Raw Materials

Due to our extensive product portfolio, we procure a large number of different raw materials. For raw materials whose availability is essential for our production processes, we have implemented strategic procurement concepts and management systems.


Alternative and renewable raw materials

Evonik uses numerous raw materials to manufacture its products, which, like technical goods and services, are sourced from a large number of different suppliers. The use of raw materials fell to 6.2 million tonnes in 2023 from 7.7 million tonnes in the previous year. The production volume was 7.5 million tons. Evonik replaces CO2e-intensive raw materials with alternatives wherever possible and competitive. 

In its production processes, Evonik primarily uses dextrose and sucrose, which are used as substrates in the fermentative production of amino acids, rhamnolipids and sophorolipids. Natural fats and oils as well as their derivatives are used for the production of raw materials for the cosmetics, detergents and cleaning products industry as well as for the production of technical aids. In the procurement of raw materials, renewable raw materials are among the "critical raw materials" – especially with regard to ecology and security of supply. Therefore, we subject them to a separate consideration. We are striving to increase the proportion of renewable raw materials. To this end, we examine technical, economic, ecological and social aspects. The share of renewable raw materials rose to 12.0 percent of the raw material base in 2023 (previous year: 11.1 percent). 

The use of renewable raw materials, especially in the cosmetics and cleaning sectors, is subject to special expectations of customers and consumers. For this reason, the Care Solutions Business Line further specified these requirements in the year under review and included them in its CARETain Guidebook

The CARETain Guidebook is a compilation of sustainability requirements focused on the cosmetics and cleaning market. We use this to identify opportunities and risks and to support new product developments. We also use it to better assess the possibility of using alternative and next-generation raw materials in our products. In this way, the guidebook maps a large part of the market and qualification requirements and visualizes them via a Sustainable Product Trend Index (SPTI) as an internal guiding instrument.  

The Sustainable Product Trend Index takes into account the following categories, among others: 

• Higher biomass content, including the use of next-generation feedstocks 

• Promoting the circular economy and protecting ecosystems through defossilization 

• Promoting the diversification of raw materials to preserve biodiversity 

The first result of this initiative is the new EcohanceR product line, which uses next-generation raw materials combined with innovative processing and application features. 


Evonik mainly uses palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives to produce ingredients for the cosmetics, detergents, and cleaning agents industry (Care Solutions business line) and to produce polymers used to improve the viscosity index and reduce the pour point of lubricants (Oil Additives business line). Our annual requirements are around 95,000 metric tons. We are critical of the establishment of new palm oil plantations and the associated land use. Therefore, we pay special attention to the ecological and sociopolitical developments relating to this market.

For many years, Evonik has supported the use of sustainable palm oil in the supply chain. The focus here is on internationally recognized certification standards. Evonik has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2010. In our annual RSPO progress report, we outline our activities and targets to foster sustainable palm oil production. In keeping with our commitment to ensuring the responsible use of palm oil, we actively network with NGOs, customers, and other stakeholders in the value chain.

Evonik has drawn up recommendations for sustainable procurement and use of palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives to raise the awareness of our employees on how to take a responsible approach to these substances. We have published these recommendations on our website. Specific strategies, targets, and measures are defined by the operational management teams in the Care Solutions and Oil Additives business lines.

About 80 percent of the palm-based raw materials used by the Care Solutions business line are already RSPO-certified. Moreover, we have started to extend this to all available raw materials. Care Solutions’ strategic priorities are certification of its sites and extending its portfolio of certified products.

The strategic priorities of the Oil Additives business line are the certification of its sites and extending its portfolio of certified products. At present, all five production sites that use palm oil derivatives have been certified as conforming to the RSPO’s MB or SG standard.

Evonik plans to use only RSPO-certified palm oil and palm kernel oil in its products by 2025. In addition to the sharp price rise, significant regional fluctuations in the supply of certified derivatives are challenging as this entails uncertainty in meeting demand. The preconditions for achieving our target are therefore the availability of the necessary raw materials and commercial feasibility on the global market.

Sustainable palm oil production: commitment with WWF and Beiersdorf expanded

The ongoing deforestation to establish new palm oil plantations is a major challenge. Against this background, Care Solutions has developed additional supply chain criteria with its customers in a joint project with WWF Germany and Beiersdorf. In this partnership, we want to support the sustainable development of the Malaysian region of Tabin in Sabah on the island of Borneo. Based on the three pillars of Protect, Produce, Restore, the aim is to promote more sustainable production of palm oil and stop deforestation.  

By 2026, small farmers and medium-sized producers on an area of around 15,000 hectares of land are to have their palm oil cultivation certified according to RSPO. In addition, a political framework for sustainable agriculture and forestry is to be created. In addition, at least one ecological corridor will be built to allow wild animals to move to other habitats. The project also aims to stabilise the population of endangered and endangered animal species – such as the rare Borneo elephant or orangutans – in Tabin and to protect their habitat. 

In addition, since 2022, Evonik has been involved in another WWF and Beiersdorf project in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, also in Borneo. As part of this, 200 independent palm oil farmers with a total area of 300 hectares of land are to be certified according to RSPO. 

The aim is for smallholder farmers to have direct market access to a palm oil mill by 2026. This is an important building block for Beiersdorf and Evonik, which are committed to sustainability along their entire supply chain of palm oil derivatives.

Transparency and traceability

Evonik is committed to the responsible use of forests and forested areas as well as to the protection of soils. The Care Solutions and Oil Additives business lines are founding members of the Action for Sustainable Derivatives (ASD) initiative. ASD is an initiative aimed at the traceability of palm (kernel) oil derivatives at mill and plantation level. In-house methods for risk analysis and joint action plans are intended to help counteract advancing deforestation. As part of ASD, Care Solutions and Oil Additives report annually on the degree of transparency along the supply chain and participating oil mills. Currently, 97 percent of the volumes that can be recorded are traceable at the mill level and 51 percent at the plantation level, and corresponding mill lists are published by Evonik.