Beiersdorf spent nine months co-developing the packaging with Saudi Arabian chemicals major Sabic, using the latter’s certified renewable polypropylene (PP) made from tall oil – a second generation feedstock and by-product of the forestry industry. This raw material replaced crude oil in the final plastic packaging and could be integrated into existing manufacturing processes.
‘Climate neutralised’ face care range global launch
The personal care major planned to launch the renewable plastic jars across all eight products in its Nivea Naturally Good face care range in 30 countries worldwide this June.
The move formed part of Beiersdorf’s wider goal push to slash use of fossil-based virgin plastic by 50% and ensure all packaging was either reusable, refillable or recyclable by 2025.
It also contributed to the pledge to slash CO2 emissions by 30% by 2025 because, per jar, production of the new packaging reduced CO2 emissions by around 60% compared to fossil-based jars. To this end, Beiersdorf had also chosen to invest in carbon offsetting afforestation projects for any final unavoidable emissions when making the new jars – action it would then highlight on pack with a label stating the products were ‘100% climate neutralised’.
Renewable alternative to sugar cane or corn-based packaging
Hannah Rasel, senior packaging specialist at Beiersdorf, said it had been “out of the question” to use a food source like sugar cane or corn for its sustainable packaging alternative, with the company instead wanting to engage in a second-generation raw material source.
Importantly, the properties of the certified renewable plastic made from forestry by-product lived up to standards Beiersdorf wanted to maintain, Rasel said.
“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,” she said.
‘Deeper’ supply chain involvement for packaging development
Isabel Hochgesand, chief procurement officer at Beiersdorf, said this project was a good example of how the personal care major was taking a much more hands-on approach with its suppliers – having brought Sabic and Berry Global, its jar manufacturer, together for the development.
“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-one suppliers to accelerate the transformation of our packaging materials towards sustainability,” Hochgesand said.
Earlier this month, Beiersdorf co-published an industry standard, the Cosmetics Packaging Guidance, that detailed safe use of post-consumer recyclates as an alternative to virgin plastics. The work had been conducted alongside manufacturing major Wener & Mertz and R&D institute The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV).