Underlying cost of goods sold totaled € (8.2) bn, of which some 40% are taken by raw material and energy costs.

The overall raw materials expense of the Group mounted to circa € 2.5 bn in 2016, some 16% lower compared to 2015. The raw materials expense can be split into several categories: crude oil derivatives circa 46%, minerals derivatives circa 23% (e.g. glass fiber, sodium silica, calcium silicate, phosphorus, sodium hydroxide…), natural gas derivatives (circa 13%), biochemicals circa 12% (e.g. wood pulp, glycerol, guar, fatty alcohol, ethyl alcohol…), others (circa 7%). 

Net energy costs represented about € 0.64 bn in 2016, circa 10% lower versus 2015. Energy sources were spread over electricity and gas (circa 71%), coke, coal and anthracite (circa 22%) and steam and others (circa 7%). Fossil fuels represented circa 73%. More than half of the costs were incurred in Europe (circa 56%) followed by the Americas (24%), Asia and rest of the world (circa 20%). The Group has pursued an active energy policy for many years. As a major energy consumer, the Group produces its own electricity through on-site cogeneration plants and steam turbines for a total capacity of circa 800 MWe.

Within the Group, Solvay Energy Services (SES) focuses on optimizing the Solvay’s energy costs and carbon emissions. Furthermore, SES has continued deploying its operating energy efficiency excellence initiative called SOLWATT®, which aims at reducing energy consumption and optimizing energy production on industrial sites. By the end of 2016, SOLWATT® has been gradually rolled out and covers almost all the Group’s manufacturing sites. As of December 2016(1), 2205 actions for a total of €91 million of savings per annum have been identified after the diagnosis phase. More than half of these actions representing €35.5 million and circa 359 kt of CO2 of annual savings have been implemented since 2011(1)2016 Solwatt® figures still include actions related to Acetow and Vinythai. The Soda Ash & Derivatives and Specialty Polymers GBUs are among the top beneficiaries.

(1) 2016 Solwatt® figures still include actions related to Acetow and Vinythai