable processes.   
  • Nov 2020: Beiersdorf’s production facilities in Itatiba, Brazil achieve LEED Gold certification. 

It’s clear that this 100-year-old brand is firmly focused on the future, and on developing products and processes that will protect the planet promote healthy beautiful skin for another century. At grapefrute, we love it when legendary brands keep innovating for a better future, and Nivea is a fantastic example.