Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum

Curriculum vitae

Advisory Board, Consultant, Lecturer
Until 2020 Corporate Senior Vice President
Innovation & Sustainability,
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Germany


Thomas Müller-Kirschbaum is passionate about sustainable innovation which accelerate the transformation to a climate-positive circular economy.
After his studies of physics, chemistry and environmental technology he joined Henkel more than 30 years ago. More than 20 years he was responsible for the global R&D and on top for almost a decade for the global production and supply chain of Henkel´s Laundry and Home Care business. As Co-Chair of the Henkel Sustainability Council he co-led the company´s sustainability strategy and its implementation.
He acts as expert and advisor for industrial and scientific institutions like the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, the German Circular Economy Initiative, the Fraunhofer Cluster for Circular Plastic Economy and the Bioeconomy Science Center.
He teaches global innovation management at the University of Applied Science in Krefeld, Germany.

On our way towards a climate-positive circular economy

A sustainable economy has to follow two guiding principles: a circular economy which is at the same time net climate neutral. And renewable raw materials have the best requirements for a perfect fit for a sustainable economy.

For this reason, a manufacturer like Henkel has to include these criterions at an early stage into the innovation process. Today´s and future research must focus on a set of sustainable technologies for raw materials and packaging materials. Active agents in consumer products need to have a CO2-neutral footprint and are – after use - either ready for a material recycling or are biodegradable. Packaging materials need to be reusable or recyclable in addition to their climate neutral footprint. The prerequisites for a scenario for a de-fossilized circular packaging material supply will be discussed in detail.