Annual Report 2023

Annual Report 2023


Water is the foundation of all life. However, our planet’s water resources are unequally distributed and threatened by a range of factors such as climate change, population increase, pollution, and overuse. Some regions are affected particularly severely by water shortages. At the same time, the global supply of clean drinking water is becoming increasingly scarce. In light of this situation, we consider it vital to use water responsibly. Our aim is to keep water consumption and wastewater generation as low as possible across all areas of the company and processes, as well as along our supply chains. 

Managing water risks

The Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a reporting tool made available by the World Resources Institute (WRI), is used by the tesa Business Segment to conduct an annual risk analysis for its production sites and main headquarters. This analysis takes a number of different aspects into account, such as water resources, water quality, and wastewater management. In addition, we identify locations with an elevated risk of water scarcity or water stress. 

The Consumer Business Segment works with WWF’s Water Risk Filter to analyze, evaluate, and respond to water risks prevalent in its operations. For even more detailed analyses, we remain in an ongoing dialogue with the WWF. Furthermore, we consider it vitally important to use water responsibly not only in our direct areas of activity, but throughout the entire value chain. For example, Beiersdorf conducted a commodity risk analysis for palm oil, soy, and coconut to understand the role of water risks in sourcing key ingredients. 

Our Consumer and tesa Business Segments submit water management data annually as part of the CDP Water Security program. In the reporting year, Consumer achieved an A rating (on a scale from A to D) for the information provided in the CDP Water Security questionnaire, and tesa was rated B–. For the coming year, we plan to continue our efforts to maintain and improve these ratings.



In the Consumer Business Segment, we use water to manufacture our products, and it is a core ingredient in our product formulations. Also, water is used by our consumers when they apply our products. This is why we are fully committed to using this precious resource responsibly, while systematically and consistently promoting the sustainable use of water. 

Most of the water we use is consumed in our production sites for our formulations and in the production process. Beiersdorf is committed to continuously minimizing water consumption in its production processes: By 2025, we aim to reduce consumption per manufactured product by 25% (compared to the 2018 baseline). Technical and sustainability experts at each site implement specific water conservation and efficiency measures in line with this target. In a bottom-up approach, our Sustainability in Manufacturing (SIM) initiative and our “Global Water & Cleaning Community” are driving these topics and are responsible for coordinating our efforts at the level of individual factories. Progress is monitored and reported to the Sustainability Council and the Supply Chain leadership team on a quarterly basis to ensure we are on the right track. 

In 2023, water consumption per manufactured product was reduced by7% in comparison to 2018 (base year). Despite our efforts and the strides we have made, we acknowledge that external factors and unforeseen obstacles may cause delays to our planned projects and may impact our ability to fully meet our 2025 water targets as hoped. Nevertheless, we remain committed to the measures and projects we have in place to meet our water reduction target.

As we continue to work toward achieving our 2025 targets, we are also collaborating with the WWF on the development of a holistic water strategy for 2025 onwards. Over the course of a three-year strategic partnership, we are exploring options for regenerative water use. This forward-looking approach will be based on location-specific risk analyses and tailored specifically to the circumstances of the regions in which we operate. The goal is to ensure that our efforts are relevant to the different needs of local communities and ecosystems and effectively address them. All these measures are intended to be part of our holistic approach to improve water stewardship within the company and throughout our value chain.

Sustainable water management through state-of-the-art production processes

Sustainable water management is a key priority when expanding production sites. Our global SIM initiative leads our efforts to integrate innovative water management solutions into our production processes. We focus on developing effective solutions to reduce water loss, track water consumption at relevant production sites, and implement new solutions to treating wastewater for it to be reused in production processes. 

We rely on modern equipment and advanced technologies, especially for high-consumption cleaning processes. Any wastewater is treated using efficient technical processes (usually in the company’s own treatment plants); it is then used for cooling, irrigation, or sanitation. These measures are implemented at our production sites as part of their LEED certification (see “Climate action” section). Even seemingly small improvements such as modernizing sanitary facilities contribute to sustainable water management. In order to continuously improve our water management, we are also in dialogue with water suppliers, local authorities, and neighboring companies. These discussions are aimed at fostering a collaborative community focused on finding innovative and sustainable water solutions. Through these interactions, we exchange ideas and share best practices, ensuring a more effective and efficient use of water. We also regularly conduct reviews at our production sites to identify potential ways to optimize water consumption and wastewater treatment. 

New water roadmap

In 2023, the Consumer Business Segment further refined and made changes to its roadmap for water management initially developed in 2022. The SIM initiative is responsible for reaching corresponding global targets by implementing measures at the level of our individual production centers. The water roadmap is based on three pillars under which we have launched the following measures in 2022 and continued them in 2023: 

  1. Process optimization and continuous improvement
    Through the Beiersdorf “Global Water & Cleaning Community,” water experts at the production sites share best practices and can learn from each other. They also have the opportunity to discuss progress with the SIM team. We look for and test new (digital) approaches to reducing water consumption in treatment processes, supported by specialist institutes. With the help of internal and external experts, we regularly review whether our facilities meet the latest standards and how we can optimize processes. In this context, we focus on wastewater treatment plants, water treatment plants, and purification processes. In addition, we draw on external expertise for training and to optimize operations.
  2. New water treatment technologies
    In addition, we are introducing new water treatment technologies, for example via efficient reverse osmosis. In 2023, we installed the first filtration technology unit in our Indian factory. As the initial estimates have shown, the factory’s overall water consumption intensity could be reduced as much as 30% as a result of this measure implemented in the 3rd quarter 2023. Based on these promising results, we will further test this and additional water recovery and process efficiency technologies in ten other factories.
  3. Exploring circular water management
    We are currently conducting studies to transform the water systems at our facilities in line with the closed-loop principle. The aim is to maximize water recovery and reuse in our production centers. Initial projections show that the savings potential can be as high as 70%, depending on the location and the measured variables. Our factory in Bangkok, Thailand has launched an engineering study of the system. A pre-study from the Bangkok site shows a reduction of 50–60% in water withdrawal. Combined with additional efficiency projects on site, this is likely to result in a cumulative 75% reduction in water withdrawal compared to the year 2020. Further projects will be implemented in Silao, Mexico and Tres Cantos, Spain in the future.

Our water roadmap is an example of how we look to our factories for opportunities to innovate and implement advanced technologies that can reduce the overarching impact on our environment.



Guidelines and preventive measures

We are committed to efficient water use, water resource conservation, and appropriate wastewater treatment. We collect water-related data at our production sites annually, such as on water consumption and wastewater volumes. We mainly withdraw water from public drinking-water supply and groundwater. Water in our cooling cycles is reused multiple times. Most of the water used is discharged as wastewater into the sewage system or as surface water. 

We aim to reduce risks to water sources as much as possible. This is why we take preventive measures against potential accident scenarios. For example, liquids that pose a threat to water are emptied, refilled, and stored only in areas that are equipped with appropriate retention tanks. We use equipment to measure turbidity and solvent concentration to ensure that contaminated surface water is not discharged into the sewer system. Emergency plans are in place for the exact course of action in the event of leakages of substances hazardous to water. All these measures are regularly reviewed in our external ISO 14001 audits and are a precondition for a successful audit result. 

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