10. Innovation and Product Management

The company discloses how innovations in products and services are enhanced through suitable processes which improve sustainability with respect to the company’s utilisation of resources and with regard to users. Likewise, a further statement is made with regard to if and how the current and future impact of the key products and services in the value chain and in the product life cycle are assessed.

Direct &indirect environmental impact of W&M business activities
To monitor and keep significant environmental aspects and their impact under control, we identify, analyze and assess the quantitative and qualitative direct and indirect impact of our business activities. The assessment provides information about the significance of environmental aspects at our sites and serves as the basis for defining environmental goals. In order to adjust to continuously changing conditions, we regularly update the assessment of environmental issues and always follow up with potential measures.     

Direct Environmental Impact
The most important data on the direct environmental impact at the Mainz site for the past four years can be found in the Input and Output Assessment in the  Environmental Statement 2020 (pp. 19­24). Details about the direct environmental impact at the Hallein site are provided in the Criteria 11 and 13 and in the Performance Indicators for Criteria 11, 12 and 13.  

Indirect Environmental Impact
In this assessment, the particularly significant topics for the indirect environmental impact of our services and products are energy consumption in our vehicular fleet, finished goods logistics, employee mobility, employee awareness of energy use and product-related effects. A more detailed list of the indirect environmental impact and measures to reduce it are in the  Environmental Statement for the Mainz site from the year 2020 (pp. 37­39). The following contains data on the indirect environmental impact  for our Hallein site:  

Topics Indirect Environmental Impact Measures
Employee mobility Possible emissions for employees' commutes by means of personally owned automobiles   Jobticket subsidy
Vehicular fleet Diesel fuel consumption of company fleet Regular ecological driver training    
Finished products logistics Emissions related to outsourcing logistics to  shipping companies Conduct an assessment of sustainability in finished products logistics with Fraunhofer Institute with the goal of reducing   GHG emissions
Information for employees and customers Low awareness of sustainability topics on the part of employees and customers Employees: Information on sustainability topics in employee newspaper and in training sessions
Customers: Educational work on sustainability topics with the campaign "Frosch for Clean Oceans" and Recyclate Initiative   
Product-related environmental impact Packaging materials Reduction of product-related environmental impact through use of recycled material

Innovation Leadership Ambitions
In the area of innovation we pursue the goal of becoming the European market and innovation leader in special care products. We want to be always one development generation ahead of the current ecological benchmarks. Werner & Mertz aspires to bring about change where it is conducive to our success – by building on our values and strengths. The company does pioneering work and learns from failures and mistakes.   

What all the products from Werner & Mertz have in common is their origin. All come from the company's own Research & Development area, which consists of several groups including Product Development, Packaging Development and Research & New Technologies. Here employees develop new and innovative products and optimize existing products and processes.

Tests are regularly conducted on the products' properties with regard to contents, manufacturing, packaging and use. The raw materials, formulas and packaging components are analyzed thoroughly to ensure that they can satisfy tough sustainability requirements.    

The goal is to develop the raw material portfolio by taking into account the entire life cycle of a material and sustainable recycling processes.  For that purpose, Werner & Mertz designed its own assessment system. It checks the ecological, ecotoxicological and toxicological criteria and evaluates the components according to their origin (preferably from regenerative resources), their properties in the usage phase (minimization of hazard potential) and their fate after use (degradability).     

Innovation beyond Product Development
Separated from the processes of standard product development, the Research & New Technologies group concentrates on innovative and novel raw material developments and technologies with the goal of mastering today the challenges of tomorrow. One major objective is reducing the use of synthetic raw materials. In sustainable raw material development, researchers work with raw material producers on adapting materials to satisfy stringent sustainability requirements. In the interest of sustainability, the ideas and experience gained in this area are integrated in the development of other company areas. They have largely shaped the sustainability guidelines and help to drive superordinate processes, such as the continuous development of the Environmental Management System in accordance with EMAS criteria.

In Idea Management or the company's suggestion program, every employee can contribute ideas and suggestions about how to optimize and improve work processes, occupational safety, environmental protection or product-related aspects. A committee checks the saving potential of the submitted ideas. We appreciate our employees' contributions and honor the implemented suggestions with 20 percent of the saved amount. All ideas chosen over the course of the year are eligible to participate in  year-end prize drawing.   

Detailed environmental aspects and impacts are covered in Criterion 12.  A brief description of the ecological sustainability aspects of our products is found under Criterion 4.