Our objectives by 2025 for a sustainable chemistry

5 sustainability objectives


For Solvay, “Asking more from Chemistry” means being responsible in the way we act, innovate, generate value for our key stakeholders, and contribute broadly to science and society.

Responsibility is a fundamental part of our identity. It is a value that manifests itself in our key choices and actions. 

Our first scope of responsibility is the way our people manage our sites through Solvay Way.

We have three key indicators:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Safety
  • People engagement


We consider that we also have an impact in the way we manage our product portfolio. We create innovative sustainable solutions that should help our customers and society to answer today’s challenges. Our role is to turn these challenges into sustainable market opportunities, which in turn will help to propel our revenue and earnings growth over time.

We have one key indicator:

  • Sustainable solutions


Our conviction is that we are able to create economic value and that this value is indeed enhanced as we make both scientific and social progress. It is our firm belief that, as a responsible chemist, our broader contribution to society will ensure that our leadership positions are enhanced.

We have one key indicator:

  • Societal actions



Divide the number of accidents at work by two

safety target online

The Group will continue to make safety at work for its employees and contractors on its sites, an absolute priority.

To reach this ambitious objective, Solvay plan to manage safety in a responsible way, based on people involvement with the internal Safety Excellence Program, and a continuous improvement plan.


Our 2017 performance


In 2017, one fatal accident occured at our facility in Devnya, Bulgaria.

After a steady safety performance for two years, the number of medical treatment accidents fell 24% in 2017. However, the fatal accident in Bulgaria reminds us of the challenges we face.

We focus on engagement as a way of reducing the number of people injured at our sites. Engagement activities we have pursued this year include Leadership Safety Visits (over 1,350 in 2017); Safety Days to stimulate interactions relating to HSE; and Safety Climate diagnostics, in which we discuss the onsite safety culture with employees.

Raise the commitment of employees to 80%

People engagement target

The men and women who work at Solvay are the Group’s most important asset. Their level of commitment is a key factor for Solvay.

People commitment can be defined as:
  • the degree to which employees think, feel and act in ways that represent high levels of enthusiasm and commitment to the stakeholders of the organization;
  • the extent to which employees are willing to contribute their knowledge, skills, abilities, and effort to help an organization succeed
Solvay's Engagement Index measures the commitment of employees in a Group-wide triennial survey addressing everyone "the Pulse Survey".

Our 2017 performance


A “pulse survey” was carried out to ask all Solvay employees about their satisfaction at work. Satisfaction and pride remain high. Key areas for improvement include greater recognition for work done, and sharing of best practices among entities.

Stress prevention and management: four practices are in place at over 50% of sites, including access to an employee assistance program.

Diversity & Inclusion initiatives focus on 3 areas: fostering awareness through numerous Diversity & Inclusion workshops and specific local actions; trainings and development programs focusing on inclusive behaviors and leadership by women; challenging HR processes, i.e. the hiring process, succession planning.



Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 1 Mt CO2 

At Solvay, we strongly believe that no sustainable growth can be achieved at the expense of the planet. 




Solvay’s commitment to fight climate change 

No sustainable growth can be achieved at the expense of the planet.
Solvay is uncoupling growth and emissions. By doing that, the Group marks its desire to accelerate the transformation of its sustainable chemistry model.


Step one: setting the target

In 2015 Solvay announced an objective to reduce the GreenHouse Gas (GHG) intensity* of its operations by 40% over 10 years (by 2025 vs. 2014 level). 

In 2018, 3 years later, Solvay has both grown its business and decreased its GHG intensity by 32%.


Step two: performing above average

September 2018, Solvay launched a new step with a new target - Solvay committed to reducing its absolute GHG emissions of its operations by 1 Mt CO2 by 2025, compared with the 2017 level, at constant scope. Effectively fighting global warming requires decreasing GHG emissions in absolute value.

Solvay is disconnecting its GHG emissions from its growth prospects. 

To achieve its objective, Solvay will be stepping up its Solwatt® energy efficiency program, continuously optimizing its industrial processes, developing clean technologies and increasing the share of renewables in its energy production and supply.
Furthermore, Solvay sets an internal price for CO2 at 25 euros per tonne since the 1 January 2016 to take into account climate challenges in its investment decisions.
This commitment is putting Solvay at the forefront of the chemical industry in the fight against climate change, with the hope its level of ambition will soon spread throughout the industry.

An externally verified and structured greenhouse gas emission reporting system and the response to rating agencies such as the Carbon Disclosure project helps the Group to align its efforts on the effectiveness of its greenhouse gas challenges.

*The greenhouse gas intensity is a ratio between Solvay's greenhouse gas emissions and its EBITDA.


Our 2017 performance

In 2017, our GHG intensity fell 4.4%, thanks to:

  • Ebitda improvement of activities for a significant part
  • New lasting emission reductions (150,000t CO2) relating to our Solwatt energy and CO2 efficiency program (deployed in 70 sites worldwide), new biomass-based heat production, and process improvement projects.

Over the last two last years, we have achieved a 24% reduction, exceeding our target for 2018.


Step three: raising the value of sustainability 

We enhanced our greenhouse gas reduction goal even further linking our sustainable purposes directly with our financial ones. 

Solvay has agreed new terms in an existing €2 billion revolving credit facility, linking the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases. Solvay concluded this positive incentive agreement with its syndicate of nine banks.

How does it work?  In September 2018  we committed to cut greenhouse gases from our own operations by 1 million tonnes by 2025 relative to 2017 levels, thereby decoupling for the first time this new target from earnings growth. The Group intends to achieve this reduction by further improving energy efficiency, energy mix and by investing in clean technologies.

Along with BNP Paribas Fortis, Solvay’s long-term banking partners, the financial organization participating in the revolving credit facility are Citibank, Commerzbank, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, ING, JPMorgan Chase Bank, KBC Bank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Access full press release.

Open letter to the US President

30 CEOs of large american companies or with significant operations in the United States express their strong support for the USA remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement.

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Generate 50% of revenues with solutions addressing the challenges of sustainable development

Business solution target

Demographic shifts, resource scarcity, evolving consumer behavior, faster innovation... Our planet is facing major issues. We believe innovative chemistry holds the sustainable solutions for future generations.


Thanks to Solvay’s “Sustainable Portfolio Management” (SPM) analysis tool, the Group identify opportunities where of its innovation and business portfolio addresses the challenges of sustainable development. With a strong Life Cycle thinking focus, it combines an analysis of Solvay's product environmental footprint and the needs for sustainability in the marketplace.

Our 2017 performance


At the end of 2017, 49% of our net sales were classified as “Sustainable Solutions”, significantly exceeding the objective, which reflects higher growth in this part of the portfolio.

Changes in the scope of the portfolio (positive impact of the Cytec acquisition and divestment of less aligned businesses) explain most of the progress; innovation programs aimed at developing more sustainable solutions also contributed.

Double the number of employees involved in societal actions

societal actions target

The Group aims to strengthen this commitment by facilitating employee involvement in projects that serve the Society and by offering Solvay’s expertise to regions where the Group operates.

Societal actions are how we create shared social value along with economic value. We as people and as an organization need to contribute to the society in which we live and lead by example. 

At Group level, Solvay focuses funding on Science, Youth employment and Education. We also support humanitarian work in response to a particular event and/or where our products or services are of particular value.

At local level, Solvay sites and employees dedicate time, materials and financial support to local communities. They provide indirect and direct added value for the local economy, environment and employment, and support local charities and social initiatives.

A 2015 internal survey showed that around 5,500 Solvay employees have already participated in at least one a societal action at their site.

“There are a number of local initiatives that Solvay does based on what we stand for: education, science and local community support. We aim to facilitate and develop these initiatives as a key part of our commitment to answer societal challenges."  Pascal Juery , Comex Member