Sonett – a pioneer in ecological laundry detergents and
cleaners since 1977

The Sonett products are now available in almost all European countries. Demand is also steadily increasing in non-European countries. Our company headquarters are in Deggenhausertal, near to Lake Constance.

Approximately 90% of the Sonett products are sold via the health food trade.

 


Sonett Profile


Geographic location: Sonett is situated in Deggenhausen – Southern Germany - 15 km to the north of Überlingen, on the Lake Constance.

Employees:
Approx. 50. Furthermore we have 25 people with special needs from the Camphill Workshops Lehenhof working exclusively for Sonett.
Sonett is continuously increasing.
 

Legal form:
Sonett GmbH (Ltd. Co.), Sonett Vermögensverwaltung GmbH (Asset Management Ltd. Co.), Stiftung Sonett (Foundation Sonett)

General management:  
Beate Oberdorfer, food chemist with graduate qualification 

Gerhard Heid, business graduate 

Market, distribution area:
Sonett products are distributed worldwide in more than 45 countries, mainly via organic food shops.
 


Sonett Building

Initial Incentive and Task

Caring and feeling responsible for water as the essence of all life, has made Sonett come into life. Water as such is the actual laundry detergent and cleaning agent. By using readily and completely biodegradable raw materials such as purely plant-derived soaps, sugar surfactants, and minerals such as sodium carbonate and silicates, we increase the washing performance of the water, at the same time fostering its being returned to and reintegrated into the natural cycle. Doing the laundry and cleaning are “cultural achievements” which, though useful to man, do pollute the water.

We consider it our task to do the laundry and cleaning in harmony with nature, and especially with the water, in a considerate and revitalizing way.
 

Philosophy


Our corporate philosophy and quality concept is based on anthroposophic spiritual science.
 

The drop-picture method

It was as early as the late 1960s that the natural scientist Johannes Schnorr did research on flow analysis at the “Institut für Strömungswissenschaften” in Herrischried (Institute for Flow Sciences), this being the initial incentive for the development of Sonett’s Laundry Detergents and Cleaning Agents.
 
In order to assess the quality of waters and drinking water, a method was developed to the effect that the quality of the water is holistically evaluated, in addition to the regular analyses regarding individual substances such as heavy metals, pesticides, and organic chlorine compounds. This is done by means of the drop-picture method (see fig. below).
 
The drop-picture method can tell us something about the quality of the water same being the essence of all life as well as foodstuff. Thanks to this method, Johannes Schnorr was able to prove the existence of surfactants in the drinking water. These surfactants were primarily to be found in residual laundry detergents and cleaning agents, which could not be degraded in nature or only to a certain extent. These residues were to be encountered in groundwater as well as in lakes and rivers where they caused enormous accumulation of foam at dams and sluices. It was only much later that laws were passed requiring minimum degradability.
 
Said experience with the drop pictures were the incentive for Johannes Schnorr to come up with the concept of a novel environment-compatible laundry detergent, the idea for this new detergent being: rapid and complete biodegradability of all the laundry detergents’ ingredients and to use raw materials as sparingly as possible.
 
This was the moment when Sonett’s modular system was born.

Spring water
of good 
quality
Tap water
of moderate 
quality  
Laundry detergent
in water
                           


Source: Learning to Understand Water, Institute of Flow Sciences,
Herrischried 1995

 


 

Dynamized ingredients

Due to our responsibility for the renaturation of waste water, we add to our Sonett washing and cleaning agents substances which have been rhythmatised in an oloide mixer, and work with process water that is swirled in twelve egg-shaped glass vessels.

 

Selection of the raw materials

All of the ingredients we use are completely biodegradable and free of enzymes, petrochemical surfactants, fragrances, dyestuffs, preservatives, bleach activators, etc.
 

Raw materials from controlled biodynamic and organic cultivation

100% of the olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and shea butter we use, as well as all the essential oils, originate from controlled organic cultivation.
 

Sources of energy

Half of our electrical energy we obtain straight from a small hydroelectric power station close by, whose capacity is used up almost entirely by our company. The other half is supplied by Greenpeace Energy.
Our heating we provide by jointly operating a state-of-the-art woodchips plant with Camphill Workshops Lehenhof.

 

Certified ecological quality

The entire Sonett Assortment has been certified according to the criteria of Ecogarantie – the premium symbol for ecological laundry detergents and cleaning agents offered in wholefood shops.
 
The symbol EcoControl guarantees that Sonett’s compliance with its own quality criteria is regularly monitored and confirmed by an independent control organ.

Sonett has been certified with the symbol Stop Climate Change. This is the highest standard for extensive analysis and certification of CO2. The label certifies the analysis of the entire enterprise regarding CO2 emissions and complete transparency as far as the processes causing CO2 are concerned. The analysis proves that Sonett hardly generates CO2 emissions due to heating and electrical energy.

 

Certified sustainable business management

Since 2015 Sonett has been certified according to the CSE standard (Certified Sustainable Economics) of the Association for Applied Business Ethics. Contrary to pure product certification, this label comprises the entire company. In addition to ecological product requirements, the company’s social and ethical orientations are certified.
 
 

Common Property

To us, company capital is not a private affair, but rather a common good.
That is why we have transferred the shares of the Sonett Company to a foundation. The non-profit Foundation Sonett promotes water research, developing alternative testing methods that do not involve experiments on animals, training in connection with research in formative forces, as well as other ecological, cultural and artistic initiatives embodying the spirit of anthroposophy.
 
Furthermore, by taking this step, the entire enterprise Sonett can no longer be bequeathed or sold any more and the ground has been ideally prepared for future company succession. This does no longer depend on being a family member or on one’s financial strength, but merely on the successor’s capability to manage the company in the spirit of Sonett, fulfilling our credo:
 
SONETT
Organic soaps and detergents
protecting natural water resources,
the essence of life
 

Sonett-logo

                    





Production


Our entire range of laundry powders, liquid laundry detergents, and cleaning agents are produced in the Sonett Plant at Deggenhausen.
Our liquid soaps are manufactured in a procedure of chemical reaction, transforming the oils into soap without applying any energy, instead of using the conventional energy-intensive soap boiling.
 
Considerable part of our labeling is carried out by disabled people at the Camphill Workshops Lehenhof. This offers Sonett a great flexibility in working in small batches; taken into account the great variety of languages regarding our labeling, this is a perfect addition. As far as the Lehenhof Workshops are concerned, this co-operation creates socio-therapeutic jobs and income for their sheltered people.

 

Partners


Approx. 50% of Sonett’s entire production is exported to more than 45 countries worldwide; approx. 50% is sold within Germany, the organic wholesale trade with its approx. 90% of our total sales being the main distribution channel. A smaller percentage goes straight to institutions for handicapped people, old people’s homes, schools, and kindergartens.  

 
Our concept not only requires outstanding ecological quality of our products – which means precious, and thus expensive, raw materials and manufacturing processes – but also to offer the products at the lowest possible price. For the production of our bar soap, granular soap and disinfectants we cooperate with several small enterprises in Germany and Austria.

Since summer of 1996 Sonett GmbH has been situated in the valley of Deggenhausen about 15 km to the north of Überlingen on the Lake Constance. Close by are the Camphill Workshops of the Lehenhof, an institution for disabled grown-ups. Considerable part of our labelling is carried out by their sheltered people. This approach enables Sonett to work with flexibility, and it provides socio-therapeutic employment for the Lehenhof as well as income for their sheltered people.