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 – more than 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 2018 Beiersdorf had over 20,000 employees around the world.

How much turnover does Beiersdorf Group generate?

In 2018, the total sales of Beiersdorf AG amounted to 7,233 million euros. More figures can be found in our Annual Report.

Is Beiersdorf globally present?

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.

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 microplastics in skin care products?

The pollution of bodies of water with plastic is a central challenge of our time. Again and again microplastics in cosmetics and skin care are also discussed in connection with the pollution of the oceans with plastics. Beiersdorf has long since been committed to treating this subject with high levels of awareness and engagement. We are actively working on replacing microplastics in our product and set ourselves ambitious goals by 2020.

The public discussion around the topic of microplastics however, is very controversial and also often complex because even today there is still no internationally binding definition for the term “microplastics”. We understand microplastics as solid, water-insoluble plastic particles that are 5 millimeters or smaller and not biodegradable. For this we rely on the substantiated definition of the UNEP, the United Nations Environment Program, and thus adhere to the broadly shared scientific opinion.

It is problematic if small plastic particles end up in rivers and oceans because they do not biodegrade and thus burden the marine environment. However, according to current research, the microplastics in the ocean come from a diverse range of sources: most frequently the small plastic particles come from larger plastic pieces that are not properly disposed of and, for example, weather and break down through solar radiation over time. These microplastics from larger pieces of plastic are also called “secondary microplastics”.

Other relevant sources of microplastics are particles that result from tire abrasion, paint or artificial grass as well as fibers from synthetic clothing that come loose in the wash. Smaller plastic particles from industry like pellets and some materials contained in household cleaning products and cosmetics can also be considered microplastics. If the plastic particles are intentionally used in products or released during usage, they are called “primary microplastics”.

With respect to microplastics we saw a need early on to take action and implemented measures across the company to exclude microplastic-based raw materials from the formulas of our skin care products. As a first step, in 2013 we decided to completely eliminate peeling particles made of polyethylene – the so-called microbeads – and to use environmentally-friendly alternatives instead. Since the end of 2015 all of the respective formulas have been correspondingly changed and the microbeads have been replaced with microcrystalline cellulose particles and mixtures of microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide particles and castor wax. The biodegradable replacement particles have the same peeling effect and are just as gentle and skin-friendly as their predecessors.

After this first step was successfully achieved, we proactively set two additional ambitious objectives for 2020:

  • We also want to completely eliminate other small solid synthetic polymers which we consider to be microplastics from our rinse-off product formulas. These have occasionally been used as opacifiers and will be replaced with readily biodegradable alternatives by 2020 at the latest. Opacifiers are responsible for the characteristic creamy texture and color of some product formulas. Through changes to the affected formulas all Beiersdorf rinse-off products will be free of microplastics.
  • We will also preemptively refrain from using nylon as an ingredient in our products. We currently still use nylon to improve the sensory feel on the skin when applying some of the so-called leave-on products, which remain on the skin after application and are not rinsed off.

In order to reach these voluntary commitments by 2020 at the latest, we are working intensively on the corresponding formula changes and product launches. For new product developments we have long since excluded the use of microplastic-based raw materials.

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?

Many ingredients, such as emulsifiers and surfactants that are essential to the production of cosmetic products are usually derived from mineral or plant oils. Palm (kernel) oil is one of these. As a cosmetics manufacturer Beiersdorf does not directly procure palm (kernel) oil and neither do we produce any of its derivatives, i.e. materials that are further refined or processed from palm (kernel) oil.

All our suppliers are contractually required to comply with our Code of Conduct for Suppliers: This defines social and environmental standards and therefore supports responsible sourcing. Furthermore, we are working closely with our suppliers to drive sustainable palm cultivation and a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry. We see building transparency in the supply chain as a major step forward, and together we aim to make the palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials we use traceable all the way from the source of feedstock to their derivatives. 

A sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry does not cause the deforestation of ecologically vital rainforests (primary or secondary forests). If they are cultivated sustainably, palm trees are environmentally very efficient oil-bearing plants that require a minimum of land for maximum output. For this reason, we are engaged through the “Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil” (RSPO) and the “German Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil” (FONAP) for a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry.

As a FONAP member we additionally advocate the further development of the existing certification criteria, which include:

  • A ban of palm plantations on peat land and other carbon-rich land
  • A ban on the use of severely hazardous pesticides (as defined under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, WHO 1a and 1b, including paraquat)
  • The application of strict reduction targets for greenhouse gases
  • A guarantee that when certified palm-oil mills also procure non-certified raw palm materials (fresh fruit bunches), they obtain these exclusively from legal cultivation.
     

In recent years, we have made continual progress in our transition to sustainable palm (kernel) oil. By 2020, we plan to switch all our palm (kernel) oil-based product and formula ingredients to physical certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil. Our objective is the full transition to segregated – at a minimum, mass-balanced – palm (kernel) oil and its derivatives. Until then we will continue to balance our remaining requirement by purchasing Book and Claim certificates on the RSPO trading platform. Thanks to this, since 2014 we have covered 100% of the palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials we use with certificates, either through directly procuring certified raw materials or through Book and Claim certificates.

Our Palm Sustainability Roadmap supports us in steering and coordinating our company’s progress towards raw material procurement from certified sustainable sources – worldwide. In 2016, we reached a major milestone by achieving official RSPO Supply Chain Certification: In the audit we demonstrated our thorough alignment with a sustainable palm (kernel) oil industry and proved that we fulfill all corresponding RSPO criteria. We were consequently awarded the RSPO Multi-Site SCCS certificate. The first shipments of certified sustainable palm (kernel) oil-based materials already reached our production plants in 2015. By the end of 2016, we had achieved a 30% conversion to mass-balanced palm (kernel) oil-based raw materials. Until we reach our objective of full transition by 2020 we will continue to offset the remaining share of our uptake with certificates.

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

Does Beiersdorf conduct animal testing?

At Beiersdorf, we are committed to making animal testing obsolete worldwide. We are convinced that animal testing is not necessary to prove the skin tolerability and effectiveness of our cosmetic products. This is why we do not conduct any animal testing for our cosmetic products and their ingredients, and do not have any animal testing done on our behalf – unless, in the very rare case, this is specifically required by law.

For us, consumer safety always comes first. As one of the leading researching companies, we have been at the forefront of developing and promoting alternative test methods for 35 years. We have been – and still are – intensively involved in the successful development and validation of key methodologies that are now internationally accepted by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and are already approved by key regulatory agencies. We invest significant resources for this, and have worked in joint collaboration with more than 50 partners and stakeholders on this effort worldwide to date.

In the EU, animal testing has been completely banned for cosmetic products since 2004, and for all the ingredients of these products since 2013. Beiersdorf, of course, is in compliance with these legal requirements and, for a long time before, already actively forewent animal testing worldwide whenever legally possible. It is our stated goal to advance research to the point when animal testing can be completely abandoned worldwide.

Our commitment includes:

Intensive research of alternative test methods for 35 years

Beiersdorf is one of the pioneers and global leaders in the field of alternative test methods. For 35 years, our research and development has been actively promoting the topic – through the own development of suitable methods as well as active participation in validation studies and research projects.

Development of one of the world’s first officially approved test without animal testing

In 1992, our researchers at Beiersdorf developed the basic method of the so-called 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake Phototoxicity Test, thereby setting an important milestone: Following a formal ring study for validation, the test was the first officially accepted alternative method to animal testing (in 2000 in the EU and in 2004 within the OECD). Today, the method for testing the tolerability of new ingredients under the influence of UV lights is the worldwide standard and the first in vitro test to also be accepted in China for instance.

International collaboration with renowned partners

We are actively promoting the development of innovative alternative methods and the international acceptance of existing ones through joint collaboration with more than 50 stakeholders and partners to date. We are intensively involved in various working groups that fall under the European umbrella organization of the cosmetics industry (Cosmetics Europe), cooperate with the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EURL ECVAM), and support the OECD through the provision of scientific insights. We are an active member of the European Society of Toxicology in Vitro (ESTIV) and, since 2006, a founding member of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA), a cooperative organization of the European Commission and seven industry sectors. In addition, Beiersdorf has cooperated on innovative, cutting-edge research, such as studies on organ-on-a-chip technologies, which simulate the interplay of several organs.

Continuing to advance and support research in the future

Even though great progress has already been made, at the present time, there are still not officially accepted and established alternative test methods for all safety-related questions. Above all, this has an impact on the development of innovations and the approval of new ingredients for cosmetic products. Therefore, we will also continue to advocate intensively for the development and successful use of alternatives to animal testing.

Read here more about our engagement for alternative testing methods.        

Does Beiersdorf also produce goods for other retail brands?

We have never manufactured for other brands and therefore for no retail brands whatsoever. Only products with Beiersdorf on the label contain the trusted Beiersdorf quality and care.