2018 confirmed a trend that Solvay had already observed in 2017: an increasing focus on addressing climate change, providing customers with innovative solutions with a low environmental impact, further increasing collaboration and transparency with stakeholders.
In response to stakeholders’ priorities, Solvay has focused on three main actions:
- A new climate plan, including an absolute emissions reduction target, was published on September 24, 2018;
- The early stages of the partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have begun. Initially, the Group is focusing on a number of flagship projects aimed at raising employee awareness of the topic;
- The Solvay Way, Solvay’s sustainability reference framework focusing on stakeholder expectations, was entirely updated in 2018. The new version is available to all employees online or as a mobile app and highlights each Global Business Unit’s most material aspects.
The number of customers assessing Solvay’s performance using the Ecovadis, Carbon Disclosure Project, or specific questionnaires has been increasing steadily in recent years, confirming a focus on risks and opportunities in the supply chain.
An increasing number of customers have explicitly expressed the need to provide an innovative solution in line with the circular economy principles.
Solvay’s annual employee survey confirmed a growing focus on sustainable development principles and interest in the systems in place for professional development.
Employees representatives and Solvay’s Board of Directors both emphasized the need to keep Solvay’s workforce engaged on sustainability principles, from top management to the shop floor.
Planet – via Government and NGO
The publication of the International Panel on Climate Change 2018 special report confirmed the need to accelerate actions aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.
The United Nations Sustainable Goals were confirmed as the new reference for reporting on impacts on society.
The Chemical Industry is an important enabler in the move towards a restorative and regenerative circular economy.
The letter from Larry Fink (BlackRock) to CEOs at the beginning of 2018 confirmed that sustainability is now high on investors’ agendas, emphasizing the need to focus on long-term value creation and building a better framework for serving all your stakeholders.
Rating agencies’ questionnaires and interviews with Solvay shareholder representatives confirmed the importance of innovation, governance, ethics and transparency.
Supplier interviews and engagement confirmed an interest for greater collaboration on planning, goal setting, and strategic thinking.
Interviews with local community representatives confirmed the need to contribute to local material aspects.
The importance of social media, which can transform a local issue into a global topic, was again confirmed in 2018. Some online, broadcast videos and articles inaccurately claimed that the white beach near Solvay’s Rosignano, Italy plant and its clear blue water are due to contaminated waste water from the factory.