Our Sustainability Concept
We implement our corporate purpose – We create chemistry for a sustainable future – by systematically incorporating sustainability into our strategy, our business, and into our assessment, steering and compensation systems. We secure our long-term success with products, solutions and technologies that create value added for the environment, society and the economy.
Sustainability is at the core of what we do and a driver for growth and value. Analyzing our contributions to sustainability also enables us to manage risks effectively. We pursue a holistic sustainability approach that covers the entire value chain – from our suppliers and our own activities to our customers. We have formulated commitments for our conduct along the value chain and underpinned these with corresponding targets and measures.
Based on our corporate strategy and the global targets derived from this, we steer the sustainability targets (reduce absolute CO2 emissions1 by 25% by 2030 compared with baseline 2018 and achieve €22 billion in Accelerator2 sales by 2025) as most important key performance indicators. To this end, we have established the necessary steering mechanisms and control systems at Group level. Our global activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include using renewable energies for both electricity and steam production, developing and applying new low-carbon production processes, using renewable raw materials, and ongoing measures to further increase energy and resource efficiency in our production. We use the Sustainable Solution Steering method to improve the sustainability contributions of our product portfolio along the value chain. To assess the sustainability performance of our products and identify solutions with a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain, we regularly reassess our product portfolio. We already reached our 2025 sales target for Accelerator products in 2021. Consequently, we will update our product portfolio steering target over the course of 2022.
In addition to the climate protection and Accelerator sales targets, we have set ourselves further sustainability goals. A particular focus is the circular economy due to its strong connection to climate protection. We have defined further targets on water management, responsible procurement, engaged employees, women in leadership positions, occupational health and safety, and process safety.
We have also set up a project organization to achieve our climate protection targets. The new Net Zero Accelerator unit concentrates on implementing and accelerating projects on low-carbon production technologies, the circular economy and renewable energies.
As a co-founder of the U.N. Global Compact and a recognized LEAD company, we contribute to the implementation of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. Our products, solutions and technologies help to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and SDG 13 (Climate action). To prioritize these, internal experts assessed the impacts and positive contributions of our products, our corporate targets and strategic action areas. The Value to Society method is used to measure the contribution of our activities along the value chain. This assesses our positive and negative impacts on the environment, society and the economy.
We identify key sustainability topics with our comprehensive materiality analysis. The graphic shows how we assess relevant topics. Here, we take into account topics that we have an impact on, topics that have an impact on us, and topics that our stakeholders consider important to us. The topics identified based on these three dimensions of materiality are: climate and energy, health and safety / product stewardship, water, emissions to air and soil, resource efficiency and waste, biodiversity, human rights, employment and diversity.
Identifying and assessing sustainability topics3, 4
1 The target includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Other greenhouse gases are converted into CO2 equivalents in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In March 2021, we replaced our previous target of CO2-neutral growth until 2030 (baseline 2018: 21.9 million metric tons of CO2e) with a new, more ambitious climate protection target to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 25% compared with 2018 (new target: 16.4 million metric tons of CO2e).
2 Accelerator products make a substantial sustainability contribution in the value chain.
3 Our stakeholders also confirmed the materiality of the nonfinancial topics that the Value to Society method identified as having an impact along the value chain.
4 Quantitative thresholds for defining material topics have not been set due to the complexity of the assessment methods used for each dimension of materiality. The final list of topics is based on an expert comparison of the results of all the assessment approaches described.