By Arun Sudhaman
DUSSELDORF: Henkel, the German FMCG giant that owns such iconic brands as Right Guard, Schwarzkopf and Persil, has called a global review of its crisis communications capabilities.
Several global agencies have been invited to take part in next week’s pitch in Germany. The review follows recent intense scrutiny of the environmental records of FMCG companies like Unilever and Nestle by NGOs such as Greenpeace.
According to a source involved in the review, Henkel is searching for “global crisis and issues support” at a corporate level, covering its home care, personal care and chemical products business units. Key markets include Germany and continental Europe, US, UK, China, Mexico and Southeast Asia.
Henkel regularly tops industry rankings of FMCG company environmental practices, based on its use of renewable raw materials. However, the company does use small quantities of palm kernel oil in its laundry detergents and household cleaners. Earlier this year, Greenpeace launched high-profile campaigns to stop both Unilever and Nestle from buying palm oil from Indonesian suppliers, because of the devastating impact on the country’s rainforests.
A Henkel spokesman said it was normal practice to “review contracts with agencies on a regular basis” and declined to comment further.
Based in the German city of Dusseldorf, Henkel recorded revenues of more than 13 billion euros in 2009, and competes with such companies as Unilever, P&G, Reckitt Benckiser and L’Oreal.