1. Natural Capital

Due to its strong commitment to environmental protection and careful use of natural resources, Clariant is well on its way to achieving its environmental targets 2025. By focusing on business opportunities arising from environmental challenges, reducing energy use and water consumption, and minimizing pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation, Clariant continuously improves its environmental impact.

Natural Capital







Change in %

Total energy consumption (in m kWh)


3 245


2 950



Energy consumption (in kWh/t production)







Total water consumption (in m m3)







Total waste water generation (in m m3)







Total greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 & 2 CO2 equivalents) (in m t)







Greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 & 2 CO2 equivalents) (in kg/t production)







Total quantity of waste (in thousand t)







1.1. Progress toward environmental targets 2025

By 2025, Clariant wants to achieve significant improvements in six major parameters compared to the base year 2013. With respect to produced goods (per ton), Clariant aims to reduce energy consumption and direct CO2 emissions by 30%, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste volume by 35%, and the waste water volume by 40%.

001 Environmental targets 2025 in % (per t produced goods)

Environmental targets 2025 (pie-chart)

The increase in total energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and direct CO2 emissions is mainly caused by the larger production volume of 4.60 m t in 2017 compared to 4.09 m t in 2016. While production volume increased by 12.5%, total energy consumption rose by 10.0%, total greenhouse gas emissions by 9.0%, and total direct CO2 emissions by 5.6% only. Besides product portfolio alterations, Clariant’s comprehensive energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction efforts contribute to these diverging developments. In 2017, 339 projects were implemented as part of the eWATCH program. The energy savings project at the production site Cileungsi in Indonesia, for example, leads to a reduced energy consumption of 15 998 MWh per year, and by replacing coal with natural gas as primary energy used 608 t greenhouse gas emissions are eliminated annually. Overall, in relation to produced goods (per ton), in 2017 energy consumption decreased by 1.8%, greenhouse gas emissions by 3.2%, and direct CO2 emissions by 5.9%.

002 Progress towards 2025 targets

Progress towards 2025 targets (bar-chart)


eWATCH oversees all forms and usages of energy at Clariant – electricity, heating and cooling, steam, natural gas, nitrogen, and the production of deionized water – by taking into account the design and setup of equipment and processes across Clariant’s facilities. It also records and analyzes Clariant’s energy consumption, including information on energy flows, prices, and usage optimization. It maintains information on total energy usage patterns and requirements and will increasingly consider maintenance activities, changeovers, cleaning, and production planning and scheduling in the future.

Total water consumption rose slightly by 2.1% to 49 m m3 in 2017. With regard to produced goods (per ton), water consumption decreased by 9.1%. With this, Clariant almost achieved its 2025 target already in 2017. Due to the fact that water consumption in relation to produced goods is dependent on changes in production, Clariant seeks to maintain this level in the upcoming years. Total wastewater generation could be stabilized at 13 million m3 in 2017 mainly because growth of production volume largely arose from additional bentonite processing, which generates comparably little wastewater.


With eWATCH CHF 3.5 m energy costs could be saved in 2017.

Due to one-off effects, such as first-time accounting and new regulatory requirements for accounting, the reported total amount of waste rose by 34.7% to 198 thousand t. More than half of this spike was due to gypsum, a byproduct of naturalization processes for bentonite-based products such as bleaching earths. The gypsum is currently being stored at the corresponding production sites until opportunities are found to commercialize it as a reusable material in the building industry.

In 2015, Corporate Environmental Safety and Health Affairs (ESHA) established the Target 2025 group so that from different Business and Service Units can track progress and exchange knowledge on projects to further improve Clariant’s environmental performance. Furthermore, ideation workshops with Business Units Functional Minerals and Industrial & Consumer Specialties were conducted. The objective of the workshops was to facilitate knowledge exchange between peers and generate ideas on how to achieve the 2025 targets. During the workshops, which were mainly attended by operations managers from various production sites, several actionable ideas were identified that will be implemented in the future.

1.2. Environmental protection and resources

Environmental protection and resources covers a broad range of environmental issues including energy, waste, water, pollution, and ecosystem effects. Reducing environmental impacts requires high-level and focused management, a culture of performance, and careful cost evaluation. For this reason, Clariant uses comprehensive management tools and programs that integrate technology, data, and behavioral guidelines.

1.2.1. Reduction of energy and greenhouse gas emissions

Clariant continuously improves its energy management and aims to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Global programs such as eWATCH, Clariant Operational Excellence, and the Clariant Production System Yield, Energy, Environment (YEE) initiative all contribute to achieving the 2025 targets. With eWATCH, Clariant developed a comprehensive energy efficiency program that identifies savings potential through the detailed analysis of energy consumption across Clariant’s entire operations. Since 2013, a total of CHF 23 million has been saved due to energy efficiency measures and energy purchasing optimizations. In 2017, Clariant managed to save CHF 3.5 million.

Clariant’s Operational Excellence Yield, Energy, Environment program (YEE) expands efficiency initiatives even further. The program increases yields, improves energy efficiency, and reduces waste streams by analyzing specific production processes or production units to create a comprehensive picture of energy optimization. Since approximately 80% of expenditures in Clariant Business Units are allocated to raw materials, energy, and environmental technology, there is a huge savings potential. Since the inception of YEE in 2012, the program has resulted in savings of more than CHF 40 million. In 2017 alone, YEE enabled cost savings of CHF 8.1 million.

50 000

50 000 requests per year are sent to Clariant from customers seeking documents, certifications or regulatory advice regarding applications of products.

1.2.2. Reducing water consumption and waste water generation

Water is one of the most precious resources of our planet and also one of the main auxiliary materials for the chemical industry. On average, Clariant uses 70% of the water purchased for the cooling of its production plants, 20% for production processes, and 10% as a product component or for sanitary purposes. Since 2013, water consumption at Clariant’s production facilities decreased from 71 m m3 to 49 m m3. At each production site, wastewater is first subjected to multistage chemical/physical pre-cleaning before being routed to largely biological wastewater treatment plants, where it is micro-biologically cleaned. Clariant has achieved a very high level in terms of wastewater treatment and water purification and thus discharged wastewater does not negatively impact ecosystems. With regard to produced goods (per ton), wastewater generation declined by 14.1% to 2.75 mcompared to 2016.

In the reporting year, Clariant strengthened its water risk management by establishing an annual water risk assessment for sites operating under high water stress. This new approach follows a two-step process: First, Clariant systematically maps the water risks with a comprehensive tool, the Aqueduct Water Risk Map developed by World Resources Institute. A facility’s overall water risk score (a combination of the quantity, quality, regulatory, and reputational risks) is calculated and the facilities that rank as medium to high risk are shortlisted.

Based on this initial assessment, Clariant then refines the Aqueduct analysis by performing a more detailed internal risk assessment. Relevant sites report on impacts and emerging risks according to certain classifications and categories, allowing Clariant to identify the sites with water risks that could have a substantial impact on operations, revenue, or expenditure. Ultimately, at-risk sites are only a fraction of those located in high water stress areas, since many of these sites have minimal water consumption and therefore low risk exposure.

1.2.3. Pollution

Clariant implemented several measures to improve its performance regarding pollution prevention. For example, Clariant installed de-sulfurization control devices and dust collectors to reduce the emission of sulfur oxides. Air emissions and waste water quality of all sites is monitored closely. The parameters tracked for air emissions include volatile organic compounds (VOC), sulfur oxides (SOx), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). For assessing the waste water quality, heavy metals, nitrogen compounds, phosphorus, as well as biological and chemical oxygen demands are measured.

1.2.4. Ecosystem protection

Ecosystems provide a variety of goods and services upon which business and society depend, including water purification, energy production, and flood protection. Therefore, companies must mitigate their impact on the environment in order to ensure the longevity of these goods and services. For example, given its reliance on palm oil-based materials for many of its products, Clariant’s efforts to protect rainforests and peatland through its sustainable palm oil programs are essential (chapter ). These programs help address the negative ecological consequences of clearing land for palm oil plantations and ensure ongoing production.

Reducing the impact of bentonite mining also illustrates Clariant’s commitment to protecting ecosystems. Once test drilling verifies the presence of bentonite in the ground, Clariant’s geologists must secure necessary permissions to drill and develop a plan to guarantee low environmental impact. When the quarry is opened, Clariant removes the top soil and overburden as carefully and efficiently as possible, in order to preserve it for future land restoration and reduce operating costs and fuel consumption. Clariant’s quarries are usually rather small, which also reduces their environmental impact. In addition, the company ensures that animals can easily move to adjacent areas if they need to vacate the quarry site. Since transporting the clay out of the mine can result in increased impact, Clariant mitigates this by sun-drying the bentonite before transport, reducing the weight of the material being moved. Once a mine completes operation, Clariant restores the site in collaboration with experts in the field. This is not only necessary to comply with legal regulations, it allows the land to be reused for forestry or agriculture – a key step to staying on good terms with the surrounding community.

1.3. Climate change

Climate change is one of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges. Given their significant climate impacts, businesses have the responsibility to address global warming, demonstrate climate resilience, and develop climate-friendly solutions. Under its 2025 targets, Clariant aims to reduce its direct CO2 emissions by 30% and its direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 35%. Clariant’s climate change strategy further considers physical, regulatory, and reputational risks, and explores ways to reduce costs by improving operational efficiency and lowering spending on energy and materials.

In 2017, Clariant started reviewing its activities to strengthen its climate change strategy and steer further climate mitigation actions. It considered the latest international developments and best practices and focused on four fields of activity. First, Clariant reviewed its risk management processes and investment tools to steer activities more comprehensively and account for overall group climate risks, financial implications, and exposure. Second, it is currently evaluating the carbon efficiency of its energy supply and consider revising the energy procurement approach to increase the use of renewable energy. Third, Clariant is looking into how to improve the robustness and comprehensiveness of its data on emissions in the supply chain (Scope 3 emissions) to make the company’s carbon footprint more transparent. Lastly, it examined further opportunities for the development of low-carbon solutions and supported its customers by providing goods and services that avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Several of these activities will be completed in 2018, enhancing Clariant’s management of climate-related risks and opportunities.

1.4. Circular economy

In a circular economy, waste generation is minimized and the value of products, materials, and resources is kept in the economy for as long as possible. This requires a strong focus on closing the loops by reusing, recovering, and recycling finite resources, increasing the use of renewable resources, focusing product design on recyclability, reparability, and durability, and building cooperation across all value chains. The chemical industry has a strong role to play in this transition and Clariant is ready to seize new market opportunities.

Clariant contributes to a circular economy in several ways, ranging from increasing eco-efficiency of production processes by using waste and renewable resources instead of virgin or fossil resources, to redesigning processes, promoting closed-loop recycling on-site, and engaging in industrial symbiosis and clusters. Circular economy principles are also integrated into product and technology developments. For example, Clariant’s technology uses agricultural residues to produce bioethanol. (Chapter )

In order to support plastic recycling, Clariant is looking at various initiatives in the industry and has set up a dedicated focus field that is managed by its New Business Development under Group Technology & Innovation. Clariant already offers a wide range of innovative detergents, stabilizers, and that support recyclers and compounders obtain higher-value plastics from recycling streams. In 2017, Clariant addressed customer issues dealing with the odor and color of recycled plastics so that these materials could be used for applications that are vulnerable to these types of complaints.

With its Licocene® product range of hotmelt adhesives, Clariant offers solutions that support recyclability. For example, by reducing material diversity in mattresses, Licocene® products make recycling easier compared to standard market alternatives like latex. Clariant’s offering for substituting the use of hazardous substances in certain applications also helps address chemical safety in recycling activities. Other products focus on increasing the durability of materials.


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