2019 Annual Integrated Report

GRI Disclosures

Today, value creation is a collaborative effort both within the company and between the company and its stakeholders. The Group aims to strengthen its commitment by facilitating employee involvement in projects that serve society and by offering Solvay’s expertise to regions where the Group operates. Disclosure of Solvay’s indirect economic impact is provided in this section.


of employees involved in local societal actions

€ 3.609 million

Solvay Group donations, sponsorships and own projects

Local societal actions


A local societal action is a volunteer activity developed by a site in collaboration with associations, governmental initiatives, or NGOs, with the aim of improving the human condition and contributing to local communities. It should address one of the four domains identified by Solvay:

  1. Science;
  2. Education and youth employability;
  3. Environment;
  4. Solidarity and philanthropy.

Responsibilities and resources

Each site is invited to design its own local societal action plan in accordance with the principles of the Solvay Way framework and the needs of surrounding communities. Guidelines are provided to the sites, inviting them to start by designating a working group to update the site’s plans annually in pursuit of continuous improvement.

  • The site manager is accountable for implementation, developing the societal action plan, and securing funding;
  • The site Human Resources manager offers support, by proposing actions with stakeholders, providing documentation, and counting the employees involved;
  • The industrial relations officer is a promoter who provides advice on aligning societal actions with stakeholder needs and Group guidelines, coordinates national initiatives, and communicates information among sites;
  • The Solvay Way Correspondent acts as a reporter, ensuring compliance with Group rules, proposing actions, making site-level assessments, and recording and relaying information;
  • Employee representatives are volunteer ambassadors. They actively contribute to and participate in the working groups and propose actions.

Indicators and objectives

Solvay’s priority objective:



of employees involved in societal actions

In % of headcount




Number of employees that participated at least in one societal action in 2019 (even if they are no long present at the company on December 31, 2019) divided by the headcount on December 31, 2019.

Employees involved in local societal actions




Citizen Day - 168 Solvay sites joining international calls for climate action

From September 17-27, on the occasion of international climate strikes and the UN’s Climate Action Summit, Solvay organized its first World Citizen Day for environmental preservation.

Solvay sites around the globe organized their own Citizen Day initiatives, offering every employee and their families the opportunity to act on behalf of the environment within their communities. Official activities ranged from tree planting in India and Bulgaria to clean-up campaigns in China and Thailand, educational sessions on solar power and water conservation in Brazil and the United States, and efforts to reduce plastic and paper use in Europe and Asia.

During the two-week event, 169 sites participated, representing more than 94% of Group employees across the globe. The Citizen Day contributed to Solvay’s sustainability targets, which include doubling the number of employees involved in local societal actions by 2025.

From now on, every year we will set aside one day to celebrate the impact groups of employees can have on the world when they all come together as Citizens of Solvay.

Corporate citizenship and philanthropy

Management approach


Requests for financial support


Funded projects

Solvay aims to connect its philanthropic efforts with the Group’s areas of expertise and support causes where its products or activities can deliver added value.

In 1923, Solvay created the Ernest Solvay Fund to honor the founder of the Company, who died the year before. Today, the majority of Solvay’s corporate philanthropy goes through the Ernest Solvay Fund, managed by the independent King Baudouin Foundation.

Solvay concentrates its philanthropic and funding efforts at the corporate level on promoting science, education, and youth employability, and in some circumstances it supports humanitarian initiatives in response to certain disasters and/or situations where its products or services are particularly valuable.

Major projects

The International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry

The Solvay Institutes were founded by Ernest Solvay in 1912 to support and develop curiosity-driven research in physics, chemistry, and associated fields with the purpose of “enlarging and deepening the understanding of natural phenomena”.

The central activity of the Institutes is the periodic organization of the celebrated Solvay Conferences on Physics and Chemistry (“Conseils de Physique Solvay” and “Conseils de Chimie Solvay”). To complement this support for fundamental science, the Group organizes open workshops on specific selected topics, international chairs, colloquia, and an international doctoral school.

In addition to these activities, the Solvay Institutes promote the popularization of science by organizing the annual Solvay public lectures devoted to today’s biggest scientific challenges.

The project exists to make young people aware of science. To achieve that, nothing beats a personal, hands-on approach. Doing is understanding! is also an opportunity to give pupils and teaching staff the tools that they often lack in class. It is designed for children in the last two years of primary school and the first two years of secondary school. Every year about 10,000 pupils attend sessions in the XperiLab.

Examples of Group science educational and social projects

  • CERN (CH): Solvay supports the Non-Member State Summer Student Program, giving hundreds of students the chance to get hands-on experience in the sciences each year. The eight-week Summer Student Program gives undergraduate students in physics, computing, and engineering a unique opportunity to join in the day-to-day work of research teams and become familiar with the processes and technologies used on site;
  • 1,001 inventions: 1,001 Inventions is a British based, award-winning science and cultural heritage organisation. Through its educational programmes, books, blockbuster exhibitions, live shows, films, and learning products, 1,001 inventions showcases the contributions of inspirational men and women of different faiths and cultures in a civilisation that spread from Spain to China. 1,001 Inventions has produced a world-class range of exciting and engaging educational experiences, exhibitions, and productions.
  • The IUPAC-SOLVAY International Award for Young Chemists is intended to encourage outstanding young research scientists at the beginning of their careers. The awards are given for the most outstanding Ph.D. theses in the general area of the chemical sciences, as described in a 1,000-word essay. The award is sponsored by Solvay.

Group strategic partnerships

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

In January 2018, Solvay and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation signed a three-year Global Partner agreement that gives the Group an opportunity to make a difference in accelerating the transition to a circular economy in the chemicals sector.

World Alliance for efficient technologies

Solvay joined the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, created by Solar Impulse founder Bertrand Piccard, to promote efficient technologies, processes, and systems that help improve the quality of life on earth. Alliance members include start-ups, companies, institutions, and organizations.

The World Alliance for Efficient Solutions brings together the main actors involved in developing, financing or promoting products, services, processes and technologies that protect the environment in a profitable way. To this end, they assess the solutions submitted by their Members, with the help of independent technical and financial Experts, and select 1000 of the most promising ones. They will be labelled as Efficient Solutions and presented to governments, businesses and institutions to encourage them to adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.

In 2019, 7 Solvay products have been labeled as Solutions by the Alliance:

  • AgRHO® S-BoostTM : This label confirms the product’s value in terms of sustainability. Indeed, it increase root development: the plant gets stronger quicker because it favors nutrients and water uptake, so less pesticides and fertilizers are required, and irrigation requirements are lower.
  • SOLVAir® : Its a solution for treating exhaust gases from factories incineration (like Nox, SO2, HCI,...) plants and ships hence contributing to cleaner cities by using innovative Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) process.
  • Solef® PVDF : It’s a solution without any additives, it has the intrinsic stability inherent to fluoropolymers even when exposed to harsh environments, providing the user with a unique combination of properties resulting in longer equipment life.
  • Paramove® : An approved veterinary medicine used in salmon farming to control sea lice and promote salmon welfare.
  • Capterall® : mineral formulations treat polluted water to reach lower discharge concentrations and manage fluctuations in pollutants in order to be compliant with strict regulations.
  • Alve-One®: foaming solutions are an innovative generation of high-performance and cost-effective chemical blowing agents based on 100% safe raw materials helping fulfil the plastic industry’s needs of moving towards a circular economy
  • MAX® HT : This solution enables all of our customers to enjoy increased heat transfer coefficients and evaporator steam economies that result in reduced energy consumption, caustic losses and maintenance costs (acid and labor).

Alliance for Efficient Solutions

Business programs for social needs

Sustainable Guar Initiative, or how we do inclusive business


farmers registered in the program


women impacted by the program


kitchen gardens planted


trees planted

Solvay is the world’s leading producer of guar derivatives. Since 2015, Solvay has been spearheading a large-scale development initiative to make guar cultivation more sustainable while boosting the incomes of the farmers who produce it. Guar is a drought-resistant legume grown in semi-arid areas, predominantly in India. Rajasthan accounts for approximately 70% of the country’s production.

In collaboration with L’Oreal and Henkel, two strategic customers active in Personal Care, and with the support of the NGO TechnoServe, more than 7,000 farmers in Bikaner were trained over four years, and more than 971 kitchen gardens were developed in 36 villages.

The initiative’s primary objective is to encourage sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, thereby increasing farmers’ revenues through good guar cultivation practices for seed selection, seed treatment, sowing, and pest management.

The initiative also empowers women through specific training on hygiene, health, and nutrition:

  • Fostering better nutritional practices by growing vegetables in kitchen gardens in a region where the traditional diet is very limited;
  • Improving health and hygiene practices for themselves and their children.

Lastly, the initiative focuses on agroforestry, with more than 60,000 trees planted to fight sand movement and soil erosion in the fields. The outcome means guar farmers can earn a better living, global buyers can obtain higher quality guar, and the market can benefit from improved supply security.