Annual Report 2023

Annual Report 2023

Sustainable Land Use



Sustainable cultivation of raw materials

Natural resources are fundamental to the development of our product formulations. It is important to us that neither the procurement nor the use of these raw materials causes pollution or damage to the environment. We therefore aim to procure our main renewable raw materials – such as palm (kernel) oil derivatives, soybean oil, and primary packaging materials – from more sustainable sources by 2025. Another aim for 2025 is to procure these key raw materials without causing deforestation. To support this objective, “Sustainable Land Use” is firmly anchored in our Sustainability Agenda as a focus field. We have been running sustainability programs for palm oil-based raw materials since 2010 and for paper-based packaging since 2018. Similar programs are currently being set up for soybean oil for certification, transparency in the supply chain, and deforestation-free procurement.

In June 2023, the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) came into force, banning the introduction and sale of products in the EU if any areas of land were deforested for their raw materials after December 31, 2020. We have set up a task force to bring our internal processes into line with the requirements of this regulation. It consists of employees from the Purchasing, Sustainability, Compliance, Legal, and Research and Development (R&D) functions and is responsible for carrying out comprehensive due diligence activities. In this way, we want to ensure that our main raw materials are procured without causing deforestation in accordance with the EUDR.

Within Beiersdorf, the Sustainability department cooperates with employees from various specialist departments such as Purchasing, R&D, Quality Management, and Supply Chain to implement our programs for sustainably certified raw materials and packaging worldwide. The Sustainability Council is regularly updated on progress and involved in strategy workshops. This input is important so that we can continuously develop our programs and monitor the achievement of our goals.

Palm (kernel) oil derivatives

Palm (kernel) oil derivatives are an important raw material for our cosmetics and body care products; they are processed substances based on palm (kernel) oil. Essential ingredients such as emulsifiers and surfactants are produced from this and other vegetable or mineral oils and corresponding derivatives. Beiersdorf does not source palm oil directly for production, but uses its derivatives. Our total demand for palm (kernel) oil derivatives was roughly 38,000 tons in 2023.

Palm (kernel) oil is a highly efficient renewable resource, as the oil palm has a yield per unit area that is almost five times higher than that of other plants such as coconut, rapeseed, or sunflower.1 This makes the cultivation of palm oil attractive, but at the same time often leads to the progressive destruction of rain forests. Our aim is to prevent this deforestation worldwide.

Through certification, transparency, and long-term change, we aim to identify and minimize environmental and social risks along the supply chain of palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials. Our “Palm Sustainability Roadmap” and our “Sustainable Palm Policy” guide us in our worldwide activities for more sustainable raw material sourcing. For instance, we strive to improve the working conditions of the local farmers. To achieve our goals, we pursue various approaches:

Sustainable certification

Our goal of only using palm (kernel) oil and palm (kernel) oil derivatives that are certified as sustainable by the end of 2020 has been achieved: 100% of the palm-based raw materials we use in our products now come from sustainable sources in accordance with the “Mass Balance” model of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).2

According to this model, products can be certified that contain both RSPO-certified and non-certified palm oil. In this context, companies must ensure that the processed quantity of RSPO-certified palm oil corresponds to the purchased quantity of certified palm oil. This option is particularly relevant to the use of palm (kernel) oil-based derivatives, as the derivative supply chains are multi-level and therefore highly complex. Therefore, there is no infrastructure for an RSPO-segregated supply chain, i.e., a supply chain in which RSPO-certified and non-certified derivatives are traded separately.

We are continuing to work toward our goal of procuring our palm (kernel) oil derivatives from deforestation-free sources by 2025 and are using the “Nusantara Atlas” satellite monitoring program to measure our progress. Based on the results for 2022 published by the program in the summer of 2023, we were able to verify that around 63% of the palm-based raw material volume in our palm (kernel) oil mills in Indonesia and Malaysia was of deforestation- and conversion-free origin.

Supply chain transparency

The derivatives supply chain involves a large number of different parties. We do not purchase palm (kernel) oil directly, but rather its derivatives from supplier companies and therefore have only limited influence on the upstream supply chain.

Nevertheless, we want to be able to trace the origin of our raw materials back to the level of refineries, mills, and plantations, which is why we are a founding member of the cross-industry Action for Sustainable Derivatives (ASD) initiative, which has been in place since 2019. The ASD’s aim is to increase the transparency and sustainability of derivatives supply chains. To achieve this, the initiative contacts our direct suppliers and requests information on their upstream supply chain and palm oil quantities, among other things. In this way, the ASD works steadily upwards through the entire palm oil supply chain. The aim of this annual tracking of our raw materials is to increase transparency in our palm (kernel) oil supply chain, identify “hot spots,” and provide targeted support for local projects.

Sustainable transformation in cultivation regions

We conduct activities directly in the regions where palm oil is cultivated in order to improve the local working and living conditions of farmers with small and medium-sized oil palm plantations over the long term and to protect the environment. Our aim is to work with farmers on transitioning to more sustainable farming without further deforestation.

For example, since mid–2018 we have been collaborating with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) on a project in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. We are supporting a total of three villages with a population of around 4,500 inhabitants. Its aim is to train smallholder farmers in more sustainable cultivation practices and help them obtain legal recognition for their cultivation areas. We helped establish an overarching association, allowing them to share knowledge more efficiently and to represent their interests jointly. The first phase was completed in 2022, and the project was extended for a further four years. In the second project phase (mid–2022 to 2026), the aim is to recruit at least 300 members for the farmers’ association and certify at least 200 members of the association according to the RSPO standard. Moreover, the smallholder farmers are to be given direct market access to a palm oil mill. The second project phase is also being supported by one of our suppliers, the specialty chemicals company Evonik.

Since 2020, Beiersdorf and Evonik have been supporting the WWF in a second project to realize a landscape project in Sabah, Malaysia. We are working with small and medium-sized farmers on an area of 15,000 hectares to bring their palm oil cultivation in line with the RSPO standard by 2026. Another aim is to create a forest corridor to restore a continuous habitat for the migration of wild animals such as orangutans. By working with communities and plantation owners, we seek to reduce conflicts between humans and animals along the migration routes.

In addition to the aforementioned projects, we are also supporting a project carried out by the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FONAP) in Sumatra, Indonesia, as part of a consortium with 26 partners. The project location is known as one of the last refuges for endangered species such as the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran tiger, and the Sumatran elephant. It is our aim to help preserve the buffer zone around the national park. To achieve this, we are establishing sustainable landscape management, setting up a water management system to protect the river and riverbanks, and promoting sustainable oil palm cultivation through regenerative agriculture.


Shea butter is another important ingredient in many of our products, which is why Beiersdorf has been a member of the “Global Shea Alliance” (GSA) since 2019. We work with the GSA (based in Accra, Ghana) and our shea supply companies in the sometimes very poor rural regions of what is known as the “shea belt” – the main cultivation region in Africa. In close cooperation with the GSA and our shea supplier AAK, we are aiming to support a total of 10,000 female shea collectors in Ghana and Burkina Faso over a period of five years. It is traditionally women who are responsible for harvesting and producing shea butter. Through their production work, the shea collectors secure their livelihood and strengthen their position in society. By organizing themselves in associations and women’s groups, they moreover improve their negotiating power for trade on the world market. To promote the independence and autonomy of these women in the long term, we work with the GSA to offer training on topics such as health, occupational safety, and, above all, production sustainability. More than 11,000 women have taken advantage of this offer to date. During the part of the training that focuses on production sustainability, the shea collectors learn, for example, how to build more energy-efficient cookstoves using local materials such as termite sand to pretreat the shea kernels. Their optimized design requires less wood and produces less smoke than the three-stone stoves that are otherwise often used. The cookstoves, which are twice as efficient, can also be used privately by the women. A switch can have a positive impact on the women’s health, both in a commercial and private setting, while also reducing CO2e emissions.

In addition, we intend to plant 10,000 shea trees locally by 2024 in order to help fight climate change, because the trees bind carbon dioxide and can counteract the loss of usable land due to desertification. In 2023, we managed to exceed this target, having planted a total of more than 17,500 shea nut tree seedlings in Ghana and Burkina Faso.


Mica is a mineral that is mostly used for a decorative effect. We use it sparingly in our NIVEA and Eucerin skincare products: At 0.003%, it makes up a very small proportion of our total raw material volume. Due to its natural origin and lower potential environmental impact, it is preferable to alternatives of non-natural origin. However, mica is sometimes mined under problematic conditions. We are therefore particularly selective when choosing our suppliers and only work with those who are members of the “Responsible Mica Initiative” (RMI). The RMI is an alliance for the development of a fair, responsible, and sustainable mica supply chain in India. Beiersdorf too joined the RMI in 2023, thereby supporting compliance with ethical standards along the mica supply chain. With our membership, we also promote various community projects in the areas of (child) protection and education, nutrition and health, as well as government services in important countries of origin such as India. We also use a blockchain-based tool called “Tilkal” to ensure that our mica raw materials are documented in a transparent, traceable, and verifiable manner right down to the level of the first processing units.


Much of our product packaging is made from paper or cardboard. We also want to procure this natural resource from sustainable sources. In 2018, we established a “Sustainable Paper and Cardboard Policy,” in which we set ourselves the goal that 100% of our primary packaging worldwide should be either recycled or certified as sustainable in accordance with the FSC® standard by the end of 2020. We met this goal for the first time at the end of 2020. Since then, we have sourced 100% of our folding cartons (e.g., the outer packaging for facial creams), all blister cards we use (such as the cardboard packaging parts for lip balm sticks), and all enclosed information leaflets from FSC®-certified material. As of summer 2023, we have been working closely with external partners and our suppliers to be able to trace our paper and cardboard products more accurately. We want to make sure, also with a view to the EUDR, that none of the materials that we use in Europe and that are made from virgin paper or wood are linked to deforestation or forest conversion.


2 Including La Prairie and STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME!

CO₂e – (CO₂ Equivalents)
Unit of measure to compare the effect of different greenhouse gases. It converts the amount of a greenhouse gas into the corresponding amount of CO2 that causes the same warming over a given period.
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