Solvay Way illustrates how the Company integrates social, societal, environmental, and economic factors into its management, strategy, decision-making, and operating practices, with the objective of creating value that stands the test of time.

Acting for More Future with Solvay Way

Solvay Way, constantly improving how we do business

Solvay Way encompasses all aspects of the Company’s sustainable approach to doing business. It is applied at every stage of a Solvay product’s life cycle, including design, manufacture, resource consumption, application, and end-of-life. It also takes into account the societal impact of how they are made and used. This approach ensures a sustainable value creation shared by all the Group’s stakeholders.

Solvay Way is based on a challenging framework, with a rigorous approach that incorporates ISO 26000 key guidance. Solvay has made 23 commitments to six major stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, communities, and the planet), translated into 48 associated practices. Solvay Way commitments are aligned with the interests identified for each stakeholder group.

Solvay Way commitments and practices

To drive improvement throughout the company, each global business unit, research center, function, and production site conducts annual self-assessments guided by the Solvay Way framework. From managers to operators, every Group employee has a part to play in the Solvay Way responsibility approach. Self-assessment findings – encompassing lessons learned, best practices, strengths, and improvement opportunities – help entities measure their progress in sustainable development for each stakeholder group and construct their improvement plans.

Accountability through self-assessment

Global business unit presidents and function leaders are accountable for effectively implementing Solvay Way across their businesses and functions. Solvay Way is deployed by a network of more than 200 “Champions” and “Correspondents”. The network of “Champions” operating at the business and function level is assisted locally by a team of “Correspondents”. They play a key role in deploying the Solvay Way approach and sharing best practices and experiences, and they promote collaborative work habits to ensure that processes and practices are continuously improved.

This network is coordinated and supervised by Solvay’s Sustainable Development function, which informs them of stakeholder needs and reports directly to the CEO. Solvay’s Sustainable Development function is also responsible for making improvements by implementing the findings and conclusions reached through dialog with stakeholders. The key assessment results are presented each year to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

Driving sustainability

2017 Solvay Way performance

Every Solvay employee is responsible for the success of Solvay Way, and everyone is asked to take the Group’s sustainable development objectives on board through their behavior or personal involvement. In 2017, 44% of Solvay employees working at industrial and Research and Innovation sites took part in actions related to Health, Safety and Environment (HSE), social, and local community projects. This strong involvement shows that employees are interested in Solvay’s sustainable development approach.


of employees involved


of improvement in CSR practices


of sites, GBU and Functions

Solvay Way gives each Group entity the tools it needs to assess and improve its CSR practices using a ranking system with four performance levels. Each entity has to position its level on a scale from 0 to 4 based on its implementation of Solvay Way practices. Entities, which has a practice level lower than 1, has to define and implement an action plan in order to reach at least the level 1 within the year.

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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.


Essentially, the entity is responsive to the expectations of stakeholders. An inventory is conducted.

In 2017, all GBUs and corporate functions carried out a self-assessment involving 133 industrial sites, 8 R&I sites, and the 11 major administrative sites. The Solvay Way spider chart below shows the results of these self-assessments.

The Internal Audits corporate team checks the self-assessment process annually (11 sites in 2017). The self-assessment findings are supplemented by the results from internal audits and independent assurance reviews.

2017 Solvay Way Group profile

2016 Solvay Way Group profile (graphic)

The Solvay Way Group profile is determined by the arithmetic average of Solvay site, function, and GBU self-assessments with respect to 48 practices. In order to enable a comparison between 2016 and 2017, the 2016 Solvay Way profile has been restated for the Employees, Planet and Suppliers stakeholders (4 new practices set as 0 and 3 practices removed). Composite Materials and Technology Solutions have been integrated in the 2017 Solvay Way Group profile. Acetow and Emerging Biochemicals have been excluded. Performance Polyamides is included in the 2017 Solvay Way Group profile.

Correlation between the SPM analysis and sales growth

Solvay’s Solutions demonstrate higher growth than the Challenges, at +3% vs -2% reduction.

More on Solvay's Sustainable Portfolio Management

Solvay Cares

In 2017, Solvay signed an agreement with its employee representatives setting minimum worldwide social standards which apply across the entire Group.

Solvay sets minimum social coverage standard through “Solvay Cares” for all its employees worldwide

Solvay becomes the Foundation’s Global Partner for the chemical sector

Solvay and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation sealed a three-year partnership to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

Solvay and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation seal three-year partnership to accelerate the transition to a circular economy

Solvay back in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index

I congratulate Solvay wholeheartedly for being included in The Sustainability Yearbook 2018. The companies included in the Yearbook are the world’s most sustainable companies in their industry and are moving the ESG needle in ways that will help us realize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Aris PrepoudisCEO, RobecoSAM

Solvay makes comeback into the Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Solvay recognizes Mondi’s remarkable sustainable performance

Solvay recognized Mondi as its best supplier in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The award is based on rankings by EcoVadis in 2017, a company that monitors sustainability in global supply chains.

More on Solvay's supply chain management

Dialogue with local communities

70% of the industrial sites have a working group that defines the major issues facing the region and which relevant societal actions the site will take.

More on local societal actions