Solvay Way, constantly improving how we do business

Solvay Way encompasses all aspects of the Group’s sustainable approach to doing business. It ensures that social and environmental implications are integrated into the company’s strategy, operations and decision-making. It is applied at all life cycle stages of Solvay’s products, including design, manufacture, consumption of resources, application, and end-of-life. It also takes into account the consequences for society of their manufacture and use.

The presidents of each global business unit and the function leaders are accountable for the effective implementation of Solvay Way across their businesses and functions. The deployment is supported and overseen by Solvay’s Sustainable Development function. Further, the Sustainable Development function runs a global network of more than 200 “Champions” and “correspondents" drawn from across all businesses and functions covering all key geographies. They play a key role in ensuring the deployment of the Solvay Way approach and the sharing of best practices and experiences, and promote collaborative working to ensure that processes and practices are continuously improved.

To drive improvement throughout the company, each business unit, research center, function, and production site conducts annual self-assessments by reference to the Solvay Way framework. The self-assessment findings are supplemented by the results from internal audits and from independent assurance reviews. Findings – encompassing lessons learned, best practices, strengths, and improvement opportunities – are shared across businesses and functions and motivate a culture of continuous improvement. The Sustainable Development function presents the key assessment results to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

Solvay Way, constantly improving how we do business – A continuous improvement process based on four scales

Solvay Way – Four steps (graphic)

Solvay Way, constantly improving how we do business – A continuous improvement process based on four scales


The entity is close to the benchmark of the profession. The improvement process is sustainable, the results are sustainable. The entity is recognized for its exemplary performance. All stakeholders adhere to the approach.


Action plans bring measurable progress. Their implementation is carried out and audited throughout the perimeter with details of lessons learned; employees are mobilized in their deployment.


The entity implements a structured, internal progress dynamic with stakeholders. Methods are used to set priorities. Resources are deployed and managers are mobilized in action plans.


The entity is essentially responsive to the expectations of stakeholders. An inventory is conducted.

Mobilizing employees at every level of the Company

Mobilizing employees at every level of the Company

Solvay Way – Chain of decision (graphic)

Board of Directors Executive Committee

  • Set the strategy
  • Monitor execution, inlcuding the Solvay Way annual self-assessments results

Corporate Sustainable Development function

  • Reports directly to the CEO
  • Consolidates the Solvay Way self-assessment
  • Presents the results to the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee

Champions and correspondents

  • Ensure the deployment of the Solvay Way process in 100% of Solvay’s sites, GBUs and Corporate Functions
  • Motivate their colleagues to fulfill precise objectives
  • Set action plans to improve their processes and practices


  • Assess the progress they have made
  • Identify directions for improvement by stakeholder group
  • Construct their improvement plans to better include sustainability in their entity

Solvay Way also provides a framework, consistent with ISO 26,000, based on stakeholder inputs on issues of sustainable development. Solvay has made 22 commitments to six major stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and the planet), translated into 49 associated practices. Solvay Way commitments are aligned with the interests identified for each stakeholder group, which are used as a reference to help guide its actions.

Solvay’s Sustainable Development function is responsible for implementing the findings and conclusions reached through dialog with stakeholders to achieve progress.

Sustainability integrated in the management processes

To ensure rapid progress, the Group has integrated the goals of sustainable development at every stage of people management and business cycle.

Solvay Way is integrated into its people management processes and its Code of Conduct. The Group’s compensation policy links 10% of the variable remuneration for all managers to Solvay Way assessment results. All employees benefit from an incentive linked to financial and extra-financial targets. For senior executives, 20% of Long Term Incentive will, with effect from January 2017, also be driven by improvement in the Group's greenhouse gas intensity.

Solvay Way allows for a deeper integration of the Group’s sustainability policy within the operational deployment of its strategy in the short, middle, and long term. For the business cycle, Solvay assesses current products (portfolio and processes) and future spending (innovation, acquisitions) as part of its one-year outlook, using the Sustainable Portfolio Management (SPM) methodology. Afterwards, all these elements are audited.

Within the five-year business strategic plan, both the SPM and Group targets performance will be challenged, priorities agreed, resources allocated, and improvement commitments secured.