World is our Skin

To care for our skin means to care for the world around us. Anything that impacts our planet will also have an impact on us, our health, and our skin. Just as NIVEA respects the human skin’s natural balance, we respect nature itself. That’s why we are committed to sustainability at every step. Creating the safest, most effective and sustainable skincare is a journey. We believe in continuous improvement. That’s why we take steps towards truly sustainable skin innovation in everything we do – from our formulas to the way we produce and package our skincare and beyond.

We strive to use ingredients from sources that grow back or are otherwise self-regenerating. We keep an open mind for the most sustainable solution, which may include using an ingredient synthetically instead of using the natural source.

Our packaging philosophy is “reduce, reuse, recycle”. We keep evolving our production methods and packaging to save energy, raw materials and emissions.

And we make sure that everyone involved in creating our NIVEA skincare products is treated as we want to be treated: with respect and care.

Follow us on our journey and discover how we, at NIVEA, try to constantly interact with our world in the most careful of ways, to create skincare that protects our skin and nature.



Sustainable from the start

Good things come from the best possible sources. That’s why we make sure that everything we put into our NIVEA products is safe and healthy to use – and why we strive to use sustainably sourced raw materials wherever possible. Our research teams keep looking for new, even better ingredients and alternative sources in order to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible. 

Responsible sourcing

The vast majority of NIVEA suppliers fulfill the social and environmental requirements in our supplier code of conduct – and we actively help them meet our high standards. 

We join the fight against deforestation to protect our planet’s biodiversity and our climate. Deforestation is one of the biggest drivers of climate change. Without forests, many species lose their habitat and the Earth its “green lungs”. As part of our fight against deforestation, we use paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and plan to source exclusively FSC-certified or recycled paper by 2020.

We actively promote all this to make sure that our skincare is as gentle on our planet as it is on our skin.


Sustainable palm oil sourcing

Some of our ingredients in NIVEA products are derived from palm kernel oil – in fact, palm oil derivatives are used in 70 % of all cosmetics products. The problem with palm oil is that often large areas of rainforest are destroyed in order to make room for oil palm plantations. We believe that palm oil needs to be sourced sustainably without contributing to deforestation. Replacing palm oil with another plant-based oil is not the best option, though, because palm oil crops have a very high yield. An alternative, less-yielding vegetable oil option would be less sustainable since it would require more land to grow the crops. 

Instead, we promote the shift to sustainably produced palm oil with our partners along the entire supply chain. Beiersdorf has joined the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Forum for Sustainable Palm Oil (FONAP). 

Guided by our “Palm Sustainability Roadmap”, we are on a journey to procuring only certified sustainable palm kernel oil derivatives worldwide. This includes our support for FONAP’s expanded certification criteria for more sustainable palm kernel oil – e.g., reduction targets for greenhouse gases and a ban of palm plantations on peat land and other carbon-rich land.

Our goal for 2020 is to source all Beiersdorf raw materials based on palm (kernel) oil from sustainable sources. By 2018, we had already covered 63 % of our palm-based raw material volumes with sustainably certified raw materials (RSPO “Mass Balance” standard). Until we reach our objective of full transition by 2020, we will continue to offset the remaining share of our uptake with sustainability certificates (RSPO “Book and Claim”).

In 2018, for the first time, we participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Forest Program and were awarded a “Score A” for our efforts to combat deforestation in our palm oil supply chain.


Choosing the most sustainable sources

Whether renewable and natural or synthetic: for NIVEA, safety, quality and sustainability are top criteria when sourcing our ingredients. 

Often, natural and naturally derived ingredients that support our skin’s natural functions are NIVEA's choice. What’s also great about natural and nature-derived ingredients is: they are renewable. Many of the raw materials we use for NIVEA are abundant and self-regenerating – like the rapeseed oil or sunflower wax in our lip balm, sourced from fields that bloom every year. We strive to ensure that our natural and naturally derived ingredients are sourced in a sustainable way to save resources.

Taking a holistic view, synthetic can be a clear win-win for our planet and our skin too: In many cases, synthetically produced ingredients are more pure and of more consistent quality. Additionally, when an ingredient is created in the lab, you do not need fields to grow plants and water crops. Instead, those fields and that water can be used to grow foods. In some cases, this may make synthetically produced ingredients the more resource-friendly choice. 

You see: at NIVEA we take a wider perspective in carefully choosing our ingredients – while your skin’s health and safety is always our priority.


What’s the difference between “natural” and “naturally derived”?

Natural products like essential oils are made directly from natural raw materials. They are obtained from these materials by physical processes (e.g. distillation) or other procedures of preparation including traditional ones (e.g. extraction using solvents) without intentional chemical modification. 

For naturally derived ingredients, the raw materials – e.g. coconut oil – are further processed before making their way to our formulas - e.g. fatty alcohol. They are obtained through defined chemical and/or biological processes.

A good way of making good things

We invest a lot of energy in developing the best possible formulas for your skin. We source ingredients that are safe, supportive of our skin’s natural functions and more and more do we source ones that are environmentally friendly.

Naturally, our commitment to protect our planet and our communities also extends to the way we produce NIVEA skincare. We strive to decrease our CO2 footprint, save energy, and ensure good working conditions for everyone involved in making NIVEA products.


Creating NIVEA products is a joint effort, and we feel responsible for everyone involved. Our Code of Conduct for Suppliers sets high standards for our suppliers and subcontractors – the same high standards we adhere to. We are committed to protecting human rights and do not tolerate forced or child labor, corruption or discrimination in our operations and supply chain. We do not just make demands, though – we also help our suppliers establish sustainable supply chains. For NIVEA, helping others to protect our planet is a welcome opportunity to make a positive collective impact.

Our energy consumption commitment

We are committed to reducing our CO2 footprint – and our energy goals are ambitious. By 2025, we want to reduce our energy-related CO2 emissions by 70 % vs. 2014. For each NIVEA product we manufacture! We started by reviewing the energy infrastructure for all our production facilities that still use energy from conventional sources. By the end of 2018, we already reached 59 % reduction. We switched all facilities to renewable energy, including our large production centers in Germany and Spain, with the exception of our plants in Mexico and Nigeria. By 2020, we plan to use only renewable energy wherever we make NIVEA products, which will substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.



Waste is a resource!

NIVEA made the commitment “zero waste to landfill” early on – and we’re already there! None of our established production centers send waste to landfills. Instead, all waste is recycled or incinerated to create heat and electricity. This means that our production waste does not end up in the environment. From something to get rid of, waste is turned into new material or a source of energy.

Reducing waste saves resources

Keeping waste out of landfills is only one side of the story. Less overall waste means less pollution and less consumption of valuable resources. That’s why we keep improving our planning and production processes in order to avoid waste wherever we can. Case in point: our beloved NIVEA tin. We used to source large, rectangular aluminum sheets from which we cut the tin sides, tops, and bottoms. In late 2017, we changed our process and switched to pre-cut aluminum parts. This saves 54 g of aluminum scrap per sheet, a total of 14 tons of aluminum per year. Less material to ship around and less waste to recycle also means less fuel for transportations and less CO2 emissions.



Sustainable packaging philosophy

We want to make sure that everything about our products is sustainable – including the first thing you see of every NIVEA product: its package. As early as 2009, we put environmentally friendly packaging on our agenda. Following the principle “avoid, reduce, reuse, and recycle”, we use packaging that keeps your NIVEA products safely fresh while our impact on the environment gets gradually lower and lower.

Less is more

Using less material for our packaging saves valuable resources and helps avoid waste. Case in point: our hand creams. When, in 2016, we switched to lightweight tube caps, we saved about 50 tons of polypropylene in the first year alone. As early as 2013, we introduced refill packs like those for NIVEA Creme Soft shower cream or liquid soap. By refilling your NIVEA Creme Soft shower bottle from this pack instead of buying a new bottle you can save 75 % waste!

Recycling: around and around again

We work toward a circular economy by increasingly using recycled materials in our packaging. That way, NIVEA contributes to the Beiersdorf goal of 25% of recycled material in plastic packaging in Europe by 2025. A significant proportion of NIVEA packaging can already be recycled. And as part of Beiersdorf’s 2025 target we are aiming for 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by that date.




Respecting the oceans

To make sure our products have as little impact on the environment as possible, we do everything we can to address potential issues immediately and effectively. Take microplastics: as early as 2013, we decided to phase out plastic peeling particles made from polyethylene from our products. Two years later, all our formulas were microbead-free. But we did not stop there: We aim to have all our NIVEA rinse-off products, meaning shower gels and shampoos, free of any microplastics according to the United Nations Environmental Program definition by 2020 latest. To achieve this ambition, we have eliminated opacifiers in the form of solid, water-insoluble synthetic polymers from our rinse-off products. Next, we are taking on nylon: we plan to eliminate all nylon in our leave-on formulas by the end of 2020.
None of our European sunscreen products contain the chemical UV filters oxybenzone und octinoxate – ingredients which are suspected to have significant harmful impacts on coral reefs. Our European sunscreen products therefore comply with a Hawaiian law passed in 2018 which sets a ban of the use of these ingredients in sunscreen products in place. To keep abreast of sustainability matters, we continuously monitor new scientific findings and assess them in relation to the ingredients we use in our products – ready to take action if deemed necessary.


The public discussion around the topic of microplastics 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.

Did you know that synthetic textiles are among the main sources of microplastics in our oceans? In contrast, personal care products account for only 2 percent. Nevertheless, NIVEA and Beiersdorf recognized the need for immediate action early on. That’s why we phased out microbeads from all our formulas and keep researching new, environmentally safe alternatives.
In the past, we used small solid plastic particles made from polyethylene, so-called microbeads, in rinse-off, cleaning body care products (peelings, shower gels, etc.) for a skin-friendly peeling effect. In 2013, NIVEA decided to replace polyethylene peeling particles with environmentally friendly alternatives. Since 2015, our products contain no microbeads. Instead, NIVEA uses cellulose, silicon dioxide and castor wax. Cellulose is a biodegradable, organic material, which also occurs in plant fibers. Silicon dioxide is similar in its chemical composition to quartz sand, and castor wax is a natural, biodegradable raw material with a hard, wax-like consistency.
Eliminating microbeads was only the first step. Next, we are intensively working to fully replace the microplastics-based ingredients used to make some of our products opaque, giving them their characteristic color and appearance.

We aim to have the formula reworks for all our rinse-off products, meaning shower gels and shampoos, completed globally as soon as 2020. In parallel, we will replace nylon ingredients, which we use to improve the texture and sensory feel of some leave-on products. These are products that stay longer on the skin like some face cream products. Rest assured, achieving to have all NIVEA products globally free from microplastics is a high priority to us.

Dissolved and gel-like synthetic polymers

Cosmetic and personal care products may also contain dissolved and gel-like synthetic polymers – sometimes referred to as “liquid plastics”. These synthetic polymers have been introduced into the microplastics debate in some countries. However, these substances differ significantly from microplastics as to the widely shared scientific understanding and definitions by, for instance, independent organizations like the United Nations Environmental Programme. According to the current state of research, dissolved and gel-like polymers are not part of the global water pollution problem with plastics. However, as we aim to continuously further improve our formulas and be on the front of sustainable innovation, we support further research on the environmental impact of synthetic polymers and will be using more and more so-called bio-polymers. While doing so, we will ensure that our NIVEA products provide the same skin-friendliness and high quality you are used to.