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.