Der aktuelle Newsletter von 'Biodiversity in Good Company' ist da!
Newsletter 6_2015 Berlin, 3 September 2015
Photo: Werner & Mertz

Dear readers,

"Frosch" is the German translation for "frog", and this appealing (and charismatic, isn't it?) animal became the figurehead of the Frosch brand. The company behind the Frosch products is our member Werner & Mertz which is portrayed in this September issue of our newsletter.

Please enjoy reading how Werner & Mertz takes care of the environment and find some further news below! 

By the way, you may also register for the German version of the newsletter via our website, which covers more news.

Yours sincerely, 
'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative


BIODIVERSITY ... at Werner & Mertz!

Reinhard Schneider, CEO of Werner & Mertz GmbH, Photo: Werner & Mertz

Reinhard Schneider, CEO of Werner & Mertz GmbH, Photo: Werner & Mertz

»Sustainability at Werner & Mertz is not a passing trend but a long-lived company tradition. The promotion of biological diversity is therefore an essential part of our corporate strategy. With our umbrella brand Frosch we have been pursuing environmental protection and resource conservation since 1986 with product design that follows Cradle to Cradle® principles. Among other things, we have demonstrated our commitment to sustainability as a founding member of 'Biodiversity in Good Company'

Frosch Initiative

In keeping with our integral approach to sustainability, Werner & Mertz launched the Frosch Initiative in 2012. Named for our successful Frosch brand, the initiative paves the way for forward-thinking and sustainable solutions and gives the industry new ideas for environmental and resource protection.
Photo: Werner & Mertz

Photo: Werner & Mertz

The Frosch Initiative focuses on the following four activities: Recyclate Initiative, use of European plant-based surfactants, EMAS implementation and intensified communication on the subject of biodiversity.

Recyclate Initiative

The objective is to put PET packaging into a closed-loop cycle and to re-use PET waste from the Yellow Bag collection system as a valuable secondary raw material.  By contributing to the conservation of resources (crude oil) and climate protection, the Recyclate Initiative indirectly supports the preservation of biological diversity.   

Today the transparent bottles of Frosch products contain up to 100% PET recyclates. By the end of 2015, all transparent PET bottles will be made of 100% rPET, 80% of which comes from deposit bottle collection and 20% from the Yellow Bag. Consumers have reacted positively, according to results from extensive testing conducted by Werner & Mertz in the food retail sector since 2014.

Surfactants based on European plant oils

The second key activity of the Frosch Initiative – surfactants based on European plant oils – has a direct impact on biodiversity. Surfactants are wash-active substances used to make laundry detergents and household cleaners effective. During the wash cycle for clothes or dishes, surfactants act to suspend grease and other non-water-soluble substances in the water so that they can be rinsed away.

Companies that want to forego use of petrochemical surfactants, as Werner & Mertz does in its Frosch and green-care products, currently cannot avoid reliance on palm kernel or coconut oil. As a member of RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil), we are very much aware of the controversy surrounding the use of tropical vegetable oils. Our product development is therefore working on the feasibility of using surfactants based on native plants in our products.

The composition of native (European) vegetable oils differs greatly from that of palm kernel and coconut oils. As a foodstuff, European oil is a good substitute for tropical oils. In cleaning products, however, surfactants based on native plants pose many challenges because their chemical properties are different and the oils require other production processes. Finally, the finished products have to retain the positive characteristics familiar to the end user.

Fig.: Werner & Mertz

Since 2013 Werner & Mertz has converted 20 formulas for Frosch cleaning and care products, which now contain between 10% and 100% surfactants made from European vegetable oils. In 2014, we used 220 tons of surfactants made from European plants.

Native cultivation preferred

Besides surfactants, other ingredients from plant sources are found in the products from Werner & Mertz. Here too we prefer plant-based active substances from domestic production and from European partners. Many advantages come with the use of surfactants made from plants cultivated in Europe, including:
  • Precluding the use of cultivated areas in the tropics for this purpose and reducing the associated risks, such as destruction of the rainforest and competition with food production.
  • No monocultures, but rather preservation and promotion of species diversity
  • Short transportation routes
  • Use of rapidly growing renewable materials based European vegetable oils
  • Promotion of traditional crop cultivation
Olive Tree, Photo: Werner & Mertz

Olive Tree, Photo: Werner & Mertz

Werner & Mertz relies on the oils from native European crops such as rapeseed, linseed and olives. We make sure that only industrial-grade (e.g., from a third pressing) or industrially utilizable oils are used in order to avoid any competition with food products.

Biodiversity integrated in Environmental Management System

Werner & Mertz integrates the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity in its Environmental Management System. At the direction of top management, Werner & Mertz developed its Environmental Management System from the year 2007 into a Sustainability Management System for the company's sites in Mainz and Hallein. The protection and sustainable use of biological diversity, which are included as Key Performance Indicators in EMAS regulations and described in the Progress Report 2013/2014, have been integrated in the Environmental Management system. The focus was expanded deliberately to give social responsibility and financial foresight a place next to ecological objectives. Now when the company faces investment decisions, for example, Sustainability Management is consulted.    

All the responsible corporate areas such as Marketing, Product Development and Corporate Communication are represented at the Sustainability Team's quarterly meetings. Broad participation ensures a continuous flow of information within the company and to the outside. Concrete nature protection projects on biodiversity are likewise communicated by team members. 
Photo: Werner & Mertz

Photo: Werner & Mertz

Biodiversity on company grounds

In cooperation with NABU we have looked for ways to do even more for species protection on our company premises in Mainz. For the sake of biological diversity, insect hotels will be installed and the grass will be mown just once a year.
We obtained valuable recommendations for these activities right at our front door to the factory gates from the Information Module 2 (English version will be available soon) of the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative. We pride ourselves on being an international company whose sustainability initiatives extend beyond our industry. And yet the information module opened our eyes to the good that we can do so close to home.

Promotion of biological diversity in the Greater Mainz area and Mainz-Bingen region

Further measures to promote biological diversity in the Mainz area and Mainz-Bingen region are on the joint program of NABU and Werner & Mertz as of January 2015. The key topic of the new cooperation is biodiversity with the objective of making measures visible to the public within the five-year contract period.

The current project planning status involves the purchase of a large piece of property which was previously used as a military compound. We have chosen it as an ideal place for the preservation and protection of biodiversity.

Furthermore, we continue our proven cooperation with NABU on other projects, including Frosch protects frogs, Lowland Forest on the Harter Aue and Bog Conservation at the Mürmes. Details about the projects are contained in the most recently published Progress Report 2013/2014 by Werner & Mertz on the Leadership Declaration of the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative.

Further information

Here you can find further information on Werner & Mertz within the company network 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative.

Please contact Dr.- Ing. Detlef Matz, Head of Sustainability Management at Werner & Mertz, should you have any further inquiries.


News from our Network and Member Companies

Photo: Volkswagen

Photo: Volkswagen

NABU and Volkswagen Financial Services’ International Peatland Protection Fund off to a good start

The international peatland conservation initiative from the Wildlife Protection Society of Germany (NABU) and Volkswagen Financial Services starts with the restoration of peatland areas in Poland.

Further reading

New Sustainability Report of HeidelbergCement Group

You are interested in learning more about how HeidelbergCement manages the challenges of biodiversity? Then have a look at the company's latest Sustainability Report 2013/14 which was released in July. The report was prepared in accordance with the G4 guidelines of the Global Reporting Intiative (GRI) and devotes one of its chapters to "land use and biodiversity". HeidelbergCement is one of the world’s largest building materials companies.

Further reading
Logo of the Award

Quarry Life Award 2016: HeidelbergCement launches 3rd edition of the international research competition

For the third time HeidelbergCement initiates the Quarry Life Award, an international scientific and educational competition to find new ideas for the conservation and promotion of biodiversity in quarries. These unique habitats will be opened again for research.

Further reading

Further News

Report: Businesses give feedback on Natural Capital Protocol

The Natural Capital Coalition has published the "Feedback report from Business Engagement Partner Interviews”. More than 80 businesses from 15 sectors were asked about their views and expectations regarding the Natural Capital Protocol which is currently being developed. 

Further reading

INVITATION 2015 CBD Business Forum on 11/12 November 2015 in Helsinki

Corporate responsibility and biodiversity specialists from around the world convene in Helsinki, Finland, to exchange knowledge on companies´ latest practices on business and biodiversity. This two-day event gathers around 250 participants globally.

Further reading

Imprint and Disclaimer

'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative e. V.
Pariser Platz 6
10117 Berlin, Germany
Tel +49.(0)30-226050-10/-11
Fax +49.(0)30-226050-19

Registry Court: Amtsgericht Charlottenburg, Vereinsregister-Nr. VR 31061 B
Board according to German law § 26 BGB 

Managing Director (according to German law § 30 BGB):
Dr. Katrin Reuter
Tel. +49.(0)30-226050 -11, Fax -19

Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter has been carefully researched and diligently compiled. Nevertheless, 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative does not accept any liability or give any guarantee for the validity, accuracy and completeness of the information provided. This publication may contain links to third-party web sites. The linked sites are not under the control of the 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative and 'Biodiversity in Good Company' Initiative is not responsible for the contents of any linked site or any link contained in a linked site. 

Aleph – Alois Omlor GmbH – AUDI – BahnLog – BIONADE – Coca-Cola Deutschland – einhorn products – followfood – ForestFinance – Gertrudenhof – GIZ – Hebenstreit & Kentrup – HeidelbergCement – HiPP – Knauf – Milupa – Neumarkter Lammsbräu – oekom verlag – Pharmos Natur – Reckhaus – REWE Group – Ritter Sport – Schmeer Sand+Kies – Staedtler – Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings – Symrise – Tchibo – travel-to-nature – UPM – Volkswagen – Werner & Mertz