Palm Oil and Henkel


Henkel is a small and indirect user of palm oil. We use less than 0.2 percent of the palm oil and palm kernel oil produced worldwide. We mostly use palm kernel oil: Two-thirds of our annual demand is palm kernel oil (the majority is used for surfactants), only one third is palm oil.


Sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil


It is Henkel's goal that 100 percent of the palm and palm kernel oil used in our products should come from sustainable cultivation in accordance with the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) mass balance model by the end of 2020. As of the end of 2019, more than 81% of our global requirements have already been certified in accordance with the RSPO mass balance model. The "Mass Balance" supply chain model is recommended for manufacturers like Henkel who purchase ingredients, such as surfactants, which are derived from palm kernel oil, therefore called “derivatives”.


The process of deriving palm kernel oil is complex. The kernel oil accounts for only about one tenth of the yield of oil palms. There are numerous processing steps necessary to yield quantities large enough to ship, including mixing the oil extraction from the palm seed oil from several plantations during the crushing process. The derivatives and fractions are eventually gathered in one location and transported from the respective country to the ultimate destination, such as Europe or the US. 


Beyond the target for 2020 mentioned above, Henkel supports cooperation projects with small farmers working in the palm business. Forty percent of the global oil palm volume is produced by small farmers. Targeted training courses enable them to apply the criteria of the RSPO to produce more sustainable oil, increase their productivity and improve their livelihoods. Henkel has committed to increase the availability of sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil on the market by the quantity that corresponds to Henkel's annual requirements.


By September 2016, we had already established partnerships whose supply of sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil was enough to cover all our needs for that year. In 2017, we launched the seventh smallholder farmers' project to which Henkel is committed, together with the international development organization Solidaridad, to promote sustainable palm oil. The annual yield of sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil generated by the initiatives in Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and Nigeria exceeds the amount that Henkel needs each year.


There is no reason to dispense with surfactants, in the interest of sustainable raw material management and the protection of natural resources, when this output is based on renewable raw materials such as sustainable palm kernel oil. The alternatives are not ecologically more advantageous. Palm oil has the highest-yield and requires 5-8 times less land area than competing oil crops.


Further, more detailed information about Henkel's commitment to sustainable palm oil and palm kernel oil industry can be found here: