Solvay and Henkel are taking the Sustainable Guar Initiative one step further by collaborating on the launch of Nature Box, Henkel’s nature-conscious line of hair and body care products.

The Sustainable Guar Initiative was put in place to ensure good guar traceability, empower women and to teach the Indian farmers who cultivate it how to implement environmentally sound agricultural practices. As a partner in this project, Solvay is able to provide Henkel with a guar derivative, a key ingredient for Nature Box, a range of 29 products including shampoos and body gels launched in August 2018 in Germany and Eastern Europe.

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Sweet & smooth

Guar is extracted from the seeds of the guar plant (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba). It is a high molecular weight polysaccharide - in other words, a sugar molecule. To give it its smoothing properties for hair and skin conditioning, the guar has to be chemically modified to become a cationic guar derivative that has the ability to interact with the negatively charged surfaces of hair and skin, and resists wash-out during rinsing steps. 

Being the global leader in the chemical modification of guar, Solvay has the expertise to provide the right formulation Henkel needs for its products. “What differentiates our formulation is its clarity,” explains Caroline Mabille, Home & Personal Care R&I Lab Manager at Solvay’s Novecare global business unit. “We have specific processes that allow us to provide cationic guar that is suitable for clear formulations.”

Solvay offered us the possibility to use a high performing personal care ingredient while having a great social responsibility impact.

Dr. Elisabeth Poppe, Corporate Director, Henkel Beauty Care and R&D Hair Care.

The added value of social responsibility 

The fact that this particular guar comes with environmental and social added benefits was of course a crucial aspect of this collaboration. “Solvay offered us the possibility to use a high performing personal care ingredient while having a great social responsibility impact,” sums up Dr. Elisabeth Poppe, Henkel's Corporate Director,  Research & Development Hair Care. “The Sustainable Guar Initiative is a best-in-class collaboration showing that Solvay and Henkel form an excellent contribution to the challenges of our today’s world. At Henkel, we have long-standing clear sustainability targets. We want to improve people’s quality of life through sustainable innovations such as Nature Box, and we need to work closely with our suppliers to optimize the development of more sustainable products.”

Resorting to guar is also a way of offering consumers products containing more natural ingredients and thus answer a major market trend. “We have been working closely with Henkel to replace the synthetic polymers in hair and body wash formulations and have been able to replace a substantial part now with natural guar,” explains Niclas Wallén, Global Key Account Manager at Solvay. “And thanks to the Sustainable Guar Initiative, we also have a great business opportunity.”