Performance is measured and assessed regularly, and the extent of progress affects Short Term Incentive Plans for both leaders and employees.

Solvay One Planet extra financial results

Solvay increased and broadened its ESG commitments in 2020.  This is an integral element of the G.R.O.W. strategy and is directly aligned with its Purpose of bonding people, ideas, and elements to reinvent progress.

Solvay’s ambitions center around three main pillars, including climate change, resource scarcity and promoting a better life. These are fully embedded into Solvay’s key decisions.

Solvay made good progress on many of these initiatives during 2020, though results reflect the combination of structural improvements and the temporary decline in economic activity levels.

2020 progress update

Overall progress on extra financial targets
 

2018 baseline

2019

2020

Progress
vs 2018

2030 targets
vs 2018

Align greenhouse gas emissions
with Paris Agreement and SBTi

12.6* Mt

12.0 Mt

10.1 Mt 

-20%   
(-8% structural)

Reduce by 26% (-2%/yr)

Phase out coal
wherever renewable alternatives exist  
(PJ = Petajoule)

33 PJ

32 PJ

27 PJ
 

-18%

Achieve 100%

Reduce negative pressure on
Biodiversity**

121.9

116.2

107 

-12%

Reduce by 30% 

Increase sustainable solutions
% of Group sales 

50%

53%

52% 

+2pp

Achieve 65%

Increase circular economy***
% of Group sales

NA

4%

5%

+1pp

More than double

Reduce non-recoverable industrial waste

96 kt

96 kt

70 kt

-27%

Reduce by 30% 

Reduce intake of freshwater

330Mm³

327Mm³

313Mm³

-5%

Reduce by 25% 

Safety with a zero accident policy (MTAR indicator)

0.54

0.44

0.40

-26%

Aim for zero

Accelerate inclusion & diversity
parity in mid & senior management

23.7%

24.3%

24.6%

+0.9pp

Achieve 50% by 2035

Gender equality 
extend maternity leave                          

     

In place

16 weeks open to all co-parents 

* Restated from 12.3 Mt due to IFRS change in scope
** ReCiPe method for biodiversity impact assessment (under development)
*** Circular economy indicators have been adapted to align with the Circulytics® developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Progress on protecting Climate
 

2018 baseline

2019

2020

Progress
vs 2018

2030 targets
vs 2018

Align greenhouse gas emissions
with Paris Agreement and SBTi

12.6* Mt

12.0Mt

10.1Mt 

-20%   
(-8% structural)

Reduce by 26% (-2%/yr)

Phase out coal
wherever renewable alternatives exist  
(PJ = Petajoule)

33 PJ

32 PJ

27 PJ
 

-18%

Achieve 100%

Reduce negative pressure on
Biodiversity**

121.9

116.2

107 

-12%

Reduce by 30% 

* Restated from 12.3 Mt due to IFRS change in scope
** ReCiPe method for biodiversity impact assessment (under development)

 

Solvay actions to protect climate 

Solvay committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in alignment with the Paris agreement (well-below 2°C). In addition, under SBTi, Solvay is developing plans to further reduce emissions  with its customers and suppliers (scope 3) throughout the value chain. Approximately 40% of the improvement in GHG emissions between 2018 and 2020  is related to structural improvements from energy transition projects, the balance reflecting temporarily lower activity levels.  

As part of its transition to cleaner energy sources, Solvay initiated 28 emission reduction projects that represent an annual reduction of 1.8 million tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road. Eighteen of these projects are already operational today. The remaining nine projects will be implemented within the next three years. For example, Solvay’s soda ash plant in Rheinberg, Germany, is switching from coal to biomass, reducing the site’s CO2 emissions by more than 30%, and will be operational in Q2 2021. Such projects are both value-accretive and further de-risk our operations.

Progress on preserving Resources
 

2018
baseline

2019

2020

Progress
vs 2018

2030 targets
vs 2018

Increase sustainable solutions
% of Group sales 

50%

53%

52% 

+2pp

Achieve 65%

Increase circular economy***
% of Group sales

NA

4%

5%

+1pp

More than double

Reduce non-recoverable industrial waste

96 kt

96 kt

70 kt

-27%

Reduce by 30% 

Reduce intake of freshwater

330Mm³

327Mm³

313Mm³

-5%

Reduce by 25% 

*** Circular economy indicators have been adapted to align with the Circulytics® developed by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Solvay actions to preserve resources  

Solvay is committed to shift its portfolio toward opportunities that increase the amount of sustainable solutions. Growth of sustainable solutions on average are 3% higher than the average growth of the portfolio. In 2020, the evolution of sustainable solutions was affected by the temporary impacts of reduced activity levels in specific markets due to the Covid-19 crisis. Yet, new innovations were launched that include Actizone™ antimicrobial cleaning technology, AquivionⓇ for hydrogen fuel cell membranes, and Rhodasurf6 NAT, a natural-based nonionic surfactant.  Solvay will continue to leverage its investments in innovation to develop more sustainable solutions, which is directly aligned with customer requests. 

Enabling circularity is a key part of Solvay’s resource ambition, including working collaboratively with customers, suppliers and organizations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, amongst others. In 2020, Solvay has established a partnership with Veolia to enable the recycling of battery materials by developing new chemical recycling processes. Solvay also established a partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical to find solutions for recycling advanced materials, such as Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which are used in many long-term implantable medical devices.  

Another example of circularity is within the Aroma business, where Solvay’s natural RhovanilⓇ brand is derived from rice bran oil by extracting ferulic acid and fermenting it to obtain vanillin, a natural alternative to beans which are limited in supply. The high demand for this ingredient from the food and flavor industry supports our decision to expand production in France (St Fons) by doubling our capacity for the second time.

Progress on fostering a Better life
 

2018
baseline

2019

2020

Progress
vs 2018

2030 targets
vs 2018

Safety 
with a zero accident policy (MTAR indicator)

0.54

0.44

0.40

-26%

Aim for zero

Accelerate inclusion & diversity
parity in mid & senior management

23.7%

24.3%

24.6%

+0.9pp

Achieve 50% by 2035

Gender equality 
extend maternity leave                          

     

In place

16 weeks open to all co-parents 

 

Solvay actions to foster a better life

One of the immediate measures taken to adapt to the crisis was a teleworking plan involving more than 10,000 people working remotely to promote a safe working environment. Further, stringent safety protocols were implemented to secure the health of all operatives on industrial sites.  More importantly, and in the spirit of Better Life, the Covid-19 pandemic brought out the best of Solvay, as many of its technologies were deemed to be essential during 2020.  In addition to supplying critical supplies to communities, Solvay launched a Solidarity Fund with the financial support of shareholders, directors, CEO and Executive managers, management and employees to support Solvay employees and dependents who experienced hardship due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Together, €15 million was raised. To date, support has been provided to over 1,600 families, including donations to communities in Bulgaria, educational support to women and children, and Guar farmers in India. Solvay uses Guar, a biofriendly ingredient, to develop solutions for the personal care market. 

Investing in human capital is a clear priority for Solvay, as it supports all of its stakeholders and as such is one of its greatest investments.

 

Incorporating ESG and sustainability factors into our long-term strategy

In addition to improving sustainability in our portfolio, operations and workplace, we take into consideration our impact on the entire value chain, from sourcing to customers and recycling. Through our new sustainability plan Solvay One Planet, we further focus on 10 measurable commitments where we have the biggest positive impact, directly and indirectly, in line with the ambition and requirements of the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

That’s how we are going to enhance our positive impact on some of the most pressing planetary issues and pave the way for a circular economy.

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