1. Strategic Analysis and Action

The company declares whether or not it pursues a sustainability strategy. It explains what concrete measures it is undertaking to operate in compliance with key recognised sector-specific, national and international standards.

The family company steeped in tradition and now in the hands of the 5th generation is proud of its products' ecological and social compatibility.We have always considered sustainability our foundation and strive to make a sustainable lifestyle feasible for the majority. Werner & Mertz concerns itself with overcoming the presumed contradiction between ecology and the performance of cleaning products. In concrete terms that means we want to be at least one generation ahead of the existing ecological benchmarks in the development of all fundamental elements of our products, i.e., formulas, packaging and production circumstances. As an eco pioneer, we want to promote market development with recyclable, that is, integrally sustainable and high-performance cleaning and hygiene solutions which are completely harmless to human life or Nature. We are therefore committed to long-term initiatives which often set standards for ecological feasibility far beyond our own brands and product ranges. Our Recyclate Initiativeandthe European Surfactants Initiative are just two examples. These initiatives are not only for the good of our customers and society in general, but also for our employees. The rigorously practiced sustainability philosophy is an ambitious undertaking in our medium-sized company and a source of motivation for our employees who work at developing sustainable, effective solutions.  

Sustainability and environmental management are the central themes throughout Werner & Mertz. We aspire to be the most sustainable company in our industry. Our goal is to make a sustainable way of life feasible for the majority. As a learning organization, we are in a position to respond to the always changing market requirements by making adjustments within our company. That also applies to developing our strategy for sustainability issues. We are always learning and developing. We build on existing strengths and maintain our flexibility so that we can make continuous improvements to the products and services we offer.   

In a strategic process over the past year we compiled and assessed the many measures and activities that attest to the sustainability orientation of Werner & Mertz. We used as our guide the reporting standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the German Sustainability Code (DNK).  Over the course of several meetings of the Sustainability Team and the involvement of specialized departments, we derived our strategic areas of action.    

The major areas of action for the Werner & Mertz Group, including the most important topics therein are:  

1. Integrity & Responsibility
Aspects of sustainability direct us in our business activities. Acting with integrity is understood and essential. Werner & Mertz expects not only its employees, but also its partners to place a high value on  sustainability too. Via an extensive Supplier Code of Conduct, we pass on our sustainability aspirations to participants in the value chain. By getting our partners involved, we want to reinforce sustainable value creation and lifestyles. 

2. Products & Customers  
Our greatest marketing achievement on behalf of our customers is the "democratization of sustainability." We have been able to present technically complex sustainability concepts so positively and credibly to consumers that they feel good about using our products.  If sustainability is to go mainstream, we have to dispel the notion that the choice is "green" or "clean". With products from Werner & Mertz, consumers do not have to make  compromises on cleaning performance or quality. In our efforts to get young people more involved, we have taken up environmental challenges that are highly relevant to them and have made sustainability a real part of their lives. We have also generated consumer trust with our implementation leadership in the market. Two of our initiatives address the issues of maximum plastic recycling and surfactants made from plants cultivated in Europe.

3. Production & Environment
The responsible handling of resources is another part of a sustainable lifestyle. Our EMAS-validated production sites are guided by the maxim "Doing the right things right." Through the resource-conserving use of raw materials we achieve the maximum effect with our work and make sure that the environment – local and global – can maintain its equilibrium. Wherever possible, we close loops. Good quality management and quality assurance are essential in our efforts to prevent any negative effects and malfunctions.

4. Culture & Employees
Sustainable thinking and doing form the core of our corporate culture. We measure all our decisions against the primacy of sustainability and promote sustainable ideas without fear of making rectifiable errors. This attitude not only shapes our relationships and cooperation but also informs our holistic view of individuals. We give every employee personal support and encouragement according to his special needs and abilities. That helps to turn our employees into ambassadors for sustainability

5. Engagement & Society
We would like to make a sustainable way of life possible for the majority of society and in the process contribute to solving pressing environmental problems like the polluting of our oceans. One way we achieve that is with our Open Innovation strategy in which we make environmental innovations accessible to other market participants beyond the boundaries of our brands and our company. We are convinced that we can positively contribute to environmental protection  and earn consumer trust when our preferred solutions fulfill two criteria: 1. Consistent orientation on 'scientific majority opinions' instead of industry interests and 2. Wide-ranging, lasting acceptance on the part of average consumers by dispelling the notion that they have to give up something in order to clean with ecological products. For each of the areas of activity we have identified topics that are particularly important for Werner & Mertz.  They describe the focus of our ongoing efforts aimed at remaining a pioneer in sustainability. To be able to make and measure our progress, we have set goals for each topic. In addition, for every goal we have laid down measurement parameters and time periods in which we would like to achieve our goals. The topics, goals, means and measurement parameters are described more precisely in the sections on Criteria 2, 3 and 7.   

6. Certifications & Standards
A core element in our sustainability strategy involves obtaining demanding certifications (ISO  14001,  DIN  EN  ISO 9001:2000, ISO 50001 & AISE, IFS HPC and IFS Broker Audit) and acquiring annual EMAS validation of all companies at our two locations. The   Eco Management  and Audit Scheme (EMAS) of the European Union is a combined environmental management and environmental audit. It is considered the most demanding and highest quality Environmental Management system currently on the market. Werner & Mertz also orients its sustainability strategy on the fulfillment of  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. A detailed presentation about our contribution to achieving those goals is in the section on Criterion 3.

2. Materiality

The company discloses the aspects of its business operations that have a significant impact on sustainability issues and what material impact sustainability issues have on its operations. It analyses the positive and negative effects and provides information as to how these insights are integrated into the company’s processes.

All aspects of sustainability have special relevance for the Werner & Mertz Group as a player in the chemical industry. For one thing, competition for well-qualified experts is growing as a result of demographic change. For another, sustainability issues are becoming more important for customers and business partners too.    

With these things in mind, we carried out in the reporting year a materiality analysis with our employees and, with regard to the expectations of stakeholder groups most relevant for us, we made an indirect survey of interfaces in our company. In the process we determined the most important opportunities and risks in the previously identified areas of action and defined the most important sub-topics.  

We used an iterative process for the analysis of the risks and opportunities.    First we drew up a list of proposed topics based on preliminary research in the five action areas. Then in an all-day workshop, employees from specialized departments assessed the topics against different criteria and graded them on a three-level scale. In the course of this work, internal experts assessed the Werner & Mertz impacts and their seriousness. In the final step, the list of topics was verified by our Sustainability Officer.     

The following opportunities and risks and the key subtopics play a central role in the pursuit of the group-wide strategic corporate goals:

  Areas of Action Potential Opportunities, Risks and Impact Key Subtopics of Werner & Mertz
  Basis of a sustainable company is  acting responsibly and  maintaining integrity in all   stages of the value chain.   Following laws, keeping agreements is the foremost rule    
 Integrity and responsibility are expected of our employees, our suppliers, partners and service providers                 

Dependence on meeting standards by our partners, suppliers and service providers  
Supplier contracts with environmental and social criteria / Supplier Code of Conduct    

Integrity management with Codes of Conduct

Use of palm kernel and coconut oils in the manufacture of surfactants (that's the reason for our membership in initiatives for sustainable biodegradability and research on domestic raw materials for surfactant production     

Challenge for end consumer:  Balancing out quality and a sustainable way of life, i.e., bringing both together.  

Task for Werner & Mertz: repeatedly overcome this presumed contradiction, rework products to increase sustainability performance and to offer consumers products that are true alternatives  

Sustainability performance by means of innovation processes

Use of renewable raw materials   / Alternative: use of domestically cultivated plants
  The manufacture of products consumes resources and releases environmentally hazardous substances (water, electricity, CO2, wastewater, etc.)     

Briefly: Striving toward low impact and more innovation to keep the impact on the environment  as low as possible.   -­>   permanent driver at W&M   Besides surfactants, intense work on packaging issues Recyclate use in packaging

Problem of lack of qualified personnel and opportunities  

Missing qualifications and challenges of developing appropriate competence, including through staff turnover (tariff contracts, ensuring higher employer attractiveness, training to build up competence, etc.)      

Employee absences, mostly due to accidents and health hazards   Employees as "Sustainability Ambassadors"  has to be practiced – that's why we take measures to reinforce corporate culture  
Engaged in fighting the loss of biodiversity in past decades caused by increasing industrialization

Corporate culture          

Training and Personal development

Increase awareness of sustainability issues among the general public      

Encourage innovations and share innovative ideas, especially on sustainability topics  
Biodiversity and Species protection  

Industry initiative (Recyclate)

3. Objectives

The company discloses what qualitative and/or quantitative as well as temporally defined sustainability goals have been set and operationalised and how their level of achievement is monitored.

Within its own sustainability roadmap, the Werner & Mertz Group has set concrete medium and long-term goals in each of the areas of action up to the year 2025. The selection of goals is based on strategic action areas of the Werner & Mertz Group, which identified and determined those five areas as strategic priorities. More detailed descriptions of the areas of action and of the process to identify the fundamental topics are in the sections on Criteria 1 and 2.  

The goals are treated with special prioity because they are related to the topics we have identified as key. They describe our endeavors and show in which direction we want to develop as a company.

Key Areas of Action Key Sustainability Topics Concrete Goals Target Dates Sustainable Development Goals mapping
 Integrity & Responsibility  1. Supplier contracts with environmental & social criteria / Supplier Code of Conduct  The extensive Supplier Code of Conduct recently developed by Werner & Mertz is a fixed component for 100% of all new and existing supplier contracts.It extends way beyond the previously expected voluntary commitment related to environmental protection, social responsibility, quality, etc.  2025  8, 16 
2. Integrity Management with Codes of Conduct Deceptive acts are prevented by strengthening the integrity culture and sharpening requirements. To that end, 98%* of all employees complete relevant training courses.    2020 ­ 2021 (12  months, from July 2020) 8, 16
Products & Customers 3. Sustainability Performance by means of Innovation Processes Sustainability-Oriented Innovations (SOI) result in the development of at least two new sustainable raw materials per year.      Annual 12, 13
4. Use of Domestic Plants Continuous increase in the number of articles launched in the market which contain surfactants made from plants cultivated in Europe. Annual 12, 13
Production & Environment 5. Recyclate Use in Packaging  100% Post Consumer Recyclate (PCR) is used in all packaging By 2025 12, 13, 14
Culture &  Employees 6.  Corporate Culture The target culture at W&M is experienced and practiced by all employees in their daily work.    Ongoing 8
7. Training and Personal Development W&M offers attractive qualification and career opportunities to all employees.  For that purpose, strategic personnel planning is developed and appropriate instruments are rolled outthrough the entire organization. By 2025 4
Engagement & Society 8. Biodiversity & Species Protection Conserve biological diversity in the vicinity of production sites in Mainz  and Hallein by means of close cooperation with an environmental organization   and joint projects.    Protection and annual CO2 compensation through support of reforestation in the peatland rainforest  Mawas Borneo Ongoing 15
9. Industry initiatives (Recyclate) Increase the use of plastic waste from post-consumer collections in high-quality packaging in the European market. W&M engages in political dialog regarding the legal and regulatory framework.  Our goal is to carry out at least  two activities per year that attract the attention of the professional public. Ongoing 12,17

*Given the natural staff turnover, it is not possible to guarantee a training quota of 100% at a specified time.
The responsibilities for monitoring achievement of goals are provided in the section on Criterion 5.

4. Depth of the Value Chain

The company states what significance aspects of sustainability have for added value and how deep in the value chain the sustainability criteria are verified.

Sustainability is firmly embedded in our business activities, which extend throughout  the entire value chain. We work in close cooperation with our suppliers, customers and business partners.  

The different levels of the value chain for the Werner & Mertz  Group are:  

Because the Werner & Mertz Group produces only in Germany and Austria, there are no far-reaching risks along the value chain. The two ecological challenges within our value chain that we consider relevant for sustainability are the recycling of plastic packaging for our products and the production of sustainable surfactants. We will meet both challenges with innovative developments.     

Ecological sustainability aspects of product packaging
Conventional plastic carelessly discarded as waste and bioplastic cause serious environmental problems. The "bio" in bioplastic can have two different meanings: biologically cultivated (bio-based) or biologically degradable. Neither  variant is sustainable, given the many problems, such as monocultures, difficulties with biodegradability and residual microplastic.    

Werner & Mertz has decided in favor of using material recycling. Instead of following the bioplastic trend, we, as an eco pioneer, long ago set our stake on high-quality recycling in a closed material loop. When plastic is always kept in a closed loop and reused over and over, no new plastic has to be produced with petroleum. That minimizes the CO2 footprint of every single plastic product and keeps plastic far away from the environment. Thanks to ultramodern sorting and processing methods, the transparent PET bottles for our Frosch brand have been made for years of 20 percent recycled material obtained from the Yellow Bag. Even the caps for bottles of Frosch cleaners, which are made of 100 percent recycled PP, come from the Yellow Bag. The bottles for emsal floor care, green care Professional cleaners and Frosch shower gels are made completely from recycled HDPE waste from the Yellow Bag.  

The environment benefits in two ways from the loss-free recycling of plastic, which, like glass or paper, is put into a closed material recycling loop. For one thing, recycling prevents the pollution of land and sea and, for another, it conserves natural resources by eliminating the need to produce new plastic from crude oil.     

Ecological sustainability aspects of product ingredients
Surfactants in cleaning products and detergents are wash-active substances that dissolve dirt and grease in water. Many variations are available. Surfactants can be obtained sustainably from renewable plants or produced from crude oil or animal components, including slaughtering waste (mostly for fabric softeners). Even in the sustainable manufacturing of surfactants there is an important difference. Surfactants produced from palm kernel oil destroys biodiversity in the rainforest and the rainforest itself, the green lungs of the Earth. Werner & Mertz is convinced that surfactants based on plants cultivated in Europe contribute to climate protection.     

Therefore, Werner & Mertz will intensify research on surfactants in the future with the goal of using the wash-active substances made from European oil-producing plants, namely, rapeseed, olives, flaxseed and sunflowers. Rapeseed and sunflower oils come from Germany, Poland and France. Linseed oil comes from flax cultivation in France and Belgium and olive oil from Southern Europe – Spain, Italy and Greece. None of the oils used compete with foodstuff production. For the time in which coconut and palm kernel oils are used in our formulas, we support the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the sustainable cultivation of palm trees. We cover 100 percent of the raw materials we use with RSPO Book & Claim Credits.

Surfactants from plants cultivated in Europe have the following benefits:  

The green frog products are certified with the European environmental seal "EU Ecolabel". At this time, the highest eco certification is "Cradle-to-Cradle" GOLD: the effect of all ingredients of a detergent and cleaning product on human life is determined at exactly 0.01 percent. That exceeds the European detergent regulation by a significant margin. The gold status was first given to Werner & Mertz for Frosch brand products in 2013. Since then many of our professional products also have received this certification.   
In order to guarantee the highest social and environmental standards along the entire supply chain, we have a Supplier Code of Conduct, whose contents are described in the section on Criterion 14. Furthermore, our factory is equipped with a digital lot traceability system. Raw materials, semi-finished products and primary packaging are registered digitally, so everything in the entire value chain can be traced. We regularly exchange information with our suppliers and coordinate our use of new technologies, standards and other innovations in order to fulfill the stringent requirements of a sustainable supply chain. One example is the development of new sustainable raw material and packaging like the high-quality, recyclable stand-up refill pouch, which was a joint project with the company Mondi.  

Key Performance Indicators to criteria 1 to 4