Industry pioneer: Beiersdorf launches first packaging made from certified, renewable plastics

Beiersdorf launches first packaging made from certified, renewable plastics
  • Beiersdorf sets new standards: the packaging of the NIVEA Naturally Good face care range will be switched from fossil-based virgin plastic to renewable plastic around the world
  • The certified renewable polypropylene (PP) of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLETM portfolio is derived from a ‘second generation’ feedstock, a by-product of the forestry-industry
  • Project contributes to Beiersdorf target to use 50% less fossil-based virgin plastic by 2025
  • Significant reduction of packaging-based CO2 emissions enables step towards climate neutralization

At the end of last year, Beiersdorf had announced its cooperation with the global company SABIC. The aim of the collaboration: to produce more sustainable cosmetics packaging from the certified renewable polypropylene (PP) of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLETM portfolio, replacing fossil-based virgin plastic. From June onwards, the face care products of the NIVEA Naturally Good product range will be on the shelves in about 30 countries around the world featuring this innovative, more environmentally friendly packaging. “We are proud to be a pioneer among our industry in the field of renewable plastic packaging. 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,” says Jean-François Pascal, Vice President Corporate Sustainability at Beiersdorf.

High Requirements on the Material

The project began with a comprehensive analysis of the market for alternative plastics. The requirements on the material were high, since Beiersdorf aims to become more sustainable without any compromise on its quality brands and products. “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 so-called “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. Accordingly, 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. That convinced us,” explains Hannah Rasel, Senior Packaging Specialist at Beiersdorf.

Sustainable Selection of Supplier

Beiersdorf has also taken a new approach to the sourcing of the new packaging concept, as Isabel Hochgesand, Beiersdorf’s Chief Procurement Officer, explains: “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.” In fact, Beiersdorf had identified SABIC itself and then brought them to the table to work together with Berry Global, a long and trusted partner of Beiersdorf for the production of the face care jars. This way, the shift to more sustainable packaging could quickly be realized. Beiersdorf sees this approach as one of the key drivers of a rapid market introduction: From the idea to the implementation, it took just nine months. “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,” adds Julia Wiedemann, Global Category Manager Sustainable Packaging in Procurement at Beiersdorf.

Principle of Mass Balancing

The new, more sustainable packaging that Beiersdorf is now introducing for its NIVEA Naturally Good face care products 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 is replacing crude oil and according to the mass balancing approach it is integrated seamlessly in the manufacturing process – without the need to establish a separate production process.

New Packaging enables Climate Neutrality

Converting the packaging to renewable plastic not only has the advantage of conserving fossil resources, but also reduces CO2 emissions. Approximately 76 g of CO2e 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 step is new for Beiersdorf and its largest skin care brand. The NIVEA Naturally Good face care range comprised of eight products will be clearly recognizable as ‘climate-neutralized’ on pack and on shelf.

4R’s for more Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging is a key topic for Beiersdorf. Along the 4 R’s (Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Replace), intensive work is being done to achieve improvements and rethink packaging across the different dimensions. This includes the use of renewable raw materials as it has been done with the new NIVEA Naturally Good jars. With high company-wide commitment, this field of action is pushed forward, as well as the options for material reduction (Reduce), refill concepts (Reuse), and plastic-free packaging (Replace). With the 4 R’s, Beiersdorf is pursuing its “Plastic Pledge”, which sets the following targets for 2025: To make 100% of its packaging reusable, refillable, or recyclable, to increase the share of recycled content in plastic packaging to 30% and to reduce the use of fossil-based virgin plastic by 50%. These targets are, among others, part of Beiersdorf’s CARE BEYOND SKIN Sustainability Agenda with which the company has set itself targets for promoting a circular economy and climate action.

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