Solvay provides solution to the industry and customers through a value chain. Life-Cycle thinking is the basis for all Solvay's environmental impacts assessments and evaluations.
of the product portfolio covered by cradle-to-gate Life-Cycle-Assessments
of Research and Innovation projects assessed for environmental impacts
Solvay has made a strong commitment to conduct environmental assessments based on Life-Cycle-Assessments methodologies. Standardized Life-Cycle-Assessments supply a reliable, unbiased image of a product’s environmental footprint. Solvay applies Life-Cycle-Assessments methodologies that meet international standards: ISO 14040, ISO 14044, and ISO 14046 norms.
Understanding these impacts is key to improving and communicating about Solvay’s products. These cradle-to-gate Life-Cycle-Assessments feed Solvay’s portfolio sustainability assessment, which is performed using the Sustainable Portfolio Management tool. Life-Cycle-Assessments are used extensively to quantify the environmental footprint criteria used in the Sustainable Portfolio Management tool.
To support the Life-Cycle-Assessments process, Solvay has a strong internal team of experts that develops and implements Life-Cycle Thinking methodology. The team also sets up tools for delivering all types of Life-Cycle-Assessments, from light screenings up to a full Life-Cycle-Assessments for a given product or service. As soon as required by the type of communication they support, an independent, authoritative body certifies that these full studies adhere to the ISO Standard and meet quality requirements.
Extensive cradle-to-gate Life-Cycle-Assessments were performed for 93% of products (by turnover share) placed on the market, compared to 92% last year. The fact that Solvay increased the percentage - even though its score was already high and despite the intense work it implies - proves that excellence is the driver.
The full Life-Cycle-Assessments is done in collaboration with actors in the value chain that share Solvay’s commitment to customer-focused service when evaluating products’ environmental impacts in the targeted application. These studies, made by the Solvay team, cover all phases of the product life, from cradle-to-grave. They highlight the importance of Life-Cycle Thinking for activating the right levers to reduce environmental impact.
Solvay assesses 100% of new Research and Development projects for their environmental impacts. For that purpose, it has specifically designed an enriched version of the Sustainable Portfolio Management assessment tool for products and applications still under development. It benefits from the experience gained from several years of innovation project management. Accordingly, Innovation Projects are continually assessed as they progress in order to make sure the objective is maintained.
Taking part in world class Life-Cycle-Assessments platforms
To maintain a high level of expertise, Solvay participates in collaborative platforms:
- High level research on Life-Cycle-Assessments methodologies: in 2012, Solvay joined the International Reference Centre for the Life-Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG) as an industrial partner. It is now the second mandate for developing expertise in various aspects of Life-Cycle-Assessments;
- Association Chimie du Végétal in France on bio-sourced materials;
- SCORE Life-Cycle-Assessments platform: created in March 2012 to promote collaboration between industrial, institutional, and scientific actors; and to foster positive developments in overall environmental quantification methods, particularly the Life-Cycle-Assessments, to be shared and recognized at the European and international levels;
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Life-Cycle-Assessments projects;
- Roundtable for Product Social Metrics: an association of industry representatives and consultants for establishing guidelines for assessing the Social Impacts of Industrial Product Life-Cycles;
- Collaboration in the Erasm working group tasked with revising Life-Cycle-Assessment data for Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)-certified and non-certified palm oil.
Social Life-Cycle-Assessments @ Solvay
Solvay has helped develop Social Life-Cycle-Assessments methodologies through its involvement in the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics. Several Social Life-Cycle-Assessments studies have been performed on Solvay products to test and improve the methodology. As an example, Solvay evaluated how its “Sustainable Guar Initiative” altered the social impacts of guar production in India. In particular, that study showed how the program benefited so-called “small-scale entrepreneurs” (farmers) who participated in the three-year project. Part of that study - conducted in 2017 - helped enrich the methodology for Product Social Impact Assessment proposed by the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics.