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How Natural Resources Creates Value

Natural Resources is comprised of the Business Units Oil and Mining Services, Functional Minerals, and . It offers high-performing products and customer-tailored solutions for mineral, foundry, oil, and gas extraction businesses, as well as for food, plastics, coatings, adhesives, and inks applications. The Business Area captures emerging trends around the globe and works across various industries ranging from consumer goods to mining.


1. COVID-19 pandemic impacts and intensified trade disputes

As the Business Area Natural Resources is engaged in multiple industries, COVID-19 had twofold effects. The automotive sector and oil and refinery markets in general were heavily hit by the pandemic with declining crude oil prices and product disruptions and were further impaired by trade disputes. Although Clariant was able to support customers with its global production network and cost effectiveness, solutions dedicated to fuel, kerosene, automotive plastic and coating parts, or civil engineering were negatively impacted. Additionally, the durable consumer goods appliances and apparel industry suffered, resulting in decreased demand for associated additives. Although the mining sector proved to be more resilient, it was challenging to drive new opportunities due to the inability to perform plant trials.

In contrast, Clariant’s products that supply the packaging, agriculture, and medical industries or feature healthier oils performed well due to increased awareness of food security and health. Products addressing device protection through enhanced disinfectants were also in higher demand. Furthermore, rising interest in biofuels had a positive effect on Clariant’s purification solutions.

2. Well positioned to meet growing demand for sustainable solutions

With customers’ growing commitment to address climate change, Clariant focused on solutions that bring added value through enhanced sustainability benefits, reducing their dependency on fossil resources to achieve a lower carbon footprint. While the Business Unit Functional Minerals and Additives helped customers comply with stricter plastic, coating, and adhesive regulations, Business Unit Oil and Mining Services enabled them to fulfill new regulations on sulphur oxide in the marine fuel market and address increasing sustainability expectations of various oil and mining . With ongoing electrification and the rise of 5G networks, the potential for Clariant’s portfolio of sustainable and safe solutions for the electrical and electronics sector has further increased.

3. Innovating for sustainability

Innovation activities of the Natural Resources focused on rejuvenating the product portfolio by improving efficiency and effectiveness as well as exploring renewable materials and sustainable solutions.

Business Unit Functional Minerals concentrated on improving bleaching earth products based on bentonite clay to further enhance the purification of edible oils, and reducing 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) to improve food safety and remove impurities from waste oil to enable reuse as feedstock for biofuel. In the foundry business, Low Emissions (LE+) products were further optimized and eco-friendly technologies were improved to help customers drastically reduce emissions, comply with environmental regulations and standards, and increase the quality of their products. Additionally, new products were developed with higher thermal stability within the casting process so that consumption and waste sand production could be reduced.

Business Unit Oil and Mining Services continued to improve its low dose hydrate inhibitor and asphaltene inhibitor products for deepwater operations to enable better oil and gas production. These solutions typically target downhole production tubing and subsea flow lines, leading to improved cost performance of customer applications by 20–30%.

In 2019, the High-Throughput Experimentation (HTE) laboratory in Houston, Texas, was inaugurated, further adopting machine learning algorithms to customize solutions for the oil and gas industry. The laboratory has an emphasis on low-dose hydrate inhibitors, asphaltene inhibitors, pour point depressants, and corrosion inhibitors, bringing solutions to market at unprecedented speed. In 2020, Clariant worked with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) to discover and develop optimized low-dose hydrate inhibitor products for deepwater production using »in silico« high-performance computing molecular design techniques. The partnership enables insights to be derived for new chemical formulations that prevent gas hydrate formation and ensure pipeline flow in deepwater oil and gas exploration.

In 2020, Clariant opened a state-of-the-art crude and fuel oil lab in the UK. The laboratory is specialized in additives for crude and fuel oil applications and replicates field conditions to develop products fit for purpose in transport and storage applications. With the new laboratory’s innovative capabilities, Clariant has specifically developed wax control products and fuel stabilizer solutions to help customers reduce sulphur oxide emissions in marine fuels as required by the »IMO 2020« new regulations.

Reducing sulphur oxide emissions in the marine industry

In 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced regulations to reduce sulphur oxide emissions from ships and ocean tankers. Clariant launched multiple marine fuel products to help customers comply with these new regulations and switch to Very Low-Sulphur Fuel Oils (VLSFO). These fuel oils have challenges with cold flow and incompatibilities. Clariant’s pour point depressants and compatibility enhancers for fuel oils help overcome these problems.

Business Unit Additives introduced safe and hazard label-free AddWorks® IBC 760, which boosts the performance of silyl-modified polymer (SMP) sealants used in construction, consumer, and industrial sectors. In addition, new solutions that support sustainable and bio-based applications of wood and plastic coatings were developed. One example is the EcoTain®-labeled Ceridust® 1060 Vita, which is based on renewable rice bran wax – a non-food-competing by-product from the production of edible rice bran oil.

4. Collaborating with partners and customers

In 2020, Business Unit Additives engaged in multiple collaborations, such as with Lavergne, a producer of sustainable engineering resin from recycled and ocean-bound plastics, and Floreon, an award-winning biomaterials technology company, to explore new technologies for better recycling and biopolymer solutions. Combined technical capabilities and market access support the development of circular alternatives to fossil-based plastics. Read more in

Floreon and Clariant to expand high-performance biopolymer applications

Clariant and Floreon-Transforming Packaging Limited started a new collaboration to further extend the performance properties and market potential of biopolymers while preserving their environmental benefits. By integrating the benefits of Clariant’s additives with Floreon’s proprietary material solutions, the collaboration aims to open up additional possibilities for plastic manufacturers and brand owners to consider biopolymers as a viable, low-carbon footprint alternative to fossil-based plastics for both single-use and durable applications across multiple industries. Read more in

Another successful collaboration with the energy company Equinor resulted in the development of the high-performing oxygen remover solution. This helped the Norwegian Johan Sverdrup offshore platform production team win the prestigious »Hero Award« issued by Equinor for cost and sustainability achievements.

To recognize Clariant’s efforts in the areas of sustainability and innovation, Henkel Adhesive Technologies awarded Clariant its Sustainability Award 2020 for the partnership in providing higher value, better performance, and a lower environmental footprint to its customers. In addition, Clariant’s EcoTain®-awarded multi-purpose additive Licocare® RBW Vita, derived from crude rice bran wax, won »Best Product« at the ICIS Innovation Awards 2020.

Lavergne and Clariant develop new high-performance life for plastic waste

Together with Lavergne, Clariant developed halogen-free flame retardant polyester compounds. They are made from ocean-bound plastics to support demand from electrical and electronics brand owners for flame retardant post-consumer recyclate grades for equipment parts. Targeted to electric and electronic applications used in laptops, the flame retardant compounds deliver mechanical, electrical, and safety properties fully in line with manufacturers’ requirements. This commercial development ties up with the increasing demand for post-consumer recyclates since the use of recyclates is not only part of sustainability claims by brand owners and OEM’s (Orginal Equipment Manufacturers) who support plastic waste reduction but is also rewarded in ecolabel schemes like the American EPEAT and German Blue Angel.

5. Expanding innovation capabilities in local markets

To strengthen Clariant’s position in the plastics and coatings business in China, the One Clariant Campus in Shanghai – an integrated regional headquarters and innovation facility – will be opened in 2021. The combination of technological knowledge and local support will promote effective green manufacturing and sustainable additive solutions for China’s growing plastic, coating, and adhesive industry.

6. Advancing digitalization

Especially during the pandemic, technological advancements and digital applications became essential for process improvements and customer engagement. Together with customers, account management was redefined with the introduction of the CHEMVISION™ software for use in oil. It combines data from Clariant and the customer to enable transparency and risk prediction to protect customer assets. Together with the VERITRAX™ system, which digitizes the end-to-end chemical service operations for the oilfield, Clariant has enabled the digital oilfield and boosted data-driven decision-making. CHEMVISION™, a platform solution, was piloted in 2020 and will be expanded globally in 2021.

7. Launching products to support the transition to a circular economy

In 2020, Business Area Natural Resources launched various products that provide ecological benefits and improved safety profiles while being produced in an environmentally friendly way.

In the Business Unit Functional Minerals, newly launched products support refineries in waste oil purification to create feedstock for biofuel production. Moreover, Clariant’s clay desiccants provide superior sustainability performance and biodegradability compared to silica gel desiccants.

As reducing waste in tailing ponds and maximizing recovery of valuable minerals became critical, Business Unit Oil and Mining Services launched a suite of new tailing flotation products for the treatment of slimes. This includes solutions from the Flotigam™ and Flotinor™ range, which help recover iron from the slimes.

Business Unit Additives continued to develop solutions for industrially compostable plastics and coatings. In 2020, Clariant was granted the »OK compost INDUSTRIAL™ « and »OK biodegradable SOIL™ « certifications by TÜV Austria Cert GmbH, an acknowledged and independent test and certification body, for a range of bio-based additives that are used for sustainable compostable products and agricultural applications with no adverse effects on the environment.

8. Enabling safer solutions

In 2020, two HOSTAFLOT™ products were advanced. These xanthate replacement technologies provide mining operators with a safer and more sustainable alternative to xanthate collectors, allowing mining operators to discontinue the use of xanthates. These alternatives, which Clariant developed through collaboration, offer a high copper flotation performance, thus enabling safer handling and disposal, reducing capital expenditure, and providing a longer shelf life than xanthates.

Business Unit Additives worked with electrical vehicle companies and 5G network infrastructure providers to drive further adoption of sustainable, halogen-free flame retardant solutions. To ensure fire safety and meet all specific regulatory requirements, the halogen-free flame retardants marketed under the EcoTain®-labeled Exolit® OP and the Exolit® EP lines have all the correct characteristics to help Clariant’s customers to develop solutions for electric car batteries as well as for high-speed, high-frequency PCBs used in the 5G mobile communication standard.

9. Strengthening customer interactions and marketing capabilities

Over the course of the pandemic, Business Area Natural Resources conducted webinars, videoconferences, and virtual technical assistance to enhance customer experience. For example, Business Unit Functional Minerals conducted five webinars worldwide on edible oil and renewable fuels purification as well as foundry on-demand webinars broadcast via WeChat for the Chinese market. In addition, the business segment Cargo & Device Protection prepared a virtual booth for the Chinese market. Subsequent site visits strictly followed official health protocols.

To improve marketing and sales capabilities, Business Unit Oil and Mining Services formed a key account management team responsible for maximizing value for customers through better coordination of Research & Development, supply chain management, and local sales representatives. A new business development team was also built to deliver accelerated growth. Moreover, Clariant started to work on a new service to commission chemical programs for new mines.

In addition, the company’s brand was also strengthened through webinar-based marketing and social media campaigns. Business Units Functional Minerals and Oil and Mining Services renewed their website and the appearance of their partners’ websites. For example, landing pages for oil purification, paper, and feed additives were created, as well as new product pages for multiple segments.

10. Keeping customers supplied through the pandemic

Despite some supply and transportation shortages during the pandemic, Business Area Natural Resources was able to uphold its customer commitments in full. The seamless flow of communication to customers and suppliers and an extended planning horizon enabled the balancing of supply and demand. Contingency plans were also developed at the relevant sites. Where supplies fell short, Clariant identified alternative sources across its global network to fulfill customer needs, albeit with longer lead times.

Business Unit Functional Minerals did its utmost to manage rapidly changing day-to-day operations and mitigate any possible negative impact. The sales force swiftly adjusted the demand outlook; production sites around the world adapted their production plans; and supply chains carefully adjusted to the new supply and demand reality.

11. Improving operational efficiency

Enhanced data analytics and online dashboards allowed Business Area Natural Resources to improve process planning and respond to market fluctuations, taking into account demand volatility and lead time to determine the optimal stock and service level.

To take advantage of synergies and further leverage its global reach, Business Unit Oil and Mining Services shifted from a regionally led supply chain to a strong global functional operations and supply chain organization with a global network of suppliers. This enabled more flexibility in the planning and production processes.

»It is our moral duty to deliver the full power of our technology, resources, and creativity to further increase the efficiency, safety, and cleanliness of oil and mining ores production.«

Rusmir Niksic Head of Business Unit Oil and Mining Services

12. Expanding the global reach

To increase the supply of high-quality activated bleaching earths to the edible oil and biofuel market and extend its portfolio of advanced purification products for customers across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Clariant invested in additional production capability in Yuncos, Spain. The optimized supply routes and the proximity to customers also enabled emission reductions through shorter transporation distances.

In order to meet the rapidly growing demand in Asia for high quality polymer applications in industries such as such automotive, electronic goods, and garments, Clariant will open in 2021 a new world-class production facility of high-performance stabilization solutions in Cangzhou, China, in a with Beijing Tiangang Auxiliary Co., Ltd.

Clariant’s Licocene® plant in Frankfurt, Germany, was expanded to meet the growing demand for sustainable hot melt adhesives used in hygiene and packaging applications and as backing materials in carpets. The metallocene technology-based propylene-ethylene copolymers also meet the requirements of plastic, coating, and ink applications. In addition, the newly established lab facility and pilot plant will accelerate the development of new tailor-made solutions that support Clariant’s customers’ innovation projects. Read more in

13. Health and safety at the core of operations

Implementing stringent safety measures and heightening awareness through safety campaigns, trainings, checks, and accident avoidance projects helped Clariant prevent accidents. The annual on-site mining audits were conducted to ensure that all safety procedures were followed. COVID-19 safety initiatives were also implemented early and employees were instructed accordingly.

In addition, standardized risk identification processes helped develop appropriate strategies and measurements. In the Business Unit Functional Minerals, safety measures were also proposed bottom-up from self-organized project groups. As a result, a series of preventive health measures were implemented, from remote working to increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning to adjusting business practices to ensure the recommended social distancing guidelines.

Business Unit Oil and Mining Services started behavior-based Environmental, Safety, and Health trainings across its global operations by incorporating behavior-based safety concepts to ingrain a different way of looking at safety.

For its efforts in health and safety, Business Unit Additives received the Phoenix Award for the continuous improvements of safety levels at the Gersthofen, Germany, site.

14. Improving the environmental footprint in operations

In 2020, Business Area Natural Resources focused on optimizing waste generation, water usage, and energy savings. A key manufacturing site in the Business Unit Oil and Mining switched to sourcing renewable energy and looked into equipping its fleet with more electric vehicles and charging stations. Moreover, optimized delivery schedules and routes for sea freight and road transportation resulted in reduced carbon emissions and better support for customers in managing the warehouse inbound flows and planning activity.

To better detect and minimize dust emissions, Business Unit Functional Minerals installed new measurement systems. Moreover, it further promoted the sun-drying of bentonite to reduce energy and logistics costs while keeping higher proportions of the active product than in any other heating process. In Latin America, this methodology was applied for more than 80% of the clay used. In addition, Clariant continued to explore possibilities to upcycle gypsum – a by-product of bentonite processing – to reduce waste and the related disposal costs.

15. Sourcing sustainable materials

Business Area Natural Resources continued to search for sustainable raw materials with an improved carbon footprint or toxicity profile. The new Exolit® OP and Licocene® Terra ranges are based on certified renewable ethylene and propylene from biomass feedstock such as non-food-competing residue oils, helping to reduce consumption of fossil resources. To produce and certify products based on a mass-balance approach, the Business Unit Additives received the REDcert2 certification at its production plants in Knapsack and Frankfurt, Germany. REDcert2 is one of the leading certification schemes for sustainable biomass, biofuels, and bioliquids in Germany and Europe.

Midterm Targets

5–7 %

Growth potential per year

18–20 %

target margin



2.2 %

R&D spend of sales


Raw material procured
in CHF m

> 150

Active innovation projects


Production sites

3 635

Number of raw materials procured


25 337

Training hours

1 736

Raw material suppliers


1 166.0

Energy consumption in m kWh



1 570

Sales in CHF m

–8 %

Growth in local currencies

13.9 %

15.5 %

EBITDA margin before


Production volume in m t


3 773

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


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


Stakeholders are people or groups whose interests are linked in various ways with those of a company. They include shareholders, business partners, employees, neighbors, and the community. 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

Joint venture

Joint ventures are all activities in which Clariant is involved with another partner. The accounting method applied for joint ventures depends on the specific conditions of the participation. 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