Topics Filter


1. Natural Capital

To tackle climate change and enable the transition to a circular economy, Clariant continuously improves operational efficiency and expands its circular product portfolio. In 2020, Clariant explored promising options, partnerships, and areas for growth and innovation. In addition, it implemented various measures throughout the company to promote environmental protection and resources, including activities for responsible energy and water consumption, the responsible use of raw materials, and the prevention of pollution and other ecosystem impacts.

1.1. Progress toward environmental targets 2025

Clariant has goals to achieve significant environmental 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 2020, energy consumption per ton of produced goods increased by 0.5%, from 754 kWh to 758 kWh. Direct CO2 emissions (Scope 1) slightly increased from 93 to 96 kg (3.2%), and greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 & 2) increased from 202 to 205 kg (1.5%), both per ton of production. The slight increase per ton is mainly due to the lower production volume.

Water consumption per ton of produced goods decreased by 3.0%, from 10.4 m3 to 10.1 m3. This reduction was mainly due to water efficiency improvements at many sites. Wastewater generation per ton of production remained constant at 2.8 m3.

Waste generation increased by 1.8% in 2021, rising from 79.4 to 80.8 kg per ton of production. This increase was mainly due to an increase in accumulated gypsum, a by-product of bentonite processing.

Due to its business portfolio changes and the fact that some of the 2025 environmental targets set in 2013 have already almost been achieved, Clariant defined a new set of ambitious targets. The targets to be achieved by 2030 include climate targets that meet the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) criteria and set out significant absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 40% for own operations (Scope 1 & 2) and 14% for supply chain activities (Scope 3, purchased goods and services). These and will put Clariant on the path to becoming a climate-neutral company.


1.2. Environmental Protection and Resources

At Clariant, environmental protection and resources includes responsible energy and water consumption as well as the prevention of pollution and other ecosystem impacts. To minimize negative effects on the environment and safeguard natural resources, Clariant relies on top management attention and a corporate culture that prioritizes environmental stewardship. In 2020, Clariant recognized an enhanced interest by investors, customers, and other in sustainability topics such as plastic recycling and water efficiency improvement, confirming Clariant’s commitment to implement various measures throughout the company and engage in sustainable product development.








Total 20202




Change in %

Total energy consumption (in m kWh)


2 512




3 071


3 2044



Energy consumption (in kWh/t production)




2 820







Total water consumption (in m m3)











Total wastewater generation (in m m3)











Total quantity of waste (in thousand t)












First half-year 2020 data for Business Unit Masterbatches are estimated based on the last full reporting campaign in 2017.


The difference in the sum of continued and discontinued operations compared to the group total is due to the resource consumption of non-production sites.


Every three years, Clariant validates environmental data from all production sites. The last full reporting campaign was in 2017. In the interim years, including 2019, the reduced reporting scope comprises the larger sites responsible for 95% of total production.


2019 data has been restated in consideration of changes in estimates or discovery of errors in previous years’ data as part of the 2030 sustainability target setting activities (with 2019 baseline).

1.2.1. Energy savings

Clariant continually aims to reduce energy consumption and minimize associated greenhouse gas emissions. In 2020, energy consumption per ton of produced goods increased slightly by 0.5%. Clariant will further invest in and develop programs such as eWATCH™, Clariant Operational Excellence, and the Clariant Production System Yield, Energy, Environment (YEE) initiative. Within YEE, Clariant analyzes production processes and units to identify opportunities to increase yields, improve energy efficiency, and reduce waste streams. Since its inception in 2012, Clariant achieved savings of more than CHF 86 million due to YEE. In 2020, savings amounted to over CHF 6 million. Clariant also values external standards for energy conservation: It globally passed the recertification of the energy management system according to ISO 50001 and prepared for the updated standard in various sites. In 2020, more than 35% of Clariant’s production volume was produced at sites certified with ISO 50001.

»In our facility in Knapsack, we now purchase 100% renewable electricity, showing how industrial manufacturers can take a holistic approach to reduce their carbon footprint and dependency on fossil resources.«

Stephan Neunerdt Head of Production & Technology Flame Retardants, Business Unit Additives

1.2.2. eWATCH™ to increase energy efficiency

Clariant has run its energy efficiency program eWATCH™ since 2013. eWATCH™ is a comprehensive energy efficiency program that analyzes energy consumption across operations and identifies cost-saving opportunities. Since 2013, a total of CHF 42.2 million was saved by implementing energy efficiency measures and energy-purchasing optimizations. In 2020 alone, Clariant managed to save CHF 4.9 million. In 2020, Clariant rolled out eWATCH™ to all sites in China to institutionalize its high energy-conservation standards in that country.

1.2.3. eWATCH™ goes digital

With its global initiative »eWATCH™ goes digital,« Clariant aims to profit from the latest measurement and monitoring technologies to ensure full visibility and high granularity of energy generation and consumption. The data generated will be visualized and analyzed to reduce energy and utilities usage by up to 10% on average, in addition to lowering costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Initial results were achieved, for example, in the Gersthofen, Germany, site, where overall energy consumption was reduced by 15%. The site in Gendorf, Germany, has already achieved energy savings to compensate for the investment in measurement devices.

1.2.4. Water consumption

For the chemical industry, water is an essential resource used in various production processes and as raw material. Clariant counts the entire volume of water withdrawn and used toward its total water consumption. Cooling water is included in total consumption, even though most of the cooling water is being returned to the source after use in cooling cycles. 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. In 2020, water consumption per ton of produced goods decreased by 3%. This reduction was due to water efficiency improvement measures, less water-intensive production processes, and a decrease in production volume at sites with high water consumption.

1.2.5. Wastewater treatment

With its comprehensive wastewater management, Clariant ensures local regulatory requirements regarding discharge limits are being followed at all production sites. Wastewater quality is assessed by measuring heavy metals concentration, nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, as well as biological and chemical oxygen demands. Before being transferred to wastewater treatment plants, wastewater is often pretreated at Clariant’s sites. The pretreatment usually consists of a multistage chemical and physical treatment. This approach, combined with constant monitoring, ensures that discharged wastewater does not impair receiving water bodies and ecosystems. In 2020, wastewater generation per ton of produced goods remained stable relative to 2019.

1.2.6. Water risk management

In 2017, Clariant undertook a Group-wide water risk assessment employing a global tool of the World Resources Institute (WRI) as a first step. This was further refined with a regional water risk assessment, applying specific know-how of the site’s geography and water use. Such a detailed risk assessment process revealed that only a fraction of Clariant’s sites are situated in water-risk areas. For these sites, Clariant performed in-depth site level water-risk assessments in 2019 to develop water management goals that ensure risks can be managed responsibly. Clariant continuously updates its water risk assessment.

1.2.7. Waste

At Clariant, waste management and prevention are key priorities. In addition to reducing costs, this approach also minimizes resource consumption. Unavoidable waste generated in product development and manufacturing is recycled or disposed of properly in adherence to local regulations. To enable proper classification and handling, waste data is collected in detail. In 2020, generation of waste per ton of production increased by 1.8%, mainly due to an increase in accumulated gypsum, a by-product of bentonite processing.

1.2.8. Air pollution

Clariant monitors and contains air emissions from its production sites rigorously and adheres to respective local regulations in all the countries it operates in. At the Group level, air pollutants tracked include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur oxides (SOX), and nitrogen oxides (NOX).

1.2.9. Palm oil certification

To protect rainforests and prevent ecological degradation caused by the clearing of land for palm oil plantations, Clariant pursues certification of its palm oil derivatives supply. As a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Clariant achieved mass-balance certification for its most relevant sites in 2016 and, at the end of 2020, offered more than 200 products with the Mass Balance certificate. Cariant also started to revise its sustainable palm sourcing approach in 2020 and decided to set new targets.

1.2.10. Minimizing impacts of mining activities

At bentonite mining locations, Clariant exceeds social and community expectations regarding the conservation of surrounding ecosystems. Clariant’s geologists develop plans to minimize environmental impacts associated with drilling, including careful removal of topsoil and overburden to preserve it for land restoration. During mining, Clariant also ensures the resident fauna can easily move to adjacent areas. The bentonite is sun-dried before transportation in order to reduce the weight, and thus emissions, from transportation logistics. When closing mines, Clariant collaborates with local experts to restore the land for forestry or agriculture. With these efforts, Clariant ensures healthy relationships with local communities and the protection of ecosystems.

GRI Online Report

1.3. Climate Change

Climate change is one of society’s most pressing challenges, and legislators around the world are implementing measures to mitigate its adverse impacts. By 2030, the European Union aims to achieve an emissions reduction of at least 55% compared to 1990 levels, and China plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. With this globally visible, increasing emphasis on sustainability, climate change is creating business opportunities, in addition to possibilities for improving operations.








Total 20202




Change in %

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)












First half-year 2020 data for Business Unit Masterbatches are estimated based on the last full reporting campaign in 2017.


The difference in the sum of continued and discontinued operations compared to the group total is due to the resource consumption of non-production sites.


Every three years, Clariant validates environmental data from all production sites. The last full reporting campaign was in 2017. In the interim years, including 2019, the reduced reporting scope comprises the larger sites responsible for 95% of total production.


The 2019 data has been restated in consideration of changes in estimates or discovery of errors in previous years’ data as part of the 2030 sustainability target setting activities (with 2019 baseline).

1.3.1. Clariant’s emissions year on year

In 2020, direct CO2 emissions (Scope 1) per ton of production increased by 3.2%, and greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 & 2) increased by 1.5%. The slight increase per ton is mainly due to the lower production volume. The decrease in Scope 3 emissions between 2019 and 2020 by 12.1% was primarily driven by a decrease in CO2 in purchased goods and services, and end-of-life treatment of sold products. A detailed breakdown of Clariant’s greenhouse gas emissions is available in the .

1.3.2. Business opportunities in times of global warming

For a chemical innovator such as Clariant, climate change triggers business opportunities to develop products for customers increasingly demanding low-carbon solutions. Clariant’s low-carbon glucamides offer such an example. With and , Clariant provides sugar-based surfactants that combine the mildness and performance of existing solutions with improved emission profiles. A study conducted by Clariant revealed that its glucamides based on renewable raw materials released almost 80% less carbon than conventional alternatives.

1.3.3. Review of the climate strategy

In 2020, Clariant developed a roadmap to reduce emissions, including carbon emissions targets, as a top priority in the Group Management Bonus Plan (GMBP). Clariant also started preparations for an internal carbon pricing scheme for major investments and developed science-based targets. The new climate targets mark a significant step forward in Clariant’s sustainability transformation journey and will set the company on the path to becoming climate-neutral. The project pipeline for Scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction focuses on efficiency projects, green electricity, and alternative, low-carbon fuels. To reduce Scope 3 emissions, Clariant will focus on shifting raw material sourcing toward low-carbon alternatives. The , which define ambitious absolute emissions reductions, were submitted to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for validation.

1.3.4. Renewable energy on the rise

Various sites have already increased their share of renewable electricity purchases, and Clariant made further progress substituting fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in 2020. The company installed solar panels with a total capacity of 1.3 MWp on the Shanghai OCC building and the Zhenjiang site, both in China, and certificates for green electricity were purchased for the sites in Oberhausen, Germany; Aberdeen, United Kingdom; and Novara, Italy. In Poland, Mexico, and Brazil, Clariant sourced green electricity, and at the Clear Lake plant in Texas, USA, Clariant signed a purchase power agreement (PPA) with a solar power plant operator to deliver renewable energy by the end of 2021. In Tarragona, Spain, solar panels will be installed and start to deliver green electricity in the second half of 2021, covering around 25% of the yearly demand. The Knapsack site in Germany and all sites in Sweden and Belgium already source 100% renewable electricity.

1.3.5. Monitoring Scope 3 emissions

Clariant collects and reports information on emissions occurring along its . Scope 3 emissions evaluated include the carbon footprint of purchased raw materials, fuel and energy-related activities, transportation, distribution of supplied and sold products, as well as the end-of-life treatment of sold products. This monitoring allows Clariant to generate transparency and identify hotspots in the value chain as well as reduction opportunities, and ultimately feeds innovation and influences raw material suppliers.

1.3.6. Emissions reduction along the value chain

In 2020, Clariant thoroughly analyzed the carbon footprint of the raw materials it purchases – the main contributor to the company’s Scope 3 emissions – to identify emissions reduction opportunities. Clariant also started to engage with suppliers to reduce emissions. Together with other TfS members, Clariant formed a workstream focused on reducing value chain emissions. Finally, Clariant increased its ambition to launch solutions that improve the CO2 handprint, e.g. the sunliquid® investment, and engaged with various customers to reduce emissions and develop low-carbon products. Clariant remains committed to doing its part to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, not only for its own operations, but also in its .

1.3.7. Certification continues

Clariant proceeded to certify sites according to the new ISO 50001 standard in 2020. The standard was applied to global corporate energy management and certified by an external auditor. According to the audit execution plan, site certifications are ongoing, primarily in Germany and Spain. Read more in section

GRI Online Report

1.4. Circular Economy

A circular economy features renewable, durable, and reparable products that are employed for as long as possible and fully recovered or recycled at the end of their sustainable life. Clariant contributes to a circular economy by offering a continuously expanding circular product portfolio and exploring promising options, partnerships, and areas for growth and innovation.

»Clariant has a long-term commitment to sustainability. With initiatives like EcoCircle, we address the plastic challenge not only by putting forward our own solutions, but also by aligning with our partners to create synergies for a circular plastics economy.«

Andy Walti Head of Region China & APAC

1.4.1. A strategy to embrace circularity

Circularity and innovation are both central to Clariant’s strategy and focus. The company is also firmly committed to preventing the spread of plastic waste in oceans, rivers, and other natural systems. To achieve this, Clariant supports the transition to a circular plastics economy by offering solutions for mechanical recycling, dissolution and depolymerization processes, and chemical recycling. Clariant is convinced that moving toward a more sustainable plastics sector is critical to the industry’s success and that innovative chemistry is paramount in achieving this. Clariant supports policymakers’ targets and customers’ sustainability ambitions by collaborating with industry partners across the value chain to swiftly implement and establish innovative, circular solutions in line with the waste hierarchy principles.

Collaboration with Floreon

Business Unit Additives collaborated with the biomaterials company Floreon which develops and markets engineered polylactic acid (PLA) compounds from approximately 80% renewable, plant-based raw materials. These polymers are mechanically tougher than traditional PLA, can deliver significant energy savings in processing, and are industrially compostable. Clariant’s improve performance and processing characteristics of the biopolymers, offering brand owners the possibility to reduce their usage of fossil-based virgin polymers.

1.4.2. Challenges ahead

Before a fully circular plastics value chain can be achieved, several challenges must be overcome. For example, reliable collection systems around the globe must be developed, and the quality of recyclates will have to be enhanced. Different stakeholder needs must also be aligned, including consumer behavior and expectations. Finally, product and process innovation must continually adapt existing production processes and chemical compositions to circularity needs.

1.4.3. EcoCircle initiative to support plastic circularity

In 2019, Clariant extended its focus on the challenge of circular plastic from its own products to the entire value chain with the launch of EcoCircle, a company-wide initiative to support the circular plastics economy. The initiative provides solutions along the three guiding principles reduction, reuse, and recycling of plastic. In 2020, EcoCircle became part of the newly established »Sustainability Transformation« organizational unit within Clariant. Through several presentations, customer workshops, and publications such as the Global Goals Yearbook, the initiative has been established as a best-practice example in the industry. Clariant’s commitment to plastic recycling along its value chain and advocacy for EcoCircle also resulted in outside recognition: The company earned the 2020 China GoldenBee CSR award. The award was presented by China Sustainability Tribune and GoldenBee, a pioneer network of CSR and sustainable development in China.

1.4.4. Syngas production from waste

In 2020, Clariant worked diligently to propagate the circular economy through its products. In line with activities of Business Unit to develop solutions upgrading syngas derived from waste, Clariant’s process technology department innovated a method for the production of syngas with plasma gasification using different waste types, including biomass, plastics, and industrial waste. Replacing virgin materials, the syngas can be used as circular feedstock and can be transformed into methanol, ethylene, and Fischer-Tropsch waxes.

1.4.5. Advancing lightweight recycled materials in electrical vehicles

Clariant participates in REVOLUTION, a project funded under Horizon 2020, the European Union’s largest research and innovation program to date. The project started at the beginning of 2021 and focuses on extending the e-vehicles range by adopting lightweight material solutions and on overcoming challenges that hinder the use of recycled materials in the automotive industry. Contributing to REVOLUTION enables Clariant to collaborate with players along the full automotive value chain and develop new solutions for the fast growing e-vehicle segment.

Factor 10 initiative

Factor 10 was founded by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in 2018. Factor 10 is a circular economy initiative that connects companies in order to rethink current methods for sourcing, using, and disposing of the materials that make up global trade, with an aim to create scalable solutions for businesses.

1.4.6. Working toward circular electronics

Clariant continues to contribute to one of the WBCSD Circular Economy workgroups, the Circular Electronics Partnership. The goal of the workgroup is to develop a roadmap on how to achieve circularity. Factors considered are circular design, demand for circular products, their distribution and use, takeback and collection, as well as reverse supply chains, recycling, and sourcing. Clariant is contributing in particular to the aspect of circular design and the avoidance of hazardous materials and chemicals.

1.4.7. Externally certified products

Due to their remarkable circular characteristics, some of Clariant’s products were also granted external certifications. For its bio-based processing and dispersing additives Licocare® RBW Vita, Licolub® FA 1, and Licowax® C, Clariant received the »OK compost INDUSTRIAL™« certificate from TÜV Austria. EcoTain®-labeled Licocare® RBW 102 Vita also received the label »OK biodegradable SOIL™.«

1.4.8. Reducing plastic waste

Together with 29 other multinationals embedded in the plastics value chain, Clariant founded the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) in 2019. Its mission is to clear plastic waste from the environment by cleaning up water bodies; building infrastructure to collect, manage, and recycle waste; promoting new technologies; and engaging with nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and communities alike in this mission. In 2020, the Alliance reached out to communities and cities to study the feasibility of supporting large-scale investments to convert plastic waste into petrochemical feedstock. Clariant supports the Alliance’s goals with innovation projects, such as processing fuels and oils from chemical recycling, and by actively participating in the working structure of the alliance.

GRI Online Report


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

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

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


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


A substance that lowers the activation energy, thereby increasing the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed by the reaction itself. View entire glossary