Sustainability at Kneipp: Moving forward together, step by step

Sustainability Cosmetics
Sustainability Cosmetics

Products, packaging, commitment

Sustainable work at Kneipp

The connection to nature is part of our DNA. Sounds like a marketing slogan, doesn't it? In fact, this core idea has been rooted in our company since the beginnings of the Kneipp® brand. Even our founder Sebastian Kneipp said, "Everything we need to stay healthy has been abundantly given to us by nature."

At the same time, we know how important the themes of balance, order of life and equilibrium were to Sebastian Kneipp. Accordingly, our claim as a company with the Kneipp name must also be a balance of taking and giving.

Two women of different ethnic backgrounds embrace each other. The image is a symbol of the statement "Diversity is our nature!"

We don't just say that, we also commit to external institutions to place key values around sustainability at the heart of our work. For example, we are a signatory to the Diversity Charter and have made it our mission to actively promote diversity in our working environment.

We are also proud to participate in the United Nations Global Compact, the world's largest initiative for sustainable and responsible corporate governance.

The picture shows the official We support UN Global Compact logo

The UN Global Compact

Do you know the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? These global goals provide a compass for the challenges of the 21st century to promote peace and prosperity and protect our planet. We want to live up to our responsibility and make our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals. That is why we have joined the United Nations Global Compact.

By supporting this global initiative, we are underpinning our commitment to respecting human rights and labor standards, to preventing corruption, and to our commitment to the environment and climate.

For more information about the Kneipp Sustainability Goals and already implemented measures, you can jump directly here:

Kneipp distinguished as a sustainable brand, as a Green Brand
Once again, Kneipp has been recognized as a Green Brand.

Our claim: to be good, to become better

Sustainability is one of those things: it's on the to-do list every day and yet it's never finished. Because there is always room for improvement. We have been working on becoming more sustainable every day for many years: Whether raw materials, production, packaging or logistics – there are numerous topics that we have already implemented and others that we still need to tackle.

In recognition of our decades-long commitment to sustainability, we have once again been named a "Green Brand". The international organization GREEN BRANDS honors brands that produce in an environmentally friendly manner, that are committed to preserving natural resources, and that are highly committed to the preservation and balance of nature and sustainability.

For us, the Green Brand seal is both an award and a mission. Because standing still is not an option when it comes to sustainability.

Our years of commitment to sustainability are yielding measurable results: Ecovadis, the world's largest provider of sustainability ratings, has awarded Kneipp a Platinum rating. For more than twelve years now, we have been working on concrete measures for more sustainability in a cross-departmental task force. Thanks to the many small and large steps taken in recent years, Ecovadis ranks Kneipp in the top one percent of all rated companies.

The rating takes into account 21 indicators in the fields of action environment, labor and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement. Kneipp's performance is rated as advanced in all areas - the areas of environment and ethics stand out particularly positively: Here we achieve 80 out of a possible 100 points in each case.

Image without a name
Kneipp wurde als eine von wenigen Marken bereits zum fünften Mal als Green Brand ausgezeichnet. Der vierte Stern steht für die vierte erfolgreiche Re-Validierung.

In addition, we have been recognized as a "Green Brand" for the umpteenth time. The international organization GREEN BRANDS awards the seal to brands that produce in an environmentally friendly manner, are committed to preserving natural resources, and are highly committed to the conservation and balance of nature and sustainability.

Awards such as the Ecovadis Platinum Medal or the Green Brand Seal are both confirmation and a mandate for us.

Because: standing still is not an option when it comes to sustainability.

Arnica is a plant that plays a special role in Kneipp.

We select the ingredients of our products extremely carefully and purposefully. Wherever we can justify the use of natural ingredients with regard to the criteria of resource conservation, optimal compatibility and proven efficacy, we use them. For example, we generally avoid preservatives and use only plant-based emulsifiers. We use natural, vegetable oils or those whose origin is vegetable fatty acids.

We use a wide variety of natural essential oils in our products. Essential oils carry the scent of a plant and accordingly play a very special role in our product development. In individual cases, we also use perfume oils with nature-identical fragrances – for example, when the use of the natural product would not be justifiable for ecological reasons such as species protection.

Sustainability: Cosmetics with vegetable oils

We use vegetable oils in our products. They contain lipids which, due to their similarity to the skin's own lipids, can be optimally utilized by our skin barrier. In this way, the skin's own regeneration process is positively influenced - according to the motto: Help the skin to help itself.

Thus vegetable oils have a clear advantage over paraffin, silicone and mineral oils. These petroleum based oils do not integrate into the skin barrier but superficially coat the skin and thus make it look smoother. However, the effect is not long-lasting and the skin has to be frequently reapplied. For us, this is reason enough to give preference to sustainably caring vegetable oils: We do not use paraffin, silicone or mineral oils.

Woman grabs her shoulder

We promise quality. Accordingly, the topic of quality assurance has a high priority for us - and this also includes the tolerability of our products. Before each product launch, we conduct various studies under dermatological control. To this end, we work together with independent, experienced scientists from universities, skin clinics and research institutes.

The combination of different measurement methods and study designs is of central importance to us and goes far beyond what is required by law. As a standard for all products we use the epicutaneous test and the application observation:

The epicutaneous test, also called patch test, is a provocation test for testing allergic or irritative reactions. Our products are applied in a defined quantity (bath and shower products are diluted accordingly) to a test patch and applied to the upper back of the volunteer test subjects for 2 days. After 48, 72 and 96 hours the test reaction is read off.

In a use observation, volunteer test subjects use a product under routine conditions for a certain period of time (at least 4 weeks) (real-life setting; home-in-use test). After completion of the test period, they fill out a questionnaire. In addition, a dermatologist prepares the expert opinion on the tolerability of the products. In addition to the subjective assessment of the test persons (e.g. skin feeling, side effects, evaluation of the product etc.), the expert opinion also contains an objective assessment of the dermatologist (e.g. exclusion of irritative and/or allergic reactions).

We complement these two methods for specific questions:

  • Eye care products: Tolerance tests in cooperation with an ophthalmologist.
  • Children's care products: Tolerance tests in cooperation with a paediatrician
  • Shower and bath products: additional moisture studies to prove that our products do not dry out the skin and cleanse it gently
  • Body care products for diabetics: acceptance tests in cooperation with a podiatry practice
  • Body care products for pregnant women: acceptance tests in cooperation with a midwife's practice
  • Products for very special skin types, such as sensitive skin, skin prone to allergies, very dry to atopic skin: special dermatological compatibility tests
local commitment to sustainability: our meadow orchard

We are against animal testing. They contradict our philosophy and are fortunately banned for cosmetic products in the EU anyway.

In addition, we are committed to animals and biodiversity in general. This includes various projects on which we are working together with experienced partners. A small example right on our doorstep is our meadow orchard with bee hotel. But not only insects have their home here; until the onset of winter, animals from a nearby sanctuary also found shelter on the Kneipp grounds. A little further away, in Tanzania, we were also able to complete a four-year WWF project to protect the coastal rainforest there with its flora and fauna.

Since 2010, we have switched to electricity from hydropower. Since 2012, we have been using a presence-dependent lighting control system: if no one is at work, the lights go out automatically. And thanks to a packaging project, our 100 ml glass bottles now weigh 9 g less. With around 6 million bottles, this corresponds to a CO₂ saving of around 35 tonnes per year.

The Creator did not give us all the wonderful plants and the mind for nothing.

Black and white photograph of Sebastian Kneipp
Sebastian Kneipp

Best of Science – Best of Nature

Our products bear the icon "Nature's Expert since 1891". It summarizes two important core points of our corporate philosophy: the effectiveness of our products and the closeness to nature. Within the framework of Kneipp® Nature's Expert, nature and science thus form a unity – entirely in the tradition of Sebastian Kneipp.

A woman pours vegetable oil over bath salts in the lab

In the development of Kneipp products, we therefore prefer to use herbal active ingredients – but not at any price. Optimal compatibility, proven efficacy and resource conservation are also a focus at Kneipp. Sometimes this is a reason to use other effective, compatible and dermatologically sensible substances: for example urea to moisturize or panthenol to soothe the skin.

Accordingly, only some of our products are certified natural cosmetics. Irrespective of this, however, we set ourselves strict quality, safety and sustainability guidelines for our entire product portfolio that go beyond the current legal requirements. The experts from Kneipp Research and Development are responsible for combining nature and science in such a way that the end result is a sustainable product that is as close to nature as possible, with the best efficacy, tolerability and quality.