150 years under the sign of the frog

Family-run Werner & Mertz looks back over four generations

Big employee celebration in the Mainz Staatstheater

The family-owned and operated Werner & Mertz of Mainz celebrated its 150th anniversary with the largest employee party ever in company history. From its founding as a wax goods factory to becoming the European market leader in ecological cleaning products, the global business looks back at an eventful history and points proudly to its loyalty to the city of Mainz, capital of Rhineland-Palatinate and only 40kms away from Frankfurt.

All employees celebrated together

On the occasion of the anniversary all employees from branches throughout Europe and beyond were invited to the big party in the company’s home base in Germany. The Staatstheater Mainz offered a proper setting for the official ceremony and enough room – down to the last seat – for all the employees. “We want to build a bridge between our company’s past and our ideas for the future,“ said Reinhard Schneider, owner and CEO of Werner & Mertz, as he welcomed the employees. Master of Ceremonies Stefan Schulze-Hausmann, TV moderator and founder of the German Sustainability Award Foundation, expertly led the audience through the program. “It’s not enough to have a boss who is taken with the idea of sustainability,“ he said in his opening remarks. “You need employees who stand behind him with their own ideas.” Schulze-Hausmann invited Rhineland-Palatinate Minister-President Malu Dreyer and Mainz Mayor Michael Ebling to join him onstage. Werner & Mertz recognized early, said Minister-President Dreyer, the sign of the times. The innovative company did not simply follow a trend, but committed to sustainable activities what made Werner & Mertz the eco-pioneer it is today.

Award for outstanding engagement in German mid-sized companies

The festivities began when the company welcomed many representatives from business, politics and industrial associations to its headquarters and wrapped up days later at the employee party. The many well-wishers hailed not only from the immediate “neighbourhood” in Mainz, but also from all parts of the country. Special recognition came from the federal association of mid-sized companies in Germany Bundesverbands für Mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW). Mario Ohoven, president of the BVMW presented Reinhard Schneider with a certificate which conferred the title “Senator h.c.” in the BVMW “for his untiring engagement on behalf of the German Mittelstand”.

Loyal to the Mainz location for 150 years

The City of Mainz and Werner & Mertz belong together. From its founding in 1867 as a wax goods factory, first in Großen Bleiche, then in Erthal-Straße and as of 1908 in Ingelheimer Aue, the family business has remained loyal to its hometown. That the story will continue in future is confirmed by the ultra-modern headquarters building, completed in 2010 and awarded Platinum certification by LEED and the building start of the new factory in Mainz this year. Very early on, Werner & Mertz added representation outside Germany with the opening of a second production site in Hallein, Austria, in 1953.

The red frog and the green frog

The company brought the Erdal brand with the red frog to the world’s attention in 1901 with a shoe polish based on wax. During the 1950s the product range was extended with detergents, initially for the consumer and starting in 1971 with specialized products for professional users in the institutional and industrial sector. The well-known red frog was joined by a green frog in 1986 with the launch of FROSCH, the first ecological cleaning product brand in Germany. Since then, a firm commitment to sustainability has been main part of the company’s philosophy.

Pioneering achievements from shoe polish to ultra-modern recyclate bottles

Ground breaking innovations and entrepreneurial spirit run through the entire history of Werner & Mertz. Starting as a small chandler, the modern family owned business offers today a broad portfolio of detergents, cleaning and care products. The famous ERDAL shoe polish was the first of many novelties and innovations. Today the company is engaged in the development of sustainable products and packaging that lie ahead of other ecological benchmarks. The demanding standards have been recognized and rewarded. green care PROFESSIONAL offers the most comprehensive product range of biologically regenerative products to the professional user in the German and on the global market. The 1L bottle of the green care PROFESSIONAL cleaner SANET SR15 won packaging prizes in 2016 and 2017 (2016 German Packaging Prize in category Sustainability and in Gold; 2017 PackTheFuture Award). As pioneer of the 100% recyclate packaging, starting from October 2017 all 1L green care PROFESSIONAL bottles will be produced out of 100% post-consumer recycled material. The recyclate Initiative, founded by Werner & Mertz in 2012, works together with partners from industry, retail trade and environmental organizations to promote effective plastic recycling in a circular economy.