Solvay last year developed five priorities for 2020 to answer to social, societal and environmental challenges:
To achieve excellence in safety, health and occupational hygiene for everyone on all our sites in 56 countries
To increase the share of our sales in markets or with activities meeting the requirements of sustainable development
To relentlessly improve the performance of our technologies, processes and products so as to avoid any harm and to limit their environmental impact throughout the lifecycle of our products
To lower greenhouse-gas emissions, energy and water consumption, to reduce negative impacts on soil, water, air quality and the use of resources
To develop rich and balanced social dialogue
As a first important step in its sustainability commitment, Solvay in 2013 signed a global agreement on social and environmental responsibility with the IndustriALL Global Union, which reflects the Group's aim to develop a rich and balanced dialogue with its employees and their representatives worldwide.
Another milestone was the launch of Solvay Way, the Group's pragmatic and ambitious sustainable development approach that is backed by a tool that measures progress. Solvay Way seeks to build a wide-based culture of responsibility among all employees. The Group's different global business units and all of its sites across 56 countries are to assess their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performance taking into account the expectations of their customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities and the planet. The results of the first assessment rounds are included in various parts of the present report.
Highlights of Solvay's 2013 Sustainable Development Report include:
Accidents with lost time per million working hours (LTAR) were 0.8 for the Group's employees and contractors. By comparison, the average LTAR for the EU chemical industry is currently around 6.
Solvay introduced an energy efficiency control program "Solwatt" to lower the Group's energy consumption. Overall energy intensity was cut by 4% since 2009.
In five years, the Group has cut its greenhouse gases emissions (GHG) by 12%, at constant activity perimeter, mainly due to the lowering of GHG other than CO2. Measures included purchases of lower carbon electricity, use of recycled wastes as fuel and the reduction of emissions of fluorinated gases. Improved energy efficiency of manufacturing processes also significantly contributed to limiting GHG emissions.
By the end of 2013, nearly two-thirds of Solvay's annual €9.9 billion revenues had been assessed from a market alignment perspective. Of those revenues, 36% met requirements of customers to improve their sustainability profile, and ultimately, led to environmental benefits for end-consumers.
Sustainability alignment of all Research & Innovation projects is part of the Group's processes: scarcity of resources, the fight against climate change, soaring consumption in high-growth parts of the world and new demands for environmental care, health and well-being are the megatrends that determine the main themes of Solvay's Research & Innovation policy.