Nivea’s ecorefill is a soap with a difference – the consumer creates it themselves by mixing dissolvable tablets with water, in a bottle made from 100% recycled material. To learn more about this innovation, which is a finalist in the ‘Driving the Circular Economy’ category of our 2022 Sustainability Awards, we spoke with Nivea’s parent company, Beiersdorf.


You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2022. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry in fewer than 50 words? 

Ecorefill Caring Hand Soap is a water-free product in sustainable packaging. It includes a bottle and refill tabs. The bottle is made of 100% recycled material and is specially designed to be re-used. Consumers just need to fill the Ecorefill with lukewarm water, add the refill tab and shake for 30 seconds to allow the tablet to dissolve.

Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about your project and/or about its impact on packaging sustainability.

We do not ship any water with the product. The bottle is 100% recycled and refillable, folding boxes are FSC-certified and fully recyclable. Compared to our conventional liquid handwash in single-use packaging, an LCA showed a significant reduction of packaging- and formula-related CO2-Emissions. Consumers can easily refill the bottle with NIVEA Ecorefill tabs at home, again and again.

The refill tabs are packed in FSC-certified folding boxes. With every refill at least one plastic bottle is saved, and we can help our consumers to make more sustainable choices. Dispensing through the pump produces an extra mild caring foam. The formula is dermatologically approved, biodegradable and is made with naturally derived skin-caring ingredients.

How has your innovation/initiative been received thus far?

Ecorefill has been received very positively by consumers. According to our survey findings, 97% perceived it as innovative and 93% would recommend it. They love the fragrance and describe the product as “amazing” and “simply brilliant”.

You’re shortlisted for the Driving the Circular Economy category. What do you see as the key demands, challenges and opportunities in relation to driving the circular economy in packaging?

To deliver on our commitment to sustainability, Beiersdorf is taking substantial measures across all areas of the business. Taking action to tackle the global climate crisis and bring about a positive change is a central element of the company’s CARE BEYOND SKIN Sustainability Agenda. Its climate target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions along the entire value chain by 30% in absolute terms until 2025 (vs. 2018) is among the most ambitious of the industry and in-line with the Paris Agreement and the 1.5 °C scenario.

Approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi), the climate target includes not only scope 1 and 2 emissions, but also scope 3 emissions that are caused in the value chain, e.g. by suppliers of formula ingredients and packaging materials.

Besides the NIVEA Ecorefill Caring Foam with a reduced CO2 footprint, more products have been launched to market during 2021, contributing to Beiersdorf’s sustainability progress: e.g. NIVEA WonderBAR as a plastic-free and solid face cleansing product in an FSC-certified folding box or the implementation of 100% recycled aluminum cans as the most recent achievements with NIVEA EcoDeo.

The winners of this Sustainability Awards category will be announced at a dinner taking place at the Sustainable Packaging Summit in Lisbon on 13th-14th September 2022. To attend the ceremony, register here.