Global population growth, increasing standards of living, and globalization have opened up many possibilities but at the same time, have brought many challenges: Ever scarcer raw materials and energy sources have to be spread over more and more people. Responsible and efficient use of the available resources is imperative for us, and all the more so for future generations.
Sustainability-based management significantly increases the Group’s competitiveness, generating value, which also addresses the capital markets’ requirements. This is a further reason why sustainability is firmly anchored in Clariant’s corporate strategy.
Long-term planning, not short-term thinking
Clariant believes it has a duty to use resources sparingly and respect the environment, from a pure business point of view apart from anything else. This also includes ensuring a sound and performance-enhancing working environment, guaranteeing mutual respect, and – where appropriate – participating in campaigns to improve the social climate.
Clariant has set itself the specific objectives of steadily reducing its relative consumption of water and energy, and generating less waste and pollutant emissions. In addition, plant safety is to be increased still further and products improved through ongoing research. By implementing its sustainability objectives, Clariant is assuming responsibility for the environment, its employees, its customers, and society, particularly through intensive and transparent communication with the relevant stakeholders.
Clariant’s focus on innovation also strengthens the company’s future economic viability. The company’s main opportunities here lie in the development of innovative products, including those based on renewable raw materials. Innovative products should, furthermore, minimize risks and waste in production. The optimization of internal processes is also in the interest of our customers, who benefit from tailored solutions.
Sustainability is very important at Clariant. This is demonstrated by the publication of the company’s detailed Sustainability Report, which received the GRI Level “A” for standards of reporting on sustainability from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in 2010. Through its product innovations and commitment to sustainability, Clariant is also making a contribution to mastering the global challenges of our time in process management. These challenges include sufficient food, water, and energy; effective climate protection; and securing quality of life for an ever increasing global population. Newly launched products which help to save energy and resources, such as brands like EcoTain®, or the products made under the CleanTech® label by Süd-Chemie, highlight Clariant’s orientation toward sustainable markets of the future.
You can find more detailed information on www.sustainability.clariant.com.
Sustainability made systematic, with detailed rules
Over the past years, Clariant has made considerable efforts to structure operational processes even more rigorously in line with sustainable management, align them with ambitious goals, and continuously optimize them. This is also reflected in the ESHA management system (Environmental, Safety, and Health Affairs), which forms part of our Group-wide process and strategy planning.
The management system includes a periodic compliance test of actual business performance and ongoing goal reviews. Clariant has a global and local emergency management system and can react to incidents immediately and with a high degree of effectiveness.
The Sustainability Council was implemented in business year 2011. It consists of representatives of the Business Units, Group functions, and business regions. The Council develops mid- to long-term goals and standards and evaluates the global challenges of sustainable development, in accordance with Clariant’s activities and product portfolio. This ensures that sustainability at Clariant is assessed and managed holistically.
Increased sustainability through international standards
As a leader in the specialty chemical industry, Clariant goes beyond legal requirements and participates in several voluntary sustainability programs, including voluntary commitments as part of Responsible Care® under the Global Responsible Care Charter and Global Product Strategy.
The guiding principle of these programs is continuous improvement of health, safety, and environmental protection as well as product quality from the point of view of sustainability. Accordingly, Clariant is certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 all over the world. All production facilities have to adhere rigorously to the applicable rules on environmentally friendly and safe operations.
Life cycle thinking delivers far-reaching sustainability
To ensure sustainability from the initial product idea through production to the product’s application by the customer, Clariant has extended the life cycle concept to the entire process chain. At Clariant, environmental protection begins in product design and development. Taking both ecological and economic aspects into account, we examine raw materials and the manufacture, distribution, usage, and disposal of products, and take into account potential criteria for eco-efficiency. This aims to make the manufacture and application of products safer from the point of view of health and the environment – particularly by replacing scarce resources with bio-based, renewable raw materials.
Clariant also pursues a clearly defined philosophy in resource management. In a subsequent stage, the energy required for production is determined by means of a detailed input-output analysis. In accordance with that analysis, operational excellence criteria, and optimization potential in the process or product itself, are established.
The same procedure is applied to air emissions and water contamination. Production does not start until the optimum balance of requirements feasible according to the state of the art is found. This approach has helped Clariant make measurable improvements in virtually all environmental areas in past years. Risks inherent in production facilities are systematically ascertained and analyzed in order to determine and realize potential for improvement.
Clariant works very closely with its customers to ensure safe and efficient product handling. Optimum applications and processes are discussed. Possible interactions with other chemicals used must be taken into account since life cycle thinking also includes dealing with the environmental impact of a product manufactured by Clariant after it is used. To this end, environmental compatibility and recyclability of residual materials are investigated; the aim is to eliminate negative effects or at least reduce them to the greatest extent possible.
Respectable performance on environmental issues
Clariant has made improvements according to key environmental indicators in the last few years, with the absolute consumption of energy, resources and emissions falling considerably in some areas. This can be attributed to Clariant’s deploying increasingly efficient production processes, but also to the fact that sales and therefore production fell sharply in 2008 and 2009.
The recovery of the global economy in 2010 and the first half of 2011 has seen Clariant’s manufacturing output rise substantially again, a fact inevitably reflected in absolute terms in the relevant environmental indicators. However, relative consumption and relative pollution continued to fall. For example, carbon dioxide emissions per tonne of volume produced have fallen substantially – by approximately 50 percent – since 2005, to less than 120 kilograms in 2011.
All these efforts are aimed at enabling Clariant to pay shareholders a reasonable return on their invested capital over the long term. The Sustainability Report 2011 contains a detailed overview with many facts, figures, and product examples.
Additional sales and earnings potential from sustainability focus
The strong commitment of everyone in the Clariant Group to manage sustainability and at the same time respond to customer needs generates a high level of additional sales and earnings potential. Many of the innovations the Group develops on the basis of sustainability address future megatrends such as environmental protection, energy efficiency, resource management and renewable energy sources.