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Published November 16, 2020
Published November 16, 2020

The plastic problem will continue unless businesses and governments fundamentally rethink the way plastic is being produced, used, and disposed of on a local and global scale. Consider this: an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic flow into the ocean each year, and the volume is forecast to triple over the next 20 years. Plastic not only pollutes the environment, but it also amplifies climate change. If plastic production continues unchecked by 2050, plastics alone will produce around 10 to 13 percent of the CO2 budget remaining to reach the 1.5-degree target.

Beiersdorf announced a breakthrough in packaging design at the “Plastic-Free World Conference.” After intensive research and development, the bottle and cap of the new Nivea Naturally Good Body Lotion have been designed to use 50% less plastic. The new package is very thin with a uniquely shaped bottom that can be easily squeezed and rolled up tightly, like a toothpaste tube. The bottle is fully recyclable and can be integrated into the material loop in all countries with existing waste infrastructures. The new design improved pallet utilization through its thinner and lighter packaging, making transportation from the factory to retailers more sustainable.

“As we strongly believe the global plastic problem cannot be solved in silos, but a broader collaboration and joined forces are needed, we are taking action beyond our own business. We are teaming up with our suppliers, trade partners, NGOs, scientific institutions and also with other players in our industry,” explains Jean-Francois Pascal, Vice President Corporate Sustainability at Beiersdorf. “We want to really drive the topic forward and contribute to the change we need within a broader context.” Not just words—Beiersdorf takes action and was one among 29 other companies to sign the business call for a UN treaty on plastic pollution initiated by the WWF, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and the Boston Consulting Group. In a joint approach, the call is to push governments to negotiate and agree on a UN treaty on plastic pollution.

To minimize its environmental footprint, Beiersdorf is following a fourfold approach: the so-called “4R’s” set the company’s frame in the search of innovative ways to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Replace” its plastic packaging across its brand portfolio. The overall vision is to achieve a circular economy. By the end of 2020, Beiersdorf will have converted 90% of its PET bottles in Europe to include recycled material. This measure alone will save more than 1,200 tons of fossil-based virgin plastic per year.


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