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How Care Chemicals Creates Value

The Care Chemicals comprises the Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties (ICS). As a leading provider of specialty chemicals and application solutions for consumer care and industrial markets, Care Chemicals delivers high-performance ingredients and formulation expertise at the best cost-to-performance ratio with an integrated that responds quickly to consumer trends.


1. Demand for sustainability and innovation continues

In 2020, customer demand for sustainable and innovative solutions increased once again. Thus, the Business Area Care Chemicals continued to focus on enhancing the sustainability performance of its product portfolio while emphasizing innovation, speed, and agility to stay ahead of competition.

As consumers become increasingly aware of negative impacts on the environment, demand has increased for Clariant’s eco-friendly solutions that are based on natural ingredients or recycled materials and free of harmful substances. In particular, low-carbon, low-water, bio-based, and plastic-free products and solutions that enable natural formulations are in high demand. Clariant’s microplastic-free encapsulation technology also helped customers comply with new microplastic regulations.

2. Changing consumer behavior due to COVID-19

COVID-19 had both positive and negative implications for the Business Area Care Chemicals. Thanks to its diversified product offering, the captured a variety of growth opportunities in different segments while maintaining its overall performance throughout the crisis. Although demand for high-end cosmetic ingredients declined, demand for sanitary and hygiene products rose rapidly. More time at home benefitted Clariant’s Home Care business, as consumers cleaned and refurbished their homes. The demand for Clariant’s solutions for the aviation sector was negatively impacted amid COVID-19 and the curtailed air traffic situation.

3. Innovating at speed

Elevating customer experience, relationship management, supply chain processes, and sustainability through innovation is at the heart of Business Area Care Chemicals. Using digital means, the Business Area focuses on agility and speed when developing applications while ensuring high performance.

In 2020, Business Area Care Chemicals swiftly ramped up its innovation stream by developing new formulations for hygiene products and hand creams to meet the demand triggered by the pandemic. This enabled the Business Area to also propose new formulations for personal care and home care products to its customers.

»As speed and agility become key success factors, we help our customers rapidly respond to changing and unpredictable market behaviors while ensuring that our solutions have a positive impact on society and the environment.«

Vincent Gass Head of Global Marketing, Business Unit Industrial & Consumer Specialties

4. Sustainability at the center of innovation activities

Sustainability is the starting point of all major innovations and product development in the Business Area Care Chemicals. By combining data-driven analytics with a compelling customer value proposition, Clariant develops sustainable solutions that address water and plastic use and incorporate renewable materials.

Effective and environmentally friendly preservation systems

The EcoTain®-labeled Velsan® Flex features a new, sustainable preservation booster that brings flexibility to formulators and reduces preservative load up to 50%. Thanks to its high water solubility and Renewable Carbon Index of 93%, the award-winning Velsan® Flex meets the rapidly evolving challenges of international personal care markets by combining great preservation-boosting power with broad formulation flexibility.

In Personal Care, the increased demand for natural formulations is paramount. Clariant’s introduction of the 93% renewable-based, multifunctional preservation booster Velsan® Flex proved that natural alternatives can reach superior performance levels and also have holistic impact on formulations, making it possible to reduce other less desirable ingredients. Velsan® Flex also carries Clariant’s EcoTain® label and has won bronze in the category »Best Ingredient Functionals« of the in-cosmetics™ global awards 2020.

In addition, a Plant Milking technology developed through a partnership with Plant Advanced Technologies (PAT) enables the extraction of inaccessible and rare plant parts while protecting the plants. For the innovative production process and clinical results, Clariant received a BSB Innovation Award. The two plant-based active ingredients, Prenylium® and Rootness® Energize, were unveiled thanks to this technology. While Prenylium® is sourced from the Morus alba tree, Rootness® Energize is an extract of the roots of Luffa cylindrica. Both root-powered active ingredients are used for premium antiaging, protective, and revitalizing skincare.

Business Area Care Chemicals also focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of its product portfolio by replacing petrochemical-based raw materials with renewable substitutes that use agricultural waste or biotechnology. For example, in 2020, Clariant performed a cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment of its glucamides, which showed that they emit up to 90% less CO2 than similar products. Considered the next generation of renewable-based surfactants, glucamides provide for highly efficient dishwashing and handwashing liquids as well as mild solutions for skin and hair care. The cosurfactants, which offer a superior cleaning performance, are made of glucose and natural oils with a Renewable Carbon Index up to 96%.

Likewise, in the Industrial lubricants business, innovation focused primarily on carbon emission reduction with higher lubricity and energy-efficient synthetic lubricants that provide a superior toxicological profile. New base fluids with specified electrical conductivities suitable for e-mobility, air conditioners, and refrigerators were also developed. Clariant’s lubricants support the transition to clean energy with used for wind turbine oils, solar cell manufacturing, and lighter-weight transportation industry metals.

5. Improving chemical safety through new technologies and healthier solutions

Business Area Care Chemicals develops safe products and solutions that do not harm people or the environment. As part of its Lifecycle Innovation Approach, Clariant develops substitute products to eliminate Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and promotes safe alternatives.

To support the growing interest in biocide-free paints with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Clariant developed Genagen COA, a non-VOC coalescing agent for decorative coatings. Clariant also launched the new solvent Genagen NBP with excellent toxicity labeling for agrochemical formulations, leading to improved pesticide performance. In addition, the EcoTain®-labeled polymeric dispersing agent Dispersogen® PSO 80, which is free from harmful moieties and used for industrial, high-gloss coatings, was launched.

6. Bringing a range of new sustainable solutions to market

In 2020, Clariant launched several eco-friendly, bio-based products. Clariant has also expanded capabilities in water-free and plastic-free platforms for Home Care laundry detergent that fulfills e-commerce demand and reduces environmental impact due to lighter transportation weight while enriching consumers’ experience.

In addition, Clariant launched the EcoTain®-labeled TexCare® SRN 260 Life, a bio-based soil release polymer for liquid detergents and cleaners with an increased Renewable Carbon Index. In order to foster the development of bio-based solutions that can replace synthetically made products, Clariant seeks fruitful collaborations with customers.

7. Innovative approaches to simplify customers’ decisions

Business Area Care Chemicals offers several online services to better serve its customers. To simplify purchasing decisions, Clariant, enhanced its formulation platforms with the new Ecolabel Guidance Tool. This platform offers fast and free online access to sustainability features of its formulation ingredients and an enhanced ingredient selection tool for emulsifiers and emollients. The tool identifies cosmetic ingredients that fulfill customers’ needs for spreadability, texture, and skin feel of their emulsion formulations. To further support customers in quickly finding appropriate ingredients, Clariant also established a digital formulation factory.

To create formulations that align with global beauty trends, Clariant works with journalists, influencers, formulators, and marketers on its BeautyForward® trend guide for the Personal Care industry. In its fourth edition, Clariant identified five trends among target groups ranging from millennials to people aged 55 and up.

BeautyForward® Edition 4: Converting five beauty trends into concrete formulations

Fantasy formulations

As virtual interactions become the new normal, Business Area Care Chemicals offers playful exfoliators like jellies, putties, and sugar cubes, designed to engage all senses. In addition, bright colors and metallic glitters make formulations more »Instagrammable.«

Embracing Aging

Aging needs to be celebrated as regeneration, renewal, and radiance. Clariant’s new products are specifically dedicated to address the effects that menopause has on skin and hair in order to embrace aging and combat its stigma.

Active Beauty

Healthy living is becoming a status symbol and exercising is becoming more social. To respond to these developments, Business Area Care Chemicals offers athletic-inspired formulations for hair and skin that are convenient, travel-friendly, and long-lasting, even during intense workouts.

Carbon Conscious

Consumers are increasingly aware of sustainability and question the environmental impact of formulations. Business Area Care Chemicals offers a variety of plant-based ingredients based almost entirely on renewable carbon sources.

Skinification of Hair

There is growing awareness that the hair and scalp are affected by the same aggressors as skin and require similar treatment. Clariant’s solutions encourage cell regeneration and help relieve irritation to create a healthy environment for hair growth.

8. Adopting digitally enhanced customer relations

Due to COVID-19, Care Chemicals quickly developed the capabilities to shift from face-to-face to virtual customer interactions. Product portfolio reviews and planned product launches were conducted via digital webinars after mailing product samples in advance. Care Chemicals also hosted a virtual Paints and Coatings customer day. Furthermore, the Business Unit acquired digital marketing competencies to better assess online market opportunities and accelerate product development and market access.

With the improved Client Relationship Management (CRM) system, Care Chemicals planned resources, generated conversion, and built customer loyalty more effectively. Sales effectiveness programs were deployed alongside the new CRM platform to reinvigorate Clariant’s need-based segmentation. Moreover, new pricing tools identified price disparities, end-to-end cost optimization forecasts, and value-based pricing opportunities.

9. Fostering resilience and traceability in the supply chain

Clariant was recognized as one of the most reliable suppliers by its key customers, even during the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns. There were no product shortages or supply disruptions, most notably in the personal care businesses, which faced unprecedented volume surge. This is a direct result of continuous efforts to master the supply chain, highlighted by the fact that Clariant’s suppliers also maintained timely delivery.

SPOTS achievements

The Sustainable Palm Oil and Traceability in Sabah (SPOTS) initiative supports smallholders, improves supply chain traceability, promotes certification, improves living conditions, adopts sustainable practices, and increases productivity. Thanks to the initiative, 500 small Malaysian palm oil producers increased productivity by 20% by 2020.

Business Area Care Chemicals continued to promote traceability in its supply chain and began to comprehensively screen raw materials for sustainable, low-carbon, and green alternatives. In 2020, the five-year Sustainable Palm Oil and Traceability in Sabah (SPOTS) initiative with L’Oréal was concluded. This project enabled independent smallholders to achieve certified sustainable palm oil production by applying the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standard, while also increasing their income and quality of life. As a member of the RSPO since 2011, Clariant has reached mass-balance certification for all of its sites and plans to offer RSPO Mass Balance certification for all its products.

10. Better decisions thanks to digital operations

Business Area Care Chemicals increasingly uses comprehensive data analytics to enhance performance transparency in all areas of operations. Advanced data analysis also supports rapid response to fast-changing demand patterns. In 2020, Care Chemicals launched a digital program that enables lean manufacturing throughout its manufacturing plants.

11. Increasing capacities to meet market demand

In 2020, Clariant began enlarging capacity at its sites in Mount Holly, United States, and Tarragona, Spain, to meet the growing demand for sulphate-free and mild surfactants. At its ethylene oxide production plant in Gendorf, Germany, the company commissioned a new distillation column to improve product quality and increase capacity to serve production for personal and home care, crop solutions, and industrial applications. Read more in

12. Making sites safer and more sustainable

Safety is a top priority in Business Area Care Chemicals. In 2020, new performance, indicators were introduced to proactively steer safety performance and a digital safety toolbox was launched to analyze incidents and raise safety awareness.

Business Area Care Chemicals continued to enhance the sustainability of its production sites. In 2020, data-driven programs were launched to reduce energy consumption, in addition to local measures at various sites. For example, the Clearlake site in the United States now sources 35% of its electrical energy consumption from solar energy, leading to annual savings of 5kt of CO2 emissions. In Tarragona, Spain, a new solar panel of 20 000 m2 with an installed two-megawatt capacity now covers 25% of the site’s electricity demand, creating additional savings of 1.25 kt of CO2 emissions.

Midterm Targets

5-7 %

Growth potential per year

19-21 %

target margin



3.1 %

R&D spend of sales


Raw material procured
in CHF m

> 70

Active innovation projects


Production sites

2 479

Number of raw materials procured


23 761

Training hours

1 536

Raw material suppliers



Energy consumption in m kWh



1 411

Sales in CHF m

–5 %

Growth in local currencies

18.9 %

19.4 %

EBITDA margin before


Production volume in m t


2 460

Staff in FTE at year-end



Waste in thousand t


Greenhouse gas emissions
in kg/t production

Business Area

For the financial reporting, Clariant grouped its businesses in three core Business Areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, and Natural Resources. View entire glossary

Value chain

The value chain describes the series of steps in the production process, from raw materials through the various intermediate stages to the finished end product. View entire glossary

Business Area

For the financial reporting, Clariant grouped its businesses in three core Business Areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, and Natural Resources. View entire glossary


A substance added to products in small quantities to achieve certain properties or to improve a product. View entire glossary


Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. View entire glossary

EBITDA margin

The EBITDA margin is calculated based on the ratio of EBITDA to sales and shows the return generated through operations from sales before depreciation and amortization. View entire glossary

Exceptional items

Exceptional items are defined as non-recurring costs or income that have a significant impact on the result, for example expenses related to restructuring measures. View entire glossary

Financial Capital

The pool of funds available to the company for use in the production of goods or the provision of services. This can include funds obtained through financing, such as debt, equity, or grants, and funds generated by the company, for example through sales or investments. View entire glossary

Intellectual Capital

Knowledge-based intangibles used and created by the company, often in collaboration with partners. This can include intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, software, rights, and licenses, and »organizational capital« such as tacit knowledge, systems, procedures, and protocols. View entire glossary

Manufactured Capital

Manufactured physical objects such as buildings, equipment, and products. These can include objects that are available to the company for use in the production of goods or the provision of services, or that the company produces for sale to customers or for its own use. View entire glossary

Human Capital

The company’s staff and its composition, competencies, capabilities, experience, and motivation to innovate. This can include employees’ alignment with corporate values and their ability to understand and implement the company’s strategy. View entire glossary

Relationship Capital

Key relationships, including those with significant groups of stakeholders and other networks. This can include shared values, the trust and willingness to engage, and related intangibles associated with the company’s brand and reputation. View entire glossary

Natural Capital

Renewable and nonrenewable environmental resources and processes that support the past, current, or future prosperity of the company or are affected by it. Examples can include resources related to air, water, and land that are utilized or impacted by emissions. View entire glossary