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Evonik aims to make a contribution to climate protection, minimize the enviromental impact of its business activities and steadily improve its enviromental performance.
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Evonik’s strategic development focuses on a sustained increase in the company’s value. To achieve that, we set ambitious targets for finance, safety and the environment. Our environmental targets are valuable guidance for a continuous improvement in our performance in protecting the climate and the environment. We aim to achieve our targets by 2020. They apply for the period 2013 to 2020. Any deviations from these targets are specifically indicated.
The reference base for reporting is 2012. In sustainable waste management, we are continuing our efforts to minimize the use of resources. We regard specific CO2 emissions as a particularly important environmental indicator and plan to use it as a key non-financial performance indicator in the future. One precondition for this is replacing our reporting routines by a more advanced technical system. Work on this continued last year.
The substantial decline of 3 percentage points in specific greenhouse gas emissions was mainly due to implementation of specific measures to raise energy efficiency, an altered energy mix in Marl (Germany) as a result of lower availability of the coal-fired power plants due to maintenance shutdowns, and the divestment of the remaining carbon black activities in China. Specific water intake declined by three percentage points in 2015 compared with 2014, mainly as a result of targeted savings measures, start-up of additional closed-circuit cooling water systems, and site-specific one-off factors in the intake of surface water.
Ecosystem services are found all around us: in the air we need to breathe, open spaces for recreation, and the groundwater and surface water used for cooling in industry and in leisure activities. We use all of these assets, which are provided by nature in many different forms, in our daily lives. However, even though there is no direct price tag on them, we need to be aware they will only be available in the long term if we use them carefully. For instance, excessive use of groundwater can reduce the groundwater level, which can adversely affect flora, fauna and biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to the natural diversity that has evolved on our planet over millions of years. It includes the variety of habitats (ecosystems), species of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, and genetic diversity. As the basis for life, from sources of food to the production of energy, they are all of major economic significance. In the wake of the progressive industrialization in the past two centuries, the reproducibility of our ecosphere seems to be reaching its natural limits. Worldwide, biodiversity is decreasing. In 2012, we carried out biodiversity checks in two of our business lines. The Biodiversity Check developed by the European Business & Biodiversity Campaign (EBBC), a consortium led by the Global Nature Fund, provides an overview of how a company or individual areas of business impact biodiversity. The check is based on the objectives of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and examines, among other things, the company’s premises, procurement, product development and production, logistics and transportation, and products.
We monitor the production conditions of renewable raw materials, including palm oil and its derivatives. Since 2010 Evonik has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and publishes it targets for palm oil in the RSPO’s annual progress report. The aim of the RSPO is to place global production of palm oil on a sustainable basis in the long term. Evonik supports this process. As a key basis for this, in 2015 our Personal Care business had eight production sites around the world certified by external auditors as having organizational structures that meet the RSPO requirements. This is the main precondition for the continuous switch to certified production inputs. In addition, 23 products were switched to RSPO-certified palm oil derivatives. RSPO certification of three further Evonik sites is planned for 2016.
In principle, the industrial premises used by Evonik do not include any natural habitats (either protected or restored). However, some of our national and international sites are adjacent to conservation areas. To better identify local-specific aspects of biodiversity and any impact of our operations on biodiversity in these areas, we conduct an annual status review of these sites, which are in constant contact with local interest groups. In 2015, five sites were adjacent to conservation areas that are protected by the European Union’s Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Council Directive 92/43/EEC). For example, as part of a project for which authorization was required, a study was conducted in accordance with Directive 92/43/EEC on the Marl Chemical Park to evaluate the potential adverse impact of our activities on the conservation area. Regular review and updating of environmental data is important to ensure that timely action can be taken in the event of any negative impact. The latest review was in 2013/2014. Six further sites are adjacent to conservation areas that are regulated by country-specific legislation. Our site in Mobile (Alabama, USA) is close to the Fowl River. The US environmental agency EPA is currently altering the status of this watershed area around this river (approx. 21,360 hectares) to a water conservation area. Evonik supports this plan and is a member of the Fowl River Forever steering committee that is working on a management plan to protect and improve the water quality. This should ensure that nature and animals are protected, the local community can use the area around the river for recreation, and the watershed is protected in the long term.
1 Energy- and process-related emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol/Scope 2 emissions using the market-based method.