1. Natural Capital

Planet – Clariant’s third brand value – encompasses the value creation processes that benefit the environment. To meet its ambitious environmental targets, Clariant takes measures to ensure the responsible use of natural capital. This includes programs to protect the environment, safeguard natural resources, mitigate climate change, and promote the transition to a circular economy.

Clariant remains committed to continuously improve operational efficiency by tackling environmental challenges. Stewardship of natural resources is paramount, as Clariant’s production depends on reliable access to a multitude of raw materials. To monitor environmental impacts from its production sites in a meaningful and efficient manner, Clariant regularly validates and reports environmental data from its largest production sites. Collectively, these cover around 95% of production volume. To keep track of the smaller sites as well, Clariant collects environmental data for all production sites every three years. Due to this schedule, 125 production sites were included in the 2017 reporting and 79 in the 2018 reporting. In addition, five administrative sites are included in the reporting as well. This promotes comparisons of relative numbers (per ton of production), rather than absolute ones. Thus, in the following tables and discussions, year-on-year comparisons of relative numbers are highlighted.

In 2018, total sales increased, while production volume decreased – a finding that also remains valid when considering the effect of the reduced reporting scope. Overall, the lower production volume led to increased relative figures, since resource consumption, emissions, and waste can only partially be related to production volume. Despite these challenges, Clariant remains committed to its 2025 environmental targets and is well on track to achieve them. Figure 002

001 ENVIRONMENTAL TARGETS 2025 in % (per t produced goods)

Environmental Targets 2025 (pie-chart)

Customer to Cash

1.1. Progress toward environmental targets 2025

Clariant has set goals to achieve significant impact reductions in six crucial areas by 2025, as compared to 2013. In relation 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 wastewater volume by 40%.

In 2018, energy consumption per ton of produced goods rose by 4.6%, from 706 kWh to 739 kWh. Direct CO₂ emissions (Scope 1) and greenhouse gas emissions, including from the production of electricity (Scope 1 & 2), followed this development, with increases from 95 to 97.5 kg (2.7%), and 211 to 215 kg (1.9%) per ton of production, respectively. The lower increase in emissions indicates Clariant’s shift to cleaner energy sources, such as natural gas.

Water consumption per ton of produced goods increased by 6.5%, from 10.6 m3 to 11.3 m3. This was mainly due to an extremely warm summer and, consequently, increased cooling demand. Wastewater generation per ton of production increased by 5.6%, from 2.8 m3 to 2.9 m3.

Waste generation increased by 23% in 2018, rising from 43.2 kg to 53.3 kg per ton of production. This significant increase is mainly due to different accounting, resulting from internal and regulatory changes. Figure 002


Progress towards 2025 Targets (bar-chart)

1.2. Environmental protection and resources

For Clariant, environmental protection and resources encompasses consumption of resources, such as energy and water, on one hand and preventing pollution and ecosystem effects on the other. To minimize the company’s impacts on the environment and safeguard natural resources, high-level management attention and a corporate culture that prioritizes environmental stewardship throughout the company is essential. To ensure this focus, Clariant uses comprehensive management tools and programs that combine technology, data, and behavioral guidelines.

Environmental Protection and Resources







Every three years, Clariant validates environmental data from all production sites. The last full reporting campaign was in 2017. In interim years, including 2018, the reduced reporting scope comprises the larger sites responsible for 95% of production.

Total energy consumption (in m kWh)


3 209


3 245

Energy consumption (in kWh/t production)





Total water consumption (in m m3)





Total wastewater generation (in m m3)





Total quantity of waste (in thousand t)





1.2.1. Energy

Clariant recognizes the critical role companies must play to reduce energy consumption and minimize energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, energy consumption per ton of produced goods rose by 4.6%. The increase is mainly due to a reduction of the production volume. Clariant will continue to work toward its energy consumption reductions targeted for 2025 by further investing in and developing programs such as eWATCH™, Clariant Operational Excellence, and the Clariant Production System Yield, Energy, Environment (YEE) initiative.


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.

Through eWATCH™, Clariant crafted a comprehensive energy efficiency program that analyzes energy consumption across operations and identifies potential cost-saving opportunities. Since 2013, a total of CHF 26.7 million was saved by implementing energy efficiency measures and energy-purchasing optimizations. In 2018, Clariant managed to save CHF 3.85 million.

eWATCH™ focuses on three pillars: operations and technology; awareness, mindset, and behavior; and energy management. In 2018, the eWATCH™ program was rolled out in Greater China, at two Business Unit Catalysts sites in South Africa and at all Clariant sites in Indonesia. Clariant globally passed the recertification of the energy management system according to ISO 50001. More than 40% of Clariant’s production volume was produced at ISO 50001-certified sites. Clariant also continued performing energy benchmarks of utility generation systems internally as well as against state-of-the-art installations. A guideline of best practice for utility engineering is in preparation and will be further developed in 2019.

With the »eWATCH™ goes digital« initiative, Clariant will identify additional energy saving and emission reduction opportunities by increasing transparency at the different levels of production and organization, and by exploiting suitable tools for data monitoring, analysis and interpretation. For example, real-time energy consumption data at equipment, plant, production, and product level is key to realizing further operational energy efficiency. The focus will be on identifying equipment that is mainly responsible for energy consumption in the utility and production areas.


With the Yield, Energy, Environment (YEE) initiative, Clariant saved more than CHF 50 million since 2012.

The Production System Yield, Energy, Environment (YEE) initiative analyzes Clariant’s production processes and units to discover even more opportunities to increase yields, improve energy efficiency, and reduce waste streams. Since its inception in 2012, Clariant achieved savings with the YEE of more than CHF 50 million. In 2018 alone, savings amounted to CHF 6 million.

1.2.2. Water consumption and wastewater generation

Water is one of the most important auxiliary materials for the chemical industry. Clariant considers the entire volume of water withdrawn and used as its total water consumption. Cooling water returned to the source after being used in cooling cycles is not excluded from total consumption. Clariant uses about 70% of purchased water for cooling production plants, 20% for production processes, and 10% as a product component or for sanitary purposes. Conservation of water is mandated by local communities, customers, and regulators.

In 2018, water consumption per ton of produced goods increased by 6.5%, mainly caused by an extremely warm summer that led to a higher demand for cooling water. The reduced reporting scope also contributed to the increased water intensity, as the omitted sites are only responsible for a very small fraction of total water consumption. Similarly, wastewater generation per ton of produced goods increased by 5.6%.

Wastewater is closely managed at all Clariant production sites and local regulatory requirements regarding discharge limits are strictly followed. The company assesses wastewater quality by measuring heavy metals concentration, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, as well as biological and chemical oxygen demands. Wastewater is often pretreated at Clariant’s sites before being transferred to dedicated industrial or municipal wastewater treatment plants for further treatment. The pretreatment mostly consists of a multi-stage chemical and physical treatment to ensure effluents do not impair the receiving water bodies. With this multistep treatment approach and constant monitoring, Clariant guarantees that discharged wastewater does not negatively impact ecosystems.

In 2017, Clariant undertook a Group-wide water risk assessment to understand which production sites are located in water-risk areas. First, the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) global risk assessment tool was utilized to prepare a short list of sites located in areas with water risks. Second, the short-listed sites were analyzed in an internal survey aiming to understand site-specific water risks and impacts. To further develop an in-depth understanding of risks, a pilot water risk management project was completed in Santa Clara, Mexico, in 2018. While at-risk sites comprise only a small percentage of Clariant’s total sites, the results of the pilot study will be used to develop goals to ensure all sites are equipped to responsibly manage water risks. Due to its engagement to reduce water-related risks, Clariant was recognized as the sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the second consecutive year.

The eleven partners of the EU-funded project span eight industries, including steel, paper, and chemicals. Clariant joined the project in 2016.

Clariant is one of eleven partners in the European INSPIREWater project, which is exploring innovative solutions for industrial water management. The project includes developing a pilot wastewater treatment plant in the water-limited region of Tarragona, Spain, with the aim of achieving zero liquid discharge. Knowledge obtained from this project can be transferred to other Clariant sites, particularly those located in water-stressed areas.

1.2.3. Waste

Clariant is aware of the environmental harm associated with waste production and consequently follows a strict waste-management protocol. Clariant prioritizes waste prevention over recycling waste, as this approach minimizes resource consumption in addition to costs. During product development and manufacturing, Clariant aims to generate as little waste as possible, and any unavoidable waste is recycled or disposed of properly. Accumulated waste is documented in detail in order to enable proper classification and handling.

Per ton of production, generation of waste increased by 23% in 2018. The increase can only be observed in non-hazardous waste, which is 76% of Clariant’s total waste. Gypsum is a by-product of bentonite processing and represents 40% of the total non-hazardous waste. In 2018, two sites accumulated large amounts of gypsum. The sites are exploring different commercial avenues to convert gypsum into a viable product. In addition, changes in regulations and definitions led to changes in reporting and a further increase of non-hazardous waste.

1.2.4. Air pollution

In order to maintain healthy ecosystems, Clariant not only focuses on wastewater treatment, but also judiciously monitors and contains air emissions from operations. Clariant adheres to local regulations regarding air emission limits in all the countries in which it operates. Air pollutants tracked include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur oxides (SOx’s), and nitrogen oxides (NOx’s).

1.2.5. Ecosystem protection

Ecosystem services are vital for businesses and society. They include provision of fresh water, air purification, energy production, and protection against natural disasters, among many other critical benefits. Clariant strives to ensure its activities do not impede or degrade such services. Thus, Clariant does not operate production sites in biological reserves or areas with high biodiversity value. In addition, Clariant carefully addresses the environmental impacts of sourcing palm oil and mining bentonite, both of which are important raw materials for the company.

To protect rainforests and peatland and combat ecological degradation caused by clearing land for palm oil plantations, Clariant pursues certification of its palm oil derivatives supply. As member of the , Clariant achieved mass-balance certification for all of its sites in 2016 and has more than 250 products certified specifically. Clariant will continue to extend the certified product portfolio in order to help its customers meet demand for certified-palm ingredients.

When mining bentonite, Clariant follows several steps to exceed societal and community expectations regarding the conservation of the surrounding ecosystem. Before drilling begins, Clariant’s geologists craft a plan to minimize associated environmental impacts. This includes removing the topsoil and overburden to preserve the land for restoration, as well as reduce operating costs and fuel consumption. During mining, Clariant ensures that resident animals may easily move to adjacent areas. Before being transported, the bentonite is sun-dried, reducing its weight and thus emissions produced in shipping. Quarry closure is undertaken with local experts in order to restore the land for profitable use in forestry or agriculture. These efforts are crucial to maintain healthy relationships with local communities and protect local ecosystems.

1.3. Climate change

Mitigating and adapting to human-induced climate change is one of the world’s most pertinent challenges. The expectations and pressure for corporations to address climate change have risen considerably in recent years. Financial investors, customers, policy-makers, rating programs, and NGOs have set clear expectations regarding the need to properly identify and evaluate climate risks and opportunities, and to develop mitigation strategies.

Clariant’s overall objective is to address and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy and ultimately achieve climate resilience. Clariant also wants to capitalize on business opportunities such as reducing energy costs and developing low-carbon products, for which customer demand is rising.

In order to contribute to a sustainable economy, Clariant adopted environmental targets to be achieved by 2025. Clariant committed to reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 35%, and to reduce direct carbon dioxide emissions by 30%, both per metric ton of production, compared to the base year 2013. Clariant is well on track to reach these targets. Figure 002

Greenhouse gas emissions







Every three years, Clariant validates environmental data from all production sites. The last full reporting campaign was in 2017. In interim years, including 2018, the reduced reporting scope comprises the larger sites responsible for 95% of production.

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





Total indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3 CO2 equivalents) (in m t)





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





In 2018, direct CO₂ emissions (Scope 1) per ton of production rose by 2.7% and greenhouse gas emissions, including from the production of electricity (Scope 1 & 2), increased by 1.9%. The increase per ton is mainly due to the lower production volume.

To increase transparency about its carbon footprint, Clariant is moving beyond Scope 1 and 2 and reports further emissions that occur along its value chain, so-called Scope 3 emissions. The most relevant Scope 3 emission activities for Clariant are: purchase of raw materials, energy-related emissions, transportation and distribution of supplied materials and sold products, and the end-of-life treatment of its products. Scope 3 emissions are typically much larger than Scope 1 and 2 emissions, given the broader value chain and activity coverage. The increase of Scope 3 emissions between 2017 and 2018 was primarily driven by increased purchases of raw materials. A detailed breakdown of Clariant’s greenhouse gas emissions is available in the GRI report.

Emission scopes
»Scope 1« covers direct emissions from operations, including from the combustion of fuels in vehicles, boilers, and furnaces. »Scope 2« includes indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy, such as electricity and district heat. »Scope 3« comprises emissions occurring in the value chain, which are not included in Scope 1 or 2.

To support the agenda on climate change mitigation, Clariant focuses on low-carbon products that are also a promising growth market. Based on Clariant’s Portfolio Value Program, already more than 20% of sales are associated with products that help reduce carbon emissions. In the future, an increasing share of bio-based raw materials will replace fossil-based resources, leading to a reduced product carbon footprint. Examples of products contributing to emissions reduction are lightweight solutions for automotive applications, such as the foaming agent Hydrocerol® or the catalyst , which significantly reduces nitrogen oxide emissions.

Increasing pressure on natural resources, concerns on climate change, rising expectations about corporate performance, and higher availability and affordability of renewable energy are factors leading to their growing uptake. To increase the share of clean energy in the consumed energy mix, Clariant started developing a global renewable energy procurement strategy. More specifically, it investigates drivers, sourcing options, contractual instruments, and the feasibility of green energy solutions at the country level. The increase in renewable energy use will have a positive, direct effect on greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, Clariant is currently assessing how to further integrate a dedicated climate risks and opportunities management process at the Group level. This process would support the company to better identify mid- to long-term developments, address and enable the transition to a low-carbon economy, and ultimately secure climate resilience.

Idea to Market

1.4. Circular economy

1.4.1 The circular model gains traction

Increasing awareness of limited natural resources has generated support for the circular economy as a necessary alternative to the current linear economic model. In a circular economy, materials are kept in use for as long as possible, and are fully reused or recycled at a product’s end-of-life. Ideally, materials originate from renewable sources, where feasible, and are sustainably sourced. The circular economy eliminates currently prevalent and wasteful take-make-dispose material flows and requires a strong focus on product design that favors durability, reparability, and recyclability.

Due to increasing customer and policy attention, intensified by media coverage of plastic waste, the circular economy has gained importance as a topic across all Business Units. In addition, two recent policies are further creating momentum: In 2018, the European Union Plastic Strategy was adopted and the waste ban in China came into force. As a supplier to value chains in various industries, Clariant and other chemical companies play an important role in transitioning from a linear to a circular economy. Clariant also supports the development of public policies promoting the circular economy and sustainable chemistry. ,

1.4.2 Embracing opportunities with chemical expertise and sustainability innovations

Clariant is ideally positioned to seize new market opportunities arising from the transition to a circular economy. Being a specialty chemical company with strong connections and customers in the plastic value chain, e.g., through its catalysts, additives, or masterbatches, Clariant’s understanding of product-related recycling efforts and deep chemical knowledge not yet represented in the recycling value chain are clear advantages. Further, as a company with a strong focus on innovation and sustainability leadership, the topic has already been embraced in its early stage.

Clariant contributes in several ways to the proliferation of the circular economy, for example, by increasing eco-efficiency of production processes by using waste and renewable resources instead of virgin or fossil ones. For instance, waste streams from food production are used to source esters, and rice bran wax serves as feedstock for esterquats. Clariant also redesigns processes and promotes closed-loop recycling on-site, such as solvent recycling in wax production and comprehensive concepts on for aircraft, as well as water recycling within the INSPIREWater project. In addition, Clariant engages in industrial symbiosis and value chain clusters, such as the Carbon2Chem project, which aims to convert process gases from steel production into base chemicals. Furthermore, circular economy principles are integrated in product and technology development.

1.4.3 A comprehensive approach yields tangible results

A highlight in 2018 was the Cradle-to-Cradle™ certification for CESA® solution for colored bottle caps made of 100% recycled polypropylene. The solution avoids the use of adverse substances, such as halogenated pigments, while still enabling customers to obtain the requested color match and meeting the stringent Cradle-to-Cradle™ certification. The Cradle-to-Cradle™ certification considers the complete life cycle of a product, assessing it along five dimensions: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. The solution was awarded with the 2017 German Packaging Award and was tailor-made for Werner & Mertz, a German company offering cleaning agents and detergents.

In addition, an iGarage focusing on plastic recycling has been set up. The iGarage is a platform to develop strategic innovation opportunities by applying agile and design thinking methods. The objective of this iGarage is to evaluate challenges and opportunities in plastic recycling and explore how Clariant can address these in collaboration with customers and other value chain partners.