The shift towards eco-friendly chemicals is no longer a one-off choice. Many hospitality brands, for example, have a mandate to use sustainable solutions across their properties. Government rules for chemical procurement are also encouraging the growth of chemicals that do not damage the environment.
Werner & Mertz Professional has centered its company philosophy around sustainability. From choosing raw materials to recycling packaging waste, Abhishek Agrawal, Partner at Abhi International, Official Indian Representatives of Werner & Mertz Professional in India, shares the wide canvas of the company’s sustainability initiatives:
When it comes to choosing raw materials, what criteria do you follow to ensure sustainable sourcing?
For Werner & Mertz, sustainability is not a fad, a trend or a side goal, it is foundational to our company’s tradition. Both our product ingredients (raw materials and formulations) as well as our packaging are subject to a detailed analysis of their origin, properties in the usage phase (minimization of hazard potential) and degradability.
In our green B2B detergents, we increasingly use surfactants derived from plants of European origin (rapeseed oil, linseed oil, olive oil), replacing or supplementing wash-active substances based on palm kernel and coconut oil. In this way, we aim to assure variety in crop rotation and promote biological diversity.
Our eco-friendly B2B detergents contain many other plant-based ingredients besides surfactants. In this regard, we prefer to use vegetable substances from native products purchased from European partners. This has numerous advantages, such as safeguarding the rainforest, preserving and promoting biodiversity, avoiding monocultures, utilizing short transportation routes and much more.
What makes your products human-friendly?
We have ensured our formulations meet the stringent Cradle to Cradle® Certified Platinum level. All ingredients in the formulations have been classified to be safe for humans and biological cycles.
We do not use banned materials, such as CMR (carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction); hence, our cleaning agents are safe to be used in environments with children and pregnant women. We ensure that no dangerous materials are released during and after a potential incineration.
What are the initiatives undertaken to minimise the burden on the water table?
We own a chemical-physical fresh and waste-water treatment facility which leads to improved water quality. We generate a constant high quality of recirculated water due to active water management; water leaves the site as clean as it was when taken before usage. As a side product, valuable filter sludge is re-used as raw material in brick making
How much and where do you depend upon renewable sources of energy?
We use 100% renewable electricity for all on-site business processes, including manufacturing for third party suppliers. We have a low need for fossil heating energy and our CO2 emissions are compensated by active environmental projects, resulting in a 100% carbon offset.
Packaging waste is a mounting problem that poses many challenges. How are you working towards sustainable packaging?
Nowadays, millions of tons of plastic waste are collected and destined for recycling (in Germany, it is collected in yellow bags), but even so, the majority of it is incinerated. The reuse of PET recyclates could save thousands of liters of oil and require much less energy to produce new plastic.
Werner & Mertz has developed a pioneering concept. Its Recyclate Initiative aims — with the help of a new sorting technology (high-speed laser spectroscopy) – to recover recyclate of high quality from the yellow bag. With the use of this new sorting technology, we have been able to produce PET bottles made of upto 100% recycled PET waste. In addition, all 1 litres bottles of our sustainable green care Professional brand are made from 100% old plastic – completely from the yellow sack.