Greenhouse gas emissions reporting practices

Solvay has decided to apply the “Guidance for Accounting & Reporting Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) in the Chemical Sector Value Chain” published by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which provides best practices for greenhouse gas accounting and reporting. By extension, other emissions are reported according to the same guidelines.

To better reflect its sustainability policy, Solvay decided to apply the market-based method to calculate CO2 emissions associated with purchased electricity. To fully comply with Global Reporting Initiative’s requirements, the following criteria (in decreasing order of priority) are applied to select the CO2 emission factor of each electricity supply contract:

  • Energy attribute certificates – emission factors resulting from specific instruments such as green energy certificates;
  • Contract based – the emission factor obtained from contract agreements on specific sources for which there is no emission of specific attributes;
  • Supplier / utility emission rates – the emission factor that is disclosed as a result of the supplier’s retail mix;
  • Residual mix – if a residual mix is unavailable, grid-average emission factors are used as a proxy;
  • Location-based – if none of the above factors is available, it is the national emission factor published by national authorities or the International Energy Agency. Based on a World Resources Institute (WRI) recommendation, Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) emission factors published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency are used for the USA, instead of the state emission factor.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Energy reporting practices

Energy consumption components are converted into primary energy, according to the following conventions:

  • Fuels, using the net calorific values;
  • Steam purchased, taking into account the reference value of boiler efficiency related to the fuel used for its generation (e.g. 90% efficiency based on the net calorific value for natural gas);
  • Electricity purchased, assuming an average efficiency of 39.5% for all types of power production except for nuclear power (33%), based on net calorific value (source: International Energy Agency (IEA)).


Environmental reporting practices

Environmental data are collected yearly at all Solvay industrial sites (production sites and Research and Innovation centers) and for each business separately in the case of multi-business sites. The data collection comprises substance emissions to air and water, waste production, and a series of parameters dealing with water and general environmental management.

After a thorough validation process, these data are consolidated at Group level in a manner consistent with financial reporting. In addition, the consolidated data are verified by an external auditor.

Safety reporting practices

Safety performance is measured in all entities under Solvay operational control, i.e. on sites where Solvay policies and procedures apply. Accidents are reported to a central database and classified according to time lost and severity of injuries.

Frequency rates are calculated monthly at Global Business Unit level and Group level. Performances and accident typologies are analyzed on a quarterly basis. Reports are provided to the Executive Committee and Global Business Units.

Medical Treatment Accident Rate (MTAR), Lost Time Accident Rate (LTAR), and Process Safety Rate are calculated based on million hours worked. The Group reporting guidelines for calculating hours worked (employees, contractors, and temporary workers) are being revised to ensure that the methodological approaches are more consistent across all Group entities as from 2018.

Employee health and safety

Social reporting practices

Headcount is provided for two scopes:

  1. Solvay Continuous Operations includes continuous operations only and matches the financial accounts presentation;
  2. Solvay Total Headcount also considers discontinued operations.

Apprentices, trainees, and students are excluded from the numbers. Headcount refers to employees that have a contract with Solvay and are classified as active, as they have a position in the organizational chart. Full Time Equivalent (FTE) corresponds to active employees times capacity utilization.

Workforce and turnover figures