Hariolf Kottmann, Clariant has identified sustainability as one of its five strategic pillars. Why do you place such high value on sustainability?

Hariolf Kottmann At Clariant, we are committed to creating value with innovative and sustainable solutions for our customers from many industries as well as the society. We want to become a globally leading company for specialty chemicals, and to stand out through above-average value creation for all stakeholders. We achieve this by recognizing the needs of customers, employees, shareholders, and the environment. This means that sustainability is deeply ingrained in our »corporate DNA« and is a key component of everything that we do.

We apply a holistic approach to integrating sustainability into the company in both our processes and our governance. This is an ongoing journey that is shaped by our understanding of corporate responsibility and our belief that the chemical industry is central to solutions for global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity. At the same time, a focus on sustainability helps us gain competitive advantage. Sustainability is a prerequisite for our growth and our license to operate in the long-term.

»Our commitment to providing sustainable solutions is appreciated and recognized in the market.«

Hariolf KottmannChief Executive Officer
What is the relationship between sustainability and business success? Doesn’t sustainability imply higher costs, which can negatively impact business performance?

It’s true that customers increasingly demand sustainable solutions but don’t want to pay a significant premium. Therefore sustainable innovations have to be competitive on economic as well as sustainability performance factors. Achieving this results in clear benefits for the customers and for Clariant.

The more than 140 EcoTain® products we offer often outperform conventional products not only in terms of sustainability and performance, but also with regard to profitability. Our commitment to providing sustainable solutions is appreciated and recognized in the market. For example, our 2016 customer survey not only showed that our customers particularly appreciate the high quality of our products and technical services, it also told us that around two-thirds of our customers see Clariant as standing for sustainability.

As a globally active company, how does Clariant experience the interest in sustainable solutions in different markets around the world?

The time when sustainability was recognized as a concern in only a small part of the global market is long gone.

With our strong presence in Europe, Clariant is consistently exposed to European regulations on environmental protection and sustainability. While in the short term this can be a challenge, as it can create an unfavorable cost position compared to other regions, in the longer term addressing strict requirements right away forces us to develop products and services that are globally state of the art. Take Brazil as an example, where we can register an increasing demand for cosmetics based on natural ingredients. The same applies for China, as confirmed by our second Sustainability Dialog event in Shanghai in November 2016. More than 200 representatives of Chinese customers, distributors, suppliers, and authorities participated in the discussions on the sustainability and innovation needs reflected in China’s New Normal and 13th Five-Year-Plan. Our strong positioning regarding sustainable solutions is a clear asset in our strategy and our business ambitions to become a »China Insider.«

What feedback do you receive on the efforts by Clariant with regard to sustainability beyond your customer responses?

One example of gratifying feedback is the recognition of Clariant as one of the most sustainable chemical companies by the world-renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). In fact, in 2016 we received the most positive feedback on this topic in our corporate history. This tells us that our continuous journey toward integrating the performance, people, and planet dimensions of sustainability into the solutions we offer to our clients and into our own operations as a responsible company is going in the right direction.

Hariolf Kottmann

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since 1 October 2008

Member of the Board of Directors since 10 April 2008

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