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Werner & Mertz

Manufacturing · Mainz, Germany
Werner & Mertz Mainz Luftaufnahme

Sustainability at Werner & Mertz: What drives us

Sustainability is the foundation of our innovative Mainz, Germany-based family business now in the hands of the fifth generation. For some time we have pondered the question of how a sustainable lifestyle can become socially acceptable to a majority.

Overcoming the presumed contradiction between ecology and the performance of cleaning products is an important issue for Werner & Mertz. In concrete terms, that means we want to be one development generation ahead of the current ecological benchmark with all the essential elements of our products, i.e. formulas, packaging and production circumstances.

As an eco pioneer, we want to develop the market with recyclable, that is, integrally sustainable and high-performance cleaning and hygiene solutions which are completely harmless to human life or Nature. We are therefore committed to our long-term initiatives which often set standards for ecological feasibility far beyond our own brands and product ranges. Our Recyclate Initiative and the European Surfactants Initiative are two good examples. These initiatives are not just for our customers and society in general, but for our employees too. Sustainability is pursued ambitiously in our medium-sized, owner-managed company, for instance, by employees who devise solutions for areas of activity in the transformation to a sustainable way of life.

At Werner & Mertz the entire company concentrates on the central themes of sustainability and environmental management. We aspire always to be the most sustainable company in our industry. That is reflected in our internal attitude and is a motivating force in our day-to-day work. Every employee is a sustainability ambassador. The philosophy of sustainable business conduct is firmly anchored in our corporate guidelines.

The democratization of sustainability

Our greatest marketing achievement on behalf of our customers is the “democratization of sustainability.” We have been able to present technically complex sustainability concepts so positively and credibly to consumers that they feel good about using the products. If sustainability is to go mainstream, we have to dispel the notion that the choice is either “green” or “clean.” With products from Werner & Mertz, consumers do not have to make compromises on cleaning performance or quality.

In our efforts to get young people more involved, we have taken up environmental challenges that are highly relevant to them and have made sustainability a real part of their lives. We have also generated consumer trust with our implementation leadership in the market. Two of our initiatives address the issues of maximum plastic recycling and surfactants made from plants cultivated in Europe.

Example: The “Clean Oceans” Campaign

In 2012, in cooperation with our partners along the entire value chain, we founded the Recyclate Initiative with the goal of obtaining plastic from the previously untapped source of the Yellow Bag, reprocessing it at high quality and using the material to make equally valuable packaging. Our initiative has succeeded. To date we have placed on the market more than 410 million bottles of 100% used plastic, 20% of which comes from the Yellow Bag. In 2021 we and our packaging manufacturer Alpla have increased the Yellow Bag share from 20% to 50%. That’s a giant step for the circular economy and resource conservation!

Besides the technical hurdles that had to be surmounted, our Marketing department had to find the “ways and means” to convey this highly complex packaging topic to consumers. To achieve that goal, Marketing came up with the “Clean Oceans” campaign, which debuted as a Point-of-Sale campaign with displays and flyers. In 2018 the campaign moved into classic media (TV, print, posters) and, of course, into social media and diverse online marketing actions.

From the start, the “Clean Oceans” campaign has had the task of emotionally conveying the pioneer role of Frosch in producing plastic bottles from recyclate. The classic media act as “teasers” while the online platforms and social media go into the subjects in more depth.

Werner & Mertz GmbH, a medium-sized company with subsidiaries and over 1,120 employees throughout Europe, looks back on more than 150 years of tradition. With its trusted brands Frosch, Erdal, emsal, rorax and green care Professional, Werner & Mertz claims a leading position in the production and sales of detergents and household cleaners in Germany and Europe.