The steadily growing world population and the associated pressure on natural resources, as well as the impending climate change, are increasingly endangering the livelihoods of many people.
We can only counteract this by making the necessary changes to our lifestyles and economic practices. Consumption and production must take place within planetary ecological limits. To achieve this, consumption and production activities must be largely decoupled from resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to transforming the value creation patterns underlying production, this also includes the expansion of a circular economy and sustainable supply chains.
Examples of our contribution
Next Generation Evonik
We have integrated sustainability comprehensively into our corporate strategy - from research & development through portfolio management to our corporate culture. The core process is the sustainability analysis of our business. Research & development play a key role in the ongoing transformation of our portfolio. In 2022, Evonik generated additional sales of over €600 million with innovative solutions for health, cosmetics, and membranes (reference base 2015).
More and more of our sites source energy from renewable resources. In 2022 more than 15 percent of the electricity used in the Evonik Group came from renewable sources. More than 30 sites in Europe, Asia, and North and South America currently source or generate sustainable energy. That avoids around 250,000 metric tons of CO2 a year.
From 2026, our European sites will be far less dependent on fossil fuels. We signed a long-term power purchase agreement with the utility company EnBW for the 900 megawatt (MW) He Dreiht offshore wind farm. Consequently, renewable energy sources will cover more than one-third of our electricity requirements in Europe from 2026.
We save water wherever possible and endeavor to achieve a further reduction in our emissions. In the reporting period, we set a new target for water: Between 2021 and 2030, we aim to reduce specific freshwater intake relative to production volume by 3 percent.
Our efforts to further reduce production waste are aligned with a clear principle. The first priority is to avoid waste through continuous process improvements and by extending integrated production systems, otherwise waste should be recycled or used to generate energy. As a third option, if this is not possible, it should be disposed of safely. In the reporting period, Evonik set a new target for waste: Between 2021 and 2030, the target is to reduce specific production waste relative to production volume by 10 percent.
Circular economy means decoupling economic growth and the use of resources by returning valuable raw materials to the loop at the end of their useful life. Better use of resources and the circular economy are becoming increasingly important for Evonik in view of the growing shortage of raw materials and tight supply chains. Our activities aim to mitigate the inadequate availability of resources in the supply chain and our production processes. At the same time, circularity opens up new business opportunities and attractive growth potential for Evonik. That is shown, for example, by joint development with the Vita Group of an efficient process for recycling mattresses and the extension of our portfolio of additives for mechanical and chemical recycling.
Together for Sustainability (TfS)
The chemical industry set up the TfS initiative for this purpose in 2011. Evonik is one of the six founding members. The aim of TfS is the joint development and implementation of a global assessment and audit program for responsible procurement of goods and services. Harmonizing global standards in the supply chain creates transparency and makes it easier for both suppliers and customers to reliably assess and evaluate sustainability performance.
- Reduce both absolute and specific energy consumption by 5 percent between 2020 and 2025.
- Reduce specific freshwater intake by 3 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030.
- Reduce the specific volume of production waste by 10 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030.
Responsibility within the supply chain
- 100 percent of all raw materials suppliers where annual procurement volume is >€100 thousand to be covered by TfS assessments by year-end 2025.