Henkel is a global manufacturer of leading consumer and industrial products and technologies, including well-known brands such as Pritt, Ponal, Loctite and Schwarzkopf.
Headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany, Henkel operates from all five continents and has some 47 000 employees worldwide, of which 1 600 are dedicated to innovation and development in adhesive technologies.
Founded in 1876, Henkel started operating in South Africa in 1964, focusing on adhesives and detergents. Adhesive technologies are today the core business of Henkel SA, and range from industrial to consumer to transport to general industries. The company’s South African head office is in Alberton, although Henkel also operates from Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Cape Town, with a total staff complement of around 320. (Picture – Henkel Alrode)
South Africans are probably most familiar with Henkel as the inventor of the glue stick. Dr Wolfgang Dierichs, a Henkel researcher, was inspired to package glue with a twistable cap while watching a woman apply lipstick on a plane. And so, in 1969, the family favourite Pritt Stick was born. Since then, approximately 2.4 billion Pritt Sticks have been sold globally.
Within Henkel, Pritt manages to strike a balance between innovative solutions and commitment to sustainability, which are core to what Henkel stands for. Pritt recently launched the Better than Ever Pritt Stick, which boasts a patented formulation that delivers a smooth and easy application. Pritt Sticks special airtight cap system is unique in ensuring a three-year shelf life. Ninety percent of the glue and its packaging are made from naturally renewable raw materials and its PH neutral, solvent-free formula means it is safe for children to use.
Maintaining a balance between economic success, protection of the environment, and social responsibility has been fundamental to the Henkel corporate culture for decades, and this is reflected in their corporate values. Henkel’s five values are, firstly, to put their customers at the centre of what they do; secondly, to value, challenge and reward their people; thirdly, to drive excellent, sustainable financial performance; fourthly, to commit to leadership in sustainability and finally, to build their future on their family-business foundation.
Excellence in Sustainability
Sustainability is much more than just an opportunistic buzzword to Henkel. As far back as 1972, Henkel management was already acknowledging a company’s responsibility to the society and environment within which it operated. Having invested many years of focused effort in the cause of sustainable development, Henkel has built up an excellent reputation as a company with globally leading positions in this arena. According to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Henkel was recently confirmed as the sustainability leader in non-durable household products – for the fifth year running. The manufacturer was also ranked third this year in the Social Responsibility sub category of Fortune Magazine’s survey of Most Admired Companies.
This year Henkel announced its ambitious 2030 Sustainability Strategy – to achieve more with less and triple its efficiency across all business sectors and the entire value chain. Put simply, by 2030 Henkel aims to use only one-third of today’s inputs for every rand it generates. In addition, beyond its core business of developing and producing innovative products, the company intends to involve its customers and consumers as well as suppliers and industrial users even more closely in its efforts to foster sustainability.
Forty-three years after the launch of the Pritt Stick, Henkel is even more committed now to providing offices, homes and especially learners in schools with the products and resources that give them the inspiration to grow.