Company FAQ

General Questions

What is Beiersdorf AG?

Beiersdorf AG is a global skin care company based in Hamburg, Germany. Beiersdorf has been listed on the DAX since December 2008 and with NIVEA owns one of the world’s largest skin care brands. Beiersdorf has more than 130 years of skin care experience and is known for its innovative and high-quality products.

Which brands belong to Beiersdorf?

Beiersdorf's globally most famous brand is NIVEA. When NIVEA Creme was launched in 1911 it revolutionized skin care as the first stable oil-and-water-based cream in the world. Even today – over 100 years later – NIVEA still stands for values like security, closeness, trust, reliability and care for all types of skin. In more than 45 countries NIVEA is the market leader in the skin care segment. Other names in its successful international brand portfolio include Eucerin, La Prairie, Labello, 8x4, and Hansaplast. Subsidiary tesa SE is an independent subgroup within Beiersdorf and one of the world’s leading producers of self-adhesive products and system solutions for industry, craft businesses, and consumers.

How many people work at Beiersdorf?

At the end of 2014 Beiersdorf had over 17,000 employees.

How much turnover does Beiersdorf Group generate?

In 2015, the total sales of Beiersdorf AG amounted to 6.686 billion euros. More figures can be found in our Annual Report.

Is Beiersdorf globally present?

With over 150 affiliates and 17,000 employees – Including nearly 1,000 in the field of Research & Development – Beiersdorf is globally present. Production facilities throughout the world and regional research laboratories like in Mexico, China and Germany ensure the development of effective skin care products tailored to the different local consumer wishes and skin needs. Find out about Beiersdorf's global locations here.

What is Beiersdorf’s attitude regarding sustainability?

When it comes to care we have always taken a holistic approach – caring for skin, as well as for people and the environment around them. For us sustainability is one of the drivers that we exploit in order to realize our goals, both social and business. In 2012 we focused on the company-wide implementation of our “We care” strategy. Learn more about Beiersdorf's sustainability strategy here.

Current Topics

What is Beiersdorf’s reaction to the discussion about plastic particles in personal care products?

Plastic particles that are smaller than 5mm and bigger than 50 µm are identified as microplastics and – especially with respect to their presence in the world’s oceans – are seen as problematic. The majority of microplastics doesn’t stem just from cosmetics and skin care products, but mostly from a variety of sources: most often they come from the decomposition of larger plastic items, which were not properly disposed of. As a result of UV-rays and erosion the plastic breaks down into many small pieces, which ultimately become miniscule. Fibers from synthetic clothing that dissolve when washed or smaller plastic particles from everyday consumer products are also sources of microplastics. The contribution of cosmetic products is relatively small compared to these other sources.

But in the context of the current discussion about plastics in the world’s oceans, Beiersdorf recognized the need to take action. As part of our company strategy we pay close attention to both the quality as well as the long-term ecological impact of our products. We continuously analyze new findings in these areas and discuss them, evaluate them and develop new measures based on them.

For this reason Beiersdorf has decided in a preventative measure to no longer use polyethylene particles in the future in its care products and has worked on new solutions. Dependent on the size and color of the PE beads, we mainly replaced them with microcellulose particles, a mixture of microcellulose particles and silica particles, or hardened castor oil. Cellulose is a biodegradable organic material, as it is also found in plant fibers. Silica is similar to the chemical composition of quartz sand. Hardened castor oil is a natural, biodegradable raw material, which has a hard, wax-like consistency. The alternative particles are just as soft, gentle, and skin-friendly as their predecessors. We have made a significant step in the direction of more environmentally friendly products, while keeping an eye on the high quality our consumers expect.

Here you can learn more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf.

Does Beiersdorf use aluminum in its products?

Aluminum is the third most common element and the most common metal in the Earth’s crust. The aluminum salt aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) is a compound that is extracted from raw aluminum and is used as an active ingredient in antiperspirants. Aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) blocks sweat flow in the underarm areas by constricting the upper part of sweat glands. Beiersdorf uses aluminum salts in all antiperspirants that actively reduce sweat production.

How is aluminum absorbed and is it harmful?

Aluminum compounds are natural parts of our daily nutrition. They are in water for example, but also in fruit, vegetables, grains and meat. That means they enter our bodies mostly through oral consumption. The amount of aluminum, which enters the body via cosmetics or care products, is much lower. Aluminum chlorohydrate from antiperspirants becomes an insoluble solid (aluminum hydroxide) when brought into contact with sweat, which cannot physically penetrate the skin. Injuries and damaged skin can however aid the absorption of tiny amounts of aluminum into the body when using antiperspirants. Most of the aluminum that people consume is eliminated by healthy functioning kidneys.

The European Food Safety Authority has derived a tolerable oral consumption quantity of 1 mg aluminum per kilogram of body weight per week. The World Health Organization (WHO) speaks of a tolerable consumption quantity of 2 mg aluminum per kilogram of body weight per week. These quantities can be consumed for an entire lifetime without health risks.

Based on preliminary scientific studies as well as the chemical properties of the aluminum salt aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) we assume that the absorption of aluminum through antiperspirants is very minor and absolutely safe. According to an existing study on people, the amount is approximately 0.01% of the aluminum used – and that is only the case for very sensitive skin. In order to be able to make a more precise assessment of how much aluminum is absorbed by the skin through antiperspirants a comprehensive study is currently being conducted at the European level.

What alternatives are there to antiperspirants with aluminum?

In general, consumers have a choice between deodorants and antiperspirants. For antiperspirants there are no alternatives to aluminum salts: there is currently no other active ingredient that is so reliably effective against the production of sweat. Deodorants function without aluminum salts as an active ingredient and use fragrances to cover undesired body odor. They can also contain the growth of odor-causing bacteria, but they do not have an antiperspirant effect.

Since deodorants and antiperspirants are two different products, Beiersdorf has always offered both. Thus, consumers can decide for themselves which effect they would prefer. Beiersdorf indicates if a product contains aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH). By looking at the product ingredients on the packaging, the so-called International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), the consumer can verify this. Additional notes on products indicating that do not contain aluminum salts makes it easy for consumers to find the right product.

What are parabens and why does Beiersdorf use them?

Parabens are preservatives that are used in many water-containing cosmetic products in order to prevent the spread of bacteria and mold during use. For about 80 years, parabens have been widely used throughout the cosmetic industry because of their proven effectiveness and their scientifically demonstrated tolerability among users. They are the most researched preservatives. Thus, parabens are used in in approximately 30% NIVEA products as well.

However, negative publicity has led to consumer concerns regarding this ingredient. It is sometimes claimed that parabens accumulate in the body, disturbing hormone systems and perhaps promoting diseases. This stands in contradiction to the research findings of many independent scientific studies that have been conducted over the course of the last several decades. Both the European Commission and the independent U.S. evaluative commission, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) are in agreement about the safety of parabens. Beiersdorf’s own recognized expertise and research in the area of skin care is also consistent with this opinion. Of course, the use of parabens as ingredients is legally permitted.

At Beiersdorf the tolerability of our products for our consumers is a guiding principle for all actions taken by our company. Our products exclusively contain ingredients that comply with legal regulations and guarantee safety. We want consumers to have complete peace-of-mind when using our products. If we are unsure about an ingredient, we do not use it. Our world-class Research & Development is always searching for new, safe and tolerable preservation solutions and tries to minimize the use of preservatives in general. For example there are no butyl parabens in our NIVEA products. Baby products do not contain parabens at all. For consumers who prefer paraben-free products, NIVEA also offers products without these preservatives (around 70% of our products are paraben-free).

Does Beiersdorf use nanopigments in its sun care products?

Nanopigments like titanium dioxide are minerals that occur in nature that are smaller than 100 nanometers – i.e. a million times smaller than a grain of sand. After they have been technologically enhanced, these naturally occurring substances have unique properties that can also be used for cosmetics.
Beiersdorf uses the nanopigments titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as highly effective UV filters in a series of sun protection products because they can reflect the harmful UV radiation of sunlight. This is how nanopigments make a vital contribution to providing protection from sunburns, skin cancer and early aging. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are among the ingredients that have been in use since the 1980s and have been particularly well studied. Today, the UV-Filters are officially approved in almost all countries and regions of the world.

The safety of both UV-Filters has been repeatedly analyzed and assessed by independent scientists and health authorities as well as the scientific advisory panel of the EU Commission (SCCS). Extensive scientific data exists which confirms that their use in cosmetics is absolutely harmless. Most recently, it was determined in 2007 that titanium dioxide should be evaluated once again – to consider the latest findings on the safety of nano-materials. A new statement from the SCCS was published on April 22, 2014 in which the scientists confirmed the safety of nano-sized titanium dioxide.
Numerous studies likewise confirm that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide cannot enter the human body through the skin, even through diseased or damaged parts of the skin.

It has also often been asked whether nanopigments are an environmental hazard. Recent studies from 2007 and 2008 show that the nanopigments titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are demonstrably non-toxic and consequently do not pose any environmental hazard.

Beiersdorf places great importance in the tolerability and safety of its products. For this reason company experts also conduct their own extensive safety evaluations for all products and their applications.

Does Beiersdorf use palm oil or palm kernel oil?

As a manufacturer in the cosmetics industry Beiersdorf does not directly procure palm or palm kernel oil for the production of cosmetics and also does not produce any materials processed from this oil. However, Beiersdorf uses – as is essential in the production of cosmetic products – ingredients like emulsifiers and tensides (fatty alcohols, fatty acids and glycerides). These ingredients are usually produced with mineral and plant oils; some are, for example, coconut oil, canola oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil. Beiersdorf also procures bar soap in which one ingredient is used which contains processed palm kernel oil.

For many years, Beiersdorf has been working in close collaboration with its suppliers to create more transparency in the supply chain – in order to make the path of the raw material traceable all the way from the mill to its derivatives and to support the building and expansion of sustainable palm and palm kernel oil industry. All our operations have to comply with our Code of Conduct for suppliers which defines the social and environmental standards to be met.

We want to support the building and expansion of sustainable palm and palm kernel oil industry, which does not contribute to any rainforest deforestration of ecologically important primary or secondary forests, including “High Carbon Stock” (HSC) forests, High Conservation Value areas (HCV) or peat land.  If they are grown sustainably, palms can be ecologically efficient oil plants, which require a minimum of plantation land for a maximum output – compared to other plants.

Beiersdorf has made considerable progress towards changing to sustainable palm kernel oil only using ingredients from proven sustainable sources (Certified Sustainable Palm Kernel Oil). By 2020, Beiersdorf intends to switch the respective ingredients to segregated or at least mass balanced palm (kernel) oil and corresponding derivatives. Until the changeover is complete, Beiersdorf will purchase certificates on the GreenPalm trading platform. In 2014, 100 percent of the palm oil and palm kernel oil contained in the raw materials of our products was covered by certificates. Since then we continue the transition to the mass balance system and procure more and more individual raw materials / derivatives on a mass balance basis.

In addition to participating in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the company is active in the newly formed Forum für nachhaltiges Palmöl (the German Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil) and is also an advocate for the further development of the existing certification criteria, the most important points of which are:

  • A ban of plantations on peatlands or other carbon-rich land 
  • A ban on the use of severely hazardous pesticides (Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, WHO 1a and 1b as well as paraquat) 
  • The application of strict reduction targets for greenhouse gases 
  • A guarantee that, when certified palm oil mills purchase non-certified raw goods (fresh fruit bunches), these are obtained exclusively from legal cultivation

Information about current measures on the path to sustainable palm oil can be found here:

RSPO – ACOP Progress Report

FONAP

WWF Palm Oil Buyers’ Scorecard 2013


The different ways of certified palm or palm kernel oil from the plantation to the product:

Book and Claim refers to online trade with certificates. For one ton of palm or palm kernel oil, a virtual certificate is purchased. Only in the following three models is certified oil also physically present in the end product, though only in the cases of “segregated” and “identity preserved” does a strict separation of the certified goods occur. This makes it possible to ensure that additional requirements can be observed on site. In book and claim certificate trade just as in mass-balanced palm oil, no physical traceability is possible.

Mass-Balanced means the controlled mixing of certified and conventional palm and palm kernel oil.

Segregated means the complete separation of certified from conventional oil. Only products from certified plantations are mixed together in an oil mill.

Identity Preserved means the strict physical separation of certified palm or palm kernel oil from different plantations. The products are not mixed in the oil mill but can be traced back to the plantation.

Here you can learn more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf.

Does Beiersdorf conduct animal testing?

Animal testing has been completely banned for all cosmetic products in the EU since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products, since 2013. Beiersdorf, of course, is in compliance with this law and has long done without animal testing whenever it was possible. We are convinced that animal testing is not required to prove the safety and effectiveness of our products.

We are working together with external partners such as in the European cosmetics association, Cosmetics Europe, and the EPAA (European Partnerships for Alternatives to Animal Testing), a partnership of seven industry sectors with the European Commission, toward the development and recognition of alternative testing methods that will replace animal testing.

Read here more about the selection and the handling of raw materials at Beiersdorf and our engagement for alternative testing methods that do not entail the use of animals.