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Evonik continuously develops new active substances made of renewable raw materials.
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For many years now, a wide range of products at Evonik have been based on renewable raw materials, whose importance for the company is steadily growing. Evonik continually develops new methods for making specialty chemicals based on renewable resources. However, an assessment of a product’s sustainability depends not only on the use of renewable raw materials, but also on their sources, manufacturing processes, framework conditions, and competition with food production. Social aspects are also becoming increasingly important—for example, the working conditions of people involved in the production or extraction of the raw materials. Because more and more customers want to buy sustainable products, sustainability is no longer just an aspect of corporate culture; it has become a fixed product attribute. This is especially the case for cosmetics and skincare products, for which customers demand transparency, corporate responsibility, and the use of harmless substances.
When Peter Becker showers in the morning, he, like most people, doesn’t think about anything in particular. However, when he is with his team at work, he contemplates how this carefree feeling in the shower can be maintained and communicated. Becker is not only the Head of the Corporate Responsibility unit at the Personal Care Business Line, but also the Key Account Manager for Sustainability. Plant-based raw materials play a crucial role for Personal Care, which develops products that clean and care for the skin and hair or that protect people against too intense sunlight and make them smell better and look more attractive. To meet such demands, raw materials—whether renewable or not—have to hold up even under the closest scrutiny. Sales can be severely impacted if consumers have even the slightest doubts about this when they shower or look at themselves in the mirror. Customers must be able to use the product without being at all concerned. As a supplier of ingredients for cosmetics and personal care products, Evonik cooperates with the manufacturers of such items to eliminate any cause for concern from the very start.
That’s why the Personal Care Business Line closely examines every item in its diverse range of products. The cosmetics manufacturers expect this of Evonik, so they ask in-depth questions regarding each product’s contents, origins, and manufacturing process. "The corporate responsibility requirements are very stringent in the area of personal care products," says Becker. Not every product made of renewable raw materials deserves to be called sustainable itself. It has to fulfill a variety of other criteria as well. The supply chain has to be transparent and secure, and significant benefits have to be documented for the production and use phases. However, sustainability also sets minimum standards for a product’s profitability to ensure it is also suited for growth markets. Last but not least, the product has to work. Today a product’s sustainability, price, and performance are equally important criteria in the sector.
Read the full story in our Sustainability Report 2013.
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