MUTTENZ, Switzerland – Specialty chemicals company Clariant chose its inaugural Sustainability Dialog on September 2, 2015 to announce new company-wide commitments and latest milestones in its proactive sustainability strategy. These included a commitment to zero-deforestation, an increasing focus on value-chain collaboration and continuous improvement of product portfolio on all sustainability levels.
Hosted together with guest sustainability experts at the Clariant Innovation Center in Frankfurt, Germany, Clariant welcomed important stakeholders from customer industries, politics, NGOs and the media to its new event aimed at fostering open dialog and future cooperation.
“Only with specialty chemistry will we find new ways into a sustainable future,” commented CEO Hariolf Kottmann. He highlighted the strategic importance of sustainability within Clariant in realizing its aim to become one of the globally leading companies for specialty chemicals and to stand out through above-average value creation for all stakeholders. “We must create long-term value. And we can only achieve this through innovative strength and strict sustainable practices. It is the only way to establish a leading position in our businesses. We have therefore set up a clear sustainability strategy for the future.”
Clariant’s major announcements at the event emphasized its commitment to the on-going process of anchoring sustainability in its strategy.
One of the major announcements was a commitment by the company to sustainable sourcing of palm oil, which involves setting up of a zero-deforestation policy with focus on traceability across the value chain and obtaining Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) supply chain certification.
Another commitment was value-chain collaboration, which involves proactive encouragement of value-chain collaboration with customers, suppliers and other third parties to improve Clariant’s sustainability and that of its customers.
The other major commitment was the replacement of heavy-metal-based pigments in masterbatches and chromium (VI) catalysts in the near future. Clariant underlined its commitment to phase out such products from its portfolio identified as non-sustainable.
Joachim Krüger, Senior Vice-President Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs, presented the latest results of the company’s Portfolio Value Program. The Portfolio Value Program is a systematic, in-depth screening process using 36 sustainability criteria in all three sustainability dimensions – social, environmental and economic – and on all aspects of a product life cycle. The on-going screening process being implemented across the company identifies product groups for improvement through innovation, replacement or removal from the portfolio. All future innovations from Clariant will be screened against the criteria from the outset.
To date, Clariant has screened 84 percent of turnover of its portfolio against the criteria in order to steer future portfolio improvements. From this, 76 percent of the product portfolio already fulfills Clariant’s sustainability definition. More than 60 products originating from all business areas have already been awarded Clariant’s EcoTain® label. EcoTain is assigned to those products that significantly exceed market sustainability standards, have best-in-class performance, and contribute overall to the sustainability efforts of the company and of customers.
To demonstrate EcoTain criteria in action, Christian Vang, Head of BU Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS), focused on the Personal Care sector and new EcoTain recipient GlucoTain, its range of sugar-based co-surfactants for applications such as shampoos, shower gels and shaving foams.
The keynote presentation of Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and former director of the United Nations Environment Program, provided a key highlight in emphasizing the link between the specialty chemicals industry, stakeholders and wider society. He elaborated on sustainable development trends in the specialty chemicals industry and set a framework to larger societal context.
Christian Kohlpaintner, Member of the Executive Committee of Clariant, concluded, “Today we have explored sustainability from several different perspectives and provided stakeholders with greater insight on how Clariant is adapting its company culture and portfolio to support this vision for a more sustainable future. Our aim is to continue the dialog initiated today and foster collaboration among our stakeholders and across the value chain to ensure we continue to add value with sustainability.”