Founded in 1925 by an entrepreneur, Mr Crowe, and a chemist, Mr Dawe, from the beginning we have understood the growing part that science plays in everyday life. We continually build on our heritage with sustainability central to our thinking, turning exciting, often groundbreaking ideas into practical solutions that our customers use to enhance their products.
Our first manufacturing site was opened in the North of England in 1925. We still operate there today, although now our 4,200+ employees work across manufacturing sites and in offices in over 36 countries.
We were established to refine wool grease from the growing Yorkshire wool trade into lanolin. From this we have become a global speciality chemical company who create ingredients and technologies that deliver performance benefits to everyday products, which are used by industry and consumers.
The Early Years
Lanolin had been shown as an effective rust preventative, and our first decades of trading were dominated by markets in the engineering and automotive industries. World War Two brought contracts to supply items such as camouflage oils, insect repellents and gun cleaning oils, and as the war ended we diversified into new areas, most notably cosmetics. Today, we continue to seek out changing market requirements and create products that anticipate these new needs.
Post-war growth was led by our CEO Fred Wood, who took Croda to the USA in the 1950’s, establishing a sales office in New York. This laid the foundations for Croda Inc, which has two manufacturing sites and sales teams covering all of North America and Canada.
The 1970s and 1980s saw continuing organic growth and a series of acquisitions saw Croda diversifying into many new markets. We were manufacturing chemicals as well as; paints, printing inks, adhesives, dyestuffs and processing honey.
We recognised the dangers of diversifying and in the 1980s we went back what we do best: creating speciality ingredients from renewable resources.
The 1997 acquisition of Sederma brought us new capabilities in skincare active ingredients, and the acquisition of Uniqema from ICI in 2006 firmly established us as a global leader. Through the Uniqema acquisition, our manufacturing capabilities were strengthened especially with additional sites across Europe and Asia.
The 2011 creation of our Technologies Investment Group showed our continued commitment to innovation, looking specifically at new technology capture. The group lead the successful majority shareholder joint venture bid for Chinese based Sipo, marking our first manufacturing site in this large growth market.
For us, innovation and sustainability will always go together, more detail about our key innovations and sustainability milestones can be seen in our timeline.