Letter to Stakeholders
The year 2022 was a challenging one for the world and for the chemical industry. Clariant’s leadership and staff had to deal with extraordinary challenges and a fast-changing environment. Only a few days after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Clariant suspended all business with Russia. This horrible war has caused tremendous suffering and added soaring energy prices and global uncertainty to a long list of problems, such as unreliable supply chains, high prices for raw materials, shortage of labor, inflationary pressures, and high logistics costs. Even under these challenging circumstances, Clariant displayed resilience and followed a profitable growth path. While other chemical sectors saw weakening demand, the company’s specialty portfolio remained attractive to customers worldwide. Clariant continued to focus on sustainability, especially in the context of energy security and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
On the basis of all these facts, the Board of Directors proposes a distribution of CHF 0.42 per share for the 2022 financial year to give all shareholders a due share in Clariant’s success.
2022 also brought about important changes within Clariant. The company established a new operating model in line with its purpose-led strategyPurpose-led strategyClariant aims to move toward top-quartile results in specialty chemicals in terms of growth, profitability, sustainability, and people. Based on its purpose, »Greater chemistry – between people and planet,« Clariant unveiled a purpose-led strategy with four dimensions, accompanied by new financial and non-financial targets. The strategy reflects Clariant’s ambition to create value with innovative chemistry and a sustainability focus, putting customers, employees, and the planet at the center of all activities., which resulted in a simplified leadership structure. Clariant flattened hierarchies and reduced complexity while also fostering transparency, diversity, and governance. The new Executive Steering CommitteeExecutive Steering CommitteeThe Executive Steering Committee (ESC) is authorized by the Board of Directors to steer the company. It has overall strategic and financial responsibility, including for our profit and loss statement. The ESC consists of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the three Business Presidents. (ESC) is authorized by the Board of Directors to steer the company. It has overall strategic and financial responsibility, including for our profit and loss statement. The ESC consists of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and the three Business Presidents. Each Business President has the responsibility for a business unit and for the region that is central to the future success of that business unit.
A larger team meets when it comes to important strategic decisions: The Executive Leadership TeamExecutive Leadership TeamThe Executive Leadership Team (ELT) consists of the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) along with the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer, the Chief Corporate Development Officer, and the General Counsel. By bringing all key functions together, Clariant ensures fast decision-making while incorporating all internal stakeholders’ needs. The ELT supports the ESC by promoting dialogue among its members, exchange of information and enabling awareness of the Group’s environment. (ELT) consists of the ESC along with the Chief Human Resources Officer, the Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer, the Chief Corporate Development Officer, and the General Counsel. By bringing all key functions together, Clariant ensures fast decision-making while incorporating all internal stakeholders’ needs. The ELT supports the ESC by promoting dialogue among its members, exchange of information and enabling awareness of the Group’s environment. The potential alternatives are then brought to the Board of Directors, where, after a common discussion, a final decision is made.
The updated Management Bylaws provide the basis for this new setup. They set out the form, manner as well as general principles of how Clariant should be run. The Management Bylaws are one of the key elements of our larger Group Charter House, which comprises all governance elements. On the foundation of our Code of EthicsCode of EthicsThe Code of Ethics is laying down Clariant’s commitments and is intended to be a guide with ethical principles and examples to enable all personnel and associated parties to act with the highest standards of integrity., and in accordance with our purpose, the new operating model, our values and leadership principles, the Group Charter House provides a solid frame for the governance and risk management at Clariant. At the same time, it reflects on our aspiration to drive simplicity, agility, and accountability in our company.
In 2022, Clariant also introduced new values as cornerstones of company culture and corporate success. They are accompanied by new diversity, equity, and inclusion objectives and a detailed roadmap to achieving them. This journey will require everyone at Clariant to continuously review how the company can create a more equitable and inclusive workplace that engages a workforce reflective of the world’s diversity.
With its new operating model, Clariant is well set up for organic growth. The company will keep the businesses close to their most important regions and customers. The aim is to achieve above-average growth in all three business areas, with a focus on China as the world’s largest and fastest-growing specialty chemicals market. We intend to support our cultural transformation and to pursue our diversified investment strategy. Our organic growth will be supported with a series of smaller, high-value bolt-on acquisitions. Clariant remains committed to achieving its 2025 financial and 2030 non-financial targets and to advancing in environmental, social, and governance dimensions. This includes the implementation of science-based targets to fight climate change and to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Board of Directors and the Clariant Management are fully committed to these targets and to creating value for all our stakeholders. We appreciate that so many customers, employees, investors, shareholders, suppliers, and other stakeholders engage in open discussions with us. Their feedback is valuable for everyone on the Board, as these highly relevant perspectives and insights always improve our decision-making. My colleagues on the Board of Directors and I thank everyone who contributed to the success of Clariant in 2022.
Günter von Au
Chairman of the Board of Directors