2022 Annual Integrated Report
For generations to come
In 2022, Solvay delivered on and went beyond our commitments while operating in a challenging environment marked by the energy crisis and inflation, logistics issues and the global urgency to tackle climate change. Our record-breaking financial results are testament to our successful transformation, which we delivered three years ahead of schedule, and we are progressing faster than planned on our Solvay One Planet sustainability commitments. We invested record amounts to support sustainable growth and advance toward carbon neutrality, while continuing to develop a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) mindset. Our Annual Integrated Report explains how, with these solid foundations in place, we are ready to enter the next phase in our history and redefine our growth potential, by reinventing progress for generations to come.
Fit to create two strong industry leaders
“Over the past four years, we have accelerated our journey to transform and simplify Solvay. Today, we have created the perfect conditions to ensure we are future-ready, combining a high-performing culture, talented people, compelling business results, a robust capital structure and ambitious projects. We are now capable of reaching new heights and are looking toward an exciting new future, celebrating our heritage, while passing on our legacy as we separate into two formidable new companies that will be leaders in their respective fields – EssentialCo and SpecialtyCo.” Ilham Kadri, Solvay CEO
Record results to build on future growth
"I am proud of our teams as they overcame headwinds to deliver outstanding results in 2022, with records on many fronts – EBITDA, margins, cash and returns. Our balance sheet is strong and we are investing to drive growth and accelerate our path towards carbon neutrality. The best is ahead of us." Karim Hajjar, Member of the Executive Leadership Team, Chief Financial Officer
Investing record amounts to support sustainable growth
2022 was an exceptional year for investments, with more than €1 billion invested to unleash growth and power our energy transition. We expanded production capacity to meet growing demand in strategic markets like clean mobility, with investments in new PVDF capacity for electric vehicle batteries in all regions. We also invested in a new electronic-grade hydrogen peroxide (eH2O2) facility at our site in Arizona, to help supply the growing US semiconductor market. We increased capacity for sodium bicarbonate in Bulgaria, and invested in the vertical integration of natural vanillin. We announced major investments to phase out coal at our soda ash plants and implemented an innovative new technology to cut process emissions at our Green River, Wyoming site in the US.
Reinventing our processes to make them more sustainable
We have reinvented our 160-year-old soda ash manufacturing process and are currently piloting this new innovation at our Dombasle site, in France. The development will enable us to reduce CO2 emissions from soda ash production by 50%, while consuming less resources and significantly reducing limestone residues. This breakthrough will cement our position as the leading force in soda ash and sodium bicarbonate, and the partner of choice for our customers, and will enable us to achieve our ambition to make this business carbon neutral by 2050.
“As the new process we have developed is more competitive and sustainable, all 'synthetic' soda ash producers will have adopted it within the next two decades”. Philippe Kehren, President, Soda ash and derivatives
Our Star Factory program is also helping us to transform the capabilities and operational efficiency of our plants to make them an industry benchmark in terms of sustainability and performance.
Big steps toward reaching carbon neutrality
In four years, we have reduced Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 19%, of which 15% was structural – almost twice the target set by the Paris Climate Agreement. In 2022, we advanced toward carbon neutrality by adding 23 emissions reduction projects, bringing our worldwide total to 59. These address phasing out coal from energy production at four plants and significantly progressing renewable energy to power our operations. We also introduced a target to reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 24% by 2030 and our climate objectives were validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in early 2023.
More sustainable, circular solutions
In 2022, 9% of Group sales were circular, progressing faster than average growth. We continued to develop solutions that reduce global resource consumption, like renewable products that make home and beauty care circular, and partnerships to accelerate the circular economy, such as using biotechnology to create a more circular plastics economy. Our newly-created growth platform, focused on renewable materials and biotechnology, will also help us to do this, meeting growing demand for sustainable and circular solutions in a range of markets, while developing new business opportunities.
Advancing our DEI mindset
In 2022, we made significant progress in embedding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into our company culture, launching a number of different initiatives. These included setting up a new senior leadership team to promote inclusive leadership, expanding our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and taking action to reduce the gender pay gap. We also made DEI the focus of our annual Citizen Day, which involved more than 100 sites across the world, and included the DEI roadmap within the 15% Solvay One Planet part of the Short Term Incentive.