Q&A with Mengtao Pete He, PhD
Managing Partner, New Ventures Dev. | Business and Technology Consulting
What was your first memory of TSC?
In the summer of 2007, I visited in Dr. Jay Golden’s office in ASU discussing a potential way to truly measure a product’s overall sustainability and objectively compare different products for decision-making. Jay told me that there were a few colleagues from UARK and Walmart who shared similar interests, and Jay suggested that we should meet with them to further discuss. This little conversation led to Henkel’s involvement in TSC’s creation process from the very beginning. A year later, TSC’s kickoff meeting was jointly held at ASU and Henkel’s NA HQ in Arizona.
As the former Home and Personal Care co-chair: What was the most important thing TSC did for the HPC sector in those years?
TSC provided a science-based roadmap and tools for HPC sector to develop very important but challenging hot topics, such as chemical ingredients of environmental and human safety concerns. TSC also strategically designed and provided a platform where leaders from companies in competitive fields, NGOs, universities and government agencies can discuss and debate on those hot topics based not only on science but also on common sense and public interests.
Why is it important that home and personal care goods become more sustainable?
Around 60-70% of our GDP is consumer product related. Home and personal care product categories are very significant in people’s everyday lives. The amount of product consumption for the HPC categories are huge. So the manufacturing activities and consumer use of those products are having critical impacts, e.g., product packaging wastes and chemical toxicity, to the environment and human health.
What do you think is the future of more sustainable consumer goods?
Creative technology innovation and product design will gradually switch consumer behavior from the current status quo (e.g., heavily rely on plastic-based product packaging and petroleum-based chemical ingredients and energy for transportations).
About Mengtao Pete He
Pete is currently a managing partner of his own businesses, working with partners and investors on forming new ventures, and providing consulting services to global strategic clients. In 2016, Pete was the Vice President of Product Innovation at Tatcha LLC, a premium cosmetic / skin care startup based in SF Bay Area. He helped the company redesigned its innovation strategy and 3-year product pipeline, launched key new products including The Water Cream, one of the best sellers at Sephora, and built new external partnerships and internal business processes. Between 2008 and 2015, Pete was the Senior Research Fellow / Head of Sustainability at Henkel North America and led the company’s sustainability initiatives in Home and Personal Care (HPC) categories. Pete’s responsibilities and contributions in this role included delivering sustainability advantages through product innovations and supply chains, building alliances with external business partners, and directly engaging with consumers to promote sustainable consumption behaviors. Pete made significant contributions to the creation and expansion of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC). He was an elected TSC Board of Director and Co-chair of HPC Sector. Between 1999 and 2008, Pete served as the platform manager of new product development and technology acquisition at Henkel and Dial Corporation. Between 1993-1999, Pete served 6 years at Unilever PLC as principal processing engineer, group leader and senior scientist in skin care product. Pete holds more than 50 US patents. Many of his inventions turned into successful new products in the market. He successfully led many multidisciplinary new product development projects, from early strategy mapping and conceptual stages to final market launches, all while managing internal and external resources. Pete received his PhD in chemical engineering and MS in chemistry from University of Minnesota, and BS in chemistry from Peking University.