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Sustainability at Solvay

Sustainability

Having a positive impact on society and the environment

Our founder Ernest Solvay was at the forefront of social responsibility and we are continuing his legacy by putting sustainability at the heart of what we do. We understand the positive impact it can have on society and our business. Not only is it beneficial to people as well as the environment, but it also helps our business maintain its market-leading position. 

Making progress on sustainability

In 2023, we made great progress against our mission of improved sustainability. In April, we began testing e.Solvay – a new technology aimed at sustainably producing soda ash. By June, we were already seeing positive results, signifying an exciting step towards reinventing the process that made us who we are today. Working with Corre Energy we also became involved in addressing renewable electricity intermittency in Europe, providing salt caverns as storage for clean energy. 

The year saw two more firsts. We developed Europe's first hub for rare earth permanent magnets in partnership with Cyclic Materials and Hastings, as well as the first hub for the production of green hydrogen peroxide in collaboration with Sapio. The latter is set to be completed by 2026. We’ve also been focusing on developing  bio-circular silica for green tires in Europe, with production expected to start by the end of 2024 and plans to expand into North America. 

To help nurture future minds in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and inspire the next generation of scientific explorers, we also launched the first Solvay-CERN education camp. The initiative was created in partnership with CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.

Our key targets

Solvay is committed to enhancing sustainability across two main areas: Climate and Better Life. We regularly set and review targets for environmental and social initiatives and implement governance to ensure we achieve what we set out to do. Our sustainability objectives include: 

  • Environmental initiatives: Taking steps to mitigate climate change by supporting the energy transition and drawing on process innovation to help us become carbon neutral by 2050. 
  • Social initiatives: Improving the health and welfare of our employees and communities around the world. 
  • Governance: Using a robust ethics and compliance framework – complete with suitable processes, competencies, and oversight – to integrate our sustainability commitments into our business and reporting. 

Climate

It’s our aim for Solvay to become fully carbon neutral by 2050. To help us get there, we’re aiming to reduce scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions from our own sites by 30% and cut emissions across our value chain by 20% – both by 2030 (compared to 2021). We’re also working to phase out thermal coal by 2030 (where renewable alternatives exist).

Nature

Solvay is dedicated to protecting nature, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting biodiversity in the areas where we operate around the globe. From implementing biodiversity action plans and improving our waste management to prioritizing water stewardship: discover the steps we’re taking to minimize our environmental footprint and care for the natural world. 

Better life

Solvay is committed to workplace safety and we have made zero accidents one of our Better Life objectives. We also believe that the strongest teams are diverse teams and are aiming for gender parity in mid and top management roles within the next 10 years. Our commitment to improving the lives of our teams includes ensuring we pay a living wage to all of our employees by 2026.

Successful close of Solvay One Planet*

Solvay one planet close

Sustainable Finance Disclosure regulation (SFDR) Principal Adverse Impact (PAI) Indicators 

Solvay reports on PAI indicators to help investors with their reporting linked to the EU SFDR.

Environmental indicators  

 PAI DescriptionMetric2023
Greenhouse gas emissions
 GHG emissions

Scope 1 (MTCO2)

6.7

  

Scope 2 (MTCO2)

0.6

  

Scope 3 (MTCO2)

14.0

  

Total GHG Emissions  (MTCO2)

21.3

 Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint (MTCO2)

21.3

 GHG Intensity 

GHG Intensity (Scope 1+ 2 + 3) per revenues  (MTCO2/M€)

3,519

 Exposure to Fossil fuels

Investment in companies active in the fossil fuels (%)

0%

 Share of non-renewable energy

% of consumption and production on non-renewable energy sources

91.3

 Energy consumption intensity

Energy consumption in GWh per million EUR of revenue of investee companies, per high impact climate sector

4.5

Biodiversity
 Activities negatively affecting biodiversity sensitive areas

Sites/operations located in or near to biodiversity areas where activities negatively affect those areas

36

Water
 Emissions to Water

Tonnes of emissions to water generated(T)

4,448,880

Hazardous waste ratio
 Hazardous waste ratio

Tonnes of hazardous waste generated (T)

1,391,649

Social indicators 

 PAI DescriptionMetric2023
Social and employee matters
 UNGC/OECD Violations 

Involvement in violations of the UNGC principles or OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

N

 Lack of processes to monitor compliance with UNGC/OECD

Lack of policies to monitor compliance with the UNGC principles or OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises or complaints handling mechanisms to address violations of those principles (%)

COBI, training program  in place (2023 AIR)

 Unadjusted gender pay gap

Average unadjusted gender pay gap (%)

10.8%

 Board gender diversity

Average ratio of female to male board members(%)

30%

 Exposure to controversial weapons

Involvement in the manufacture/selling of controversial weapons

Driving long-term sustainable growth

Our Sustainable Portfolio Management (SPM) tool helps us align our business strategy with sustainable practices – ensuring we make a positive contribution to the environment and society, while maintaining our profitability and competitiveness. Every year, we run SPM assessments to gauge the market’s understanding of the sustainability of our businesses. More than 80% of the company's revenue and future spending projects are included in these evaluations.

Learn more

The Star Factory program

We have also committed all of our production sites to participate in the Star Factory program which aims to notably improve the sustainability of our operations. Half of our sites have already signed up for Star Factory, which launched in 2021. The program involves creating a detailed 10-year sustainability roadmap for each of our manufacturing sites, incorporating aspects such as energy efficiency, waste management, and the preservation of natural resources. 

Learn more