- GRI disclosures
In 2017, Solvay continued to make progress. Our solid results, supported by significant growth in volumes, put us on track to fully realizing the mid-term objectives set in 2016. This allows us to continue including our shareholders in the Group’s growth, once again recommending an increase of more than 4% in the dividend.
Our good financial performance confirms once more the relevance of the portfolio transformation we have been undergoing since 2012. Today, Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, with a balanced presence on all continents. Some 70% of our portfolio consists of products from activities that constitute our growth engines, and our revamped customer profile includes, first and foremost, major names in automotive, aerospace and electronics.
This is a success of which we can rightly be proud. It also opens the door to other opportunities, as we operate in a world that is going through a profound transformation further accelerated by the massive introduction of digital.
Transforming our organization
Our priority today is Growth. We need to bolster our capacity to innovate and to serve our customers more effectively so as to generate strong, sustainable growth. This is the essence of the organizational transformation that we have just launched. It aims to simplify and lighten the organization to better adapt to the rapidly evolving demands of our customers and to the new challenges created by the digital revolution.
To be successful, we need to transform our culture fundamentally, to encourage the spirit of initiative and to foster collaboration – both within the Group and with our external partners - in order to better serve our customers.
We believe in the power of symbols. This is why we launched the transformation of our head office in Brussels. We want it to be innovative, open to outside influences nurturing collaboration, with more space for Research and Innovation. In parallel, we are going to create a world-class R&I center in Lyon.
The Group’s governance is adapting to these challenges. The new Comex, expanded and more representative of our cultural diversity and wealth of experience will contribute to the development of a customer-focused culture.
Sustainable development serving our growth
Our commitment to sustainable development is one of the drivers of our growth. In 2017, we surpassed the targets we set for our Group, with almost half of our sales already being generated by sustainable solutions and technologies, and with a carbon intensity that is declining year on year. Furthermore, we have launched Solvay Cares, a program that offers a minimum common level of social protection to all our employees worldwide. We are one of the few global groups to have instituted this type of initiative. We are proud to have done so in collaboration with our union representatives, which demonstrates the quality of the social dialog within the Group.
Nevertheless, there are still some areas where we need to do better, especially with respect to safety. While our overall results continue to improve year on year, we very much regret that a fatal accident occurred in 2017.
2018 is likely to be a year of strong challenges for Solvay as we implement the transformation of the organization and continue to add value for our stakeholders. It will also be the year in which we will prepare for the transition announced a few weeks ago - and we will take this important
step in the life of the Group together.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Chairman of the Executive Committee and CEO
2018, a year of transition
Having taken up our posts at the same time, Jean-Pierre and I have shared six years of intensive transformation of the Group together. On behalf of the Board of Directors of Solvay and also in my own name, I would like to thank him for his remarkable contribution to changing the face of Solvay.Nicolas Boël
The Board of Directors, determined to pursue the strategy that has been implemented successfully over the last few years, is now speeding up the process of finding a successor to Jean-Pierre, which will consider candidates both from within the Group and from outside. Our goal is to complete the transition between now and the end of 2018. Until then, the Board will be able to count on the total commitment of its CEO to carry out the organizational transformation of the Group.
After 15 years as CEO of Rhodia and then of Solvay, I have decided to accept an offer from the Engie group to become the chairman of its Board of Directors in May 2018. I will, however, continue to fulfill my role as CEO of Solvay while at the same time commencing my new duties, so as to allow an efficient transition at the helm of our Group. I will remain fully mobilized on our priorities, as we carry out a key stage in our transformation in 2018.Jean-Pierre Clamadieu
I have led the reorganization of the Group since 2012 with determination and enthusiasm, alongside the Board of Directors and its President to whom I give my warmest thanks for their trust and the quality of our relations. I would like also to thank the Solvay teams and my colleagues on the Executive Committee, without whom this transformation would not have been possible.