To truly understand, you have to truly attentively. 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 gather insights into the concerns and priorities of their stakeholders – and reflect these insights in their day-to-day activities.
Initiatives and Partnerships
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.
Of course, it’s not just businesses who benefit from dialogue. Companies can also add value for their stakeholders by sharing information. For example, they can provide insights into how to use their products in the most environmentally responsible way possible. This can empower consumers to change their behavior – and because everybody is a consumer, this can have a significant potential impact on promoting a sustainable future for our planet.
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 and international average.
What about water?
The use of the footprint calculator shows how companies can work together to raise consumers’ awareness of their carbon footprint. But what about their impact on water? The Persil dosage calculator empowers consumers to calculate the exact amount of detergent they should use in order to ensure the best possible washing results – with the lowest impact on water. Users quickly select from four options: how dirty the laundry is, the kind of detergent they’re using, the size of their washing machine and the hardness of the local water. They then receive a customized recommendation for the right amount of detergent to use.
The “Be smarter. Save water” initiative is another example. It was launched by the brands Schauma, Fa and Theramed to increase awareness of the importance of water and encourage water-saving behavior. Consumers can find details on the product packaging, as well as by reading information on point-of-sale displays or by accessing the initiative’s website.
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.
Alongside this, Henkel encourages its more than 52,000 employees to contribute to sustainable development in their daily business lives and as members of society. One element of this is its unique Sustainability Ambassador program – the largest global training program in the company’s history. Over 50,000 Henkel employees have gone through training about sustainability since 2012. They’re now actively sharing their knowledge across the company’s sites worldwide, while also engaging with customers, suppliers and other partners. They also help generate understanding and enthusiasm about sustainability among the next generation by visiting primary schools. By the end of 2018, Henkel’s Sustainability Ambassadors had reached over 150,000 schoolchildren in 53 countries.
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.
Exchanges with our stakeholders and social groups are a key element of Henkel’s sustainability approach. That is the reason why we are active in a number of dialogue platforms and initiatives on selected topics related to sustainability.
This open exchange offers a basis for mutual understanding and an opportunity to attain social acceptance of our entrepreneurial decisions. At the same time, the dialogue is a source of new ideas and makes an important contribution to our innovation management, risk management and forms the basis for the further development of our sustainability strategy and reporting.
Therefore, we are engaged in a continuous dialogue with customers, consumers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, local communities, rating agencies and analysts, government authorities, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), politicians, academia and scientists.