Global trends as a driver for innovation

Global megatrends, such as the growing and aging world population, urbanization, digitization, and changing consumption patterns due to the growing middle class, drive Clariant’s product and service innovations. These trends are expected to double the global demand for chemicals by 2030. To keep up with this burgeoning market, increasing production throughput and enhancing efficiency are vital.

The sources of specialty chemical products are also expected to change in the future. The Asian market’s global role is increasing. Consequently, Clariant emphasizes its focus on regional innovations and solutions to meet local market needs. The regional innovation center in India already conducts projects in close collaboration with the Business Units. A similar regional innovation center is currently under construction in China with planned opening for 2019.

In addition, a shift to bio-based solutions can already be seen in markets such as Personal Care and Home Care. Clariant estimates that 20% of chemical sales will be bio-based chemicals by 2030, a shift that is primarily driven by the sustainability considerations of consumers. Clariant believes that combining biotechnology with classical chemistry will provide the best and most competitive substitutes.

A great enabler is the ongoing digitization of the chemical industry, which allows for new business models to better serve customers. Furthermore, regulatory developments, such as the ban of Cr(VI), hexavalent chromium compounds, in Europe, the need for halogen-free flame retardants, and the requirement to reduce air pollutants are key areas where product and service developments allow Clariant to remain compliant and stay ahead of the curve.

Clariant is well prepared to tap the full potential

With an innovation pipeline filled with 320 active projects from all Business Units as well as Group Technology & Innovation, Clariant is well positioned for future growth. Currently, the innovation portfolio includes about 60 »Class 1 projects« that show a double-digit million sales potential or are of strategic importance. A total number of more than 6 500 patents underscores the advanced technology expertise. In the course of 2015 and 2016 Clariant revised its Intellectual Property strategy and thereby abandoned patents that are no longer of strategic relevance. Since 2012, Clariant has spent approximately CHF 1 billion in R&D, with CHF 206 million in 2016 alone.

»Partnering with South Korean BioSpectrum helps us provide natural, sustainable and effective formulations to the Personal Care industry.«

Christian Vang Head of Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties

To take advantage of synergies across the company, Research & Development is shaped along four technology platforms: Chemistry & Materials, Biotechnology, Process Technology, and Catalysis. 1 100 employees in eight Research & Development Centers and 50 Technical Centers strive daily to achieve clearly defined targets. Clariant participates in more than 125 active scientific collaborative projects with universities, research institutes, and external partners along the whole value chain. Already in 2012, Clariant entered into a partnership agreement with Emerald Technology Ventures by investing in Emerald Cleantech Fund III. Through Emerald, Clariant has access to more than 1 000 new companies per year. To profit from external knowledge and accelerate innovation, Clariant also runs an Open Innovation portal that was developed in partnership with the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and Stanford University (USA). The first focus field was dedicated to Smart Packaging which recently was accompanied by the second focus field Personal Care. Accordingly, submitting ideas on how to solve packaging-related problems or provide new and sustainable benefits to Personal Care products is welcomed.

Open innovation initiative
AmoMax 10 (icon)AmoMax 10 (icon)
Financing We help start-ups and young companies overcome financial challenges.
RSPO certification (logo)RSPO certification (logo)
Equipment/infrastructure Finding suitable test and production equipment is a challenge for many innovators. We open our labs and facilities to foster innovation.
Market Access (icon)Market Access (icon)
Market access Our global network helps to bring new innovations into the world.
Knowledge/Expertise (icon)Knowledge/Expertise (icon)
Knowledge/expertise Our experts use their knowledge and expertise along the entire innovation chain.
Technology platforms
Technology platforms (icon)Technology platforms (icon)

Efficient and sustainable innovation project steering

Innovation at Clariant is managed according to the Clariant Innovation Excellence approach. A key corporate initiative that utilizes blueprints and tools to build innovation capabilities, while fostering a culture that translates knowledge and ideas into new products, services, business models and processes tailored according to customer and market needs. Innovation project managers of »Class 1 projects« are trained Innovation Black Belts, while managers of »Class 2 projects« are trained Innovation Green Belts. All Innovation Black and Green Belts are supported and coached by dedicated Innovation Master Black Belts to ensure process and tool know-how. In 2016, around 50 new Green Belts and 14 new Black Belts were trained, resulting in around 250 Innovation Green Belts and 26 active Innovation Black Belts at year end. All innovation projects need to pass the Stage Gate Process where deliverables for the respective stage are reviewed by a cross-functional team in order to progress from one stage to the next. The projects are required to be assessed on their relative sustainability based on Clariant’s Sustainability Index for Research and Development projects (CSIR&D). The Portfolio Committee reviews the innovation project portfolio, prioritizes projects, and allocates resources in line with strategy.

Steps of the steering process

Scout – Megatrends & Ideas (graphic)
Scout – Megatrends & Ideas Good ideas come from a deep understanding of current and future customer needs. To build the foundation for innovation, Clariant reaches out to analyze megatrends, market trends, and consumer needs. During ideation workshops with key customers, trends and needs are turned into ideas.
Scope – Cross (graphic)
Scope – Cross-Functional Team Interaction & Design Customer needs are systematically incorporated into the design of an offering. By constantly talking to customers, Clariant finds out which problems they want to solve. Their needs are the basis for the design criteria of all innovations, as laid out in the design scorecard.
Execute – Concept & Development (graphic)
Execute – Concept & Development Clariant strives to accelerate Time to Market: Customer requirements are efficiently translated into product features; innovative concepts based on scientific principles are developed; the supply of the raw materials is secured; the supply chain and production process are set up; and the pilot plant is engineered. Customer feedback on commercially representative material is used for fine-tuning the product, its positioning on the market, as well as the product launch approach. Accordingly, the marketing materials are created and the sales force is trained.
Commercialize – Monitoring & Learning (graphic)
Commercialize – Monitoring & Learning After the launch, the product performance in the market is monitored in order to collect insights for further development.


Business model

In the Idea to Market phase, ideas are transformed into market-ready solutions.

business model


206 AmoMax 10 (icon)AmoMax 10 (icon) R&D spend in CHF m
(3.5% of Group sales)
125 Scientific Collaborations
320 Active Innovation Projects
~1 100 Employees in R&D
9 266 Training hours in Group Technology & Innovation
8 R&D Centers
>50 Technical Centers


6 500 Patents (year end)
277 Employees with Innovation Belts (251 Green Belts and 26 Black Belts)
  • Financial capital
  • Intellectual capital
  • Human capital
  • Relationship capital
  • Manufactured capital
  • Natural capital

Value Creation in Practice Digitization enables innovative business models

Digitization case VERITRAX™

Digitization case VERITRAX (graphic)

VERITRAX™ allows for significant reductions of total operating costs by

  • lowering the risk of production interruptions
  • increasing production efficiency
  • optimizing inventory management
  • improving the budgeting procedures

The volatility of oil prices requires oil producers to update production processes and leverage automation to reduce costs. With the intelligent chemical management system VERITRAX™, Clariant now delivers the efficiency benefits of the digitized world to oil and gas chemical operations.

VERITRAX™ helps oil and gas operators obtain more frequent and accurate information about their chemical usage, product spend, and tank levels. The support platform takes advantage of industry-leading automation and cloud-based technologies to optimize the chemical supply chain, ensure maximum production uptime, and provide producers with an unprecedented understanding and control of their chemical spend. Behind the scenes, VERITRAX™ analytics collate and integrate key process parameters and data obtained from the field and laboratory, providing near real-time information directly to computers and smart phones. The system provides precise chemical pump control and data analysis to help ensure that the correct chemical is delivered at the wellsite, at optimized ppm level dosages, to achieve the desired results at the expected costs.

Facing the future together
Precise chemical pump control Significantly reduce probability of pipe blockage or well contamination through precision remote pump control and get high precision reporting in real time.
Precise chemical pump control (graphic)Precise chemical pump control (graphic)

Interview Digitization at Clariant

Britta Fuenfstueck, Member of the Excecutive Committee (portrait)

»In today’s business environment, increasing digitization is key to efficient and clean production. VERITRAX™, the intelligent chemical management system for oil and gas producers, reduces risks and optimizes operations with real-time management of all the chemical related activities such as scheduling chemical deliveries from field based sensors, management of analytical data, and automating ordering and billing. This is truly ›chemistry management as a service‹.«

Britta Fuenfstueck Member of the Excecutive Committee
Ms. Fuenfstueck, are there unique aspects of digitization in the chemical industry compared to other sectors? And how do you see the digitization landscape in the chemical industry changing right now?

Britta Fuenfstueck Compared with industries such as media, retail and telecommunications, the chemical industry is lagging behind. While some digital processes, such as control systems for plant operations, have been ingrained in the chemical industry for a while, the industry has only embraced the new digital wave more broadly over the last few years. The key focus lies in operations, from advanced operations management to predictive maintenance.

Are cost savings or increased service quality – or both – the main benefits of digitization?

In the chemical industry, the primary focus has been cost savings, although some companies are also looking into digital marketplaces. The service aspect of digital is less developed. However, at Clariant our focus will be in the opposite direction: We want to emphasize identifying new, differentiating offerings for customers. Of course, adding digital tools to our operational excellence approach is important as well.

Does successful digitization mean automating existing processes, or reinventing the entire business model?

Ideally, digital approaches make it possible to do things differently. Imagine the classic example of preventive maintenance. Instead of waiting for a part to deteriorate or conducting checks at standard intervals, digital tools can monitor processes constantly and trigger a maintenance activity at the right time to keep operations intact. On the customer-facing side of business models, the breadth of opportunities that digitization creates is even bigger, but realizing them is also harder.

Are radical digitization overhauls driven more by increasing customer expectations or by solution providers such as Clariant?

At the moment, only our customers in the area of oil production are starting to demand digital offerings, sometimes even in tenders. But innovation is not only about following a well-articulated need; it is about understanding the customer need more deeply, and addressing it proactively. The goal is to build a sustainable digital solution that meets real market issues instead of building offerings with hopes there is customer interest.

How do you expect the area of digitization to develop in the future?

Fastforwarding to 2030, we expect much broader adoption of digitization in personal and business processes. This will likely affect all areas of business, with the focus on turning the current digitization trend into tangible returns.