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The ideal sustainable detergent: the challenges to make it and to sell it

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ARNDT SCHEIDGEN
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
Düsseldorf, Germany

Abstract

What would the ideal sustainable detergent look like? Its most important features are identified along the value chain. Gaps between the status and the ideal state are clustered into technical challenges “to make” and market challenges “to sell”. Regarding the technical challenges, an ideal sustainable detergent should consist of 100 percent renewable resources, contain biological ingredients, need little washing liquor and be 100 percent biodegradable. Regarding the market challenges, it should be compact, suitable for low washing temperatures and perform according to consumer’s needs. For these challenges, the recent development is illustrated by supporting data, an outlook and recommendations are given. Efforts in detergent and raw material development as well as in communication and consumer education should be directed towards the solution of these challenges.


Henkel

 

 

INTRODUCTION
What is needed to make detergents even more sustainable in future, so that we come closer to the goal of the ideal sustainable detergent? If we follow the value chain in this consideration, a sustainable detergent should consist of 100 percent renewable materials, preferably biological materials such as enzymes.
In the market, these products need to be offered at a sales price competitive to other products on the shelf. As economic sustainability is one of the three dimensions of sustainability (environment, society