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.
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.
Star Factory is a unique journey for all stakeholders, empowering our employees and maximizing our customers’ satisfaction.
The "Star" of Star Factory: the five axes of the program
2023 Star Factory accomplishments:
50% of sites started the journey
€37mn savings delivered
>300 kT of CO2 emissions abated
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.
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).
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.
Historical performance indicators:
GHG Scope 1-2 (Mt eq CO₂)
Solid fuels (PJ)
% of women in senior and middle management
Occupational safety - RIIR (per 200,000 hours)
GHG Scope 3 (“focus five” categories, in Mt eq CO2): Approximately 15.8 Mt in 2021
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.
Independent ratings of our performance*
A- climate rating
70% (TOP 6%)
*Ratings were confirmed within the previous Solvay scope prior to the spin off of Syensqo