Solvay Way illustrates how the Company integrates social, societal, environmental, and economic factors into its management, strategy, decision-making, and operating practices, with the objective of creating value that stands the test of time.
Solvay Way is Solvay’s sustainable development reference framework. It translates the Group’s corporate social responsibility ambitions and commitments into concrete actions and clear responsibilities throughout the entire organization. Through Solvay Way, stakeholders’ expectations are integrated into day-to-day activities and decision-making processes at every level of the organization.
Based on the materiality analysis, the Solvay Way team has developed a set of 37 practices which promote the interests of the Group’s six stakeholders (Customers, Suppliers, Employees, Local Communities, the Planet, and Investors).
Solvay Way is deployed throughout the Group by the leadership of all its Global Business Units and Functions, and is supported by a network of more than 200 “Champions” and “Correspondents”. The Solvay Way Champions ensure proper management at the business level and are supported locally at the sites by a team of Solvay Way Correspondents. Together, they play a key role in deploying the Solvay Way practices and sharing best practices and experiences. Global Business Unit presidents are accountable for managing Solvay Way effectively across their businesses.
This network is supported by Solvay’s Sustainable Development and Energy (SDE) function, which promotes experience sharing and learning across entities. The SDE function is also responsible for making improvements by implementing the findings and conclusions reached through dialog with stakeholders. The key assessment results and outcomes are presented each year to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.
Indicators and objectives
In 2019, 34% of Solvay employees took part in projects related to Solvay Way action plans. This strong involvement demonstrates that employees are committed to Solvay’s sustainable development ambitions.
of employees involved
of improvement in CSR practices
In 2019, all GBUs and corporate functions carried out self-assessments involving 127 industrial sites and 9 R&I sites. The Solvay Way spider chart below shows the results of these self-assessments.
Solvay Way process and results are reviewed by the Internal Audit based on a risk-based approach consistent with Group strategy, sustainability materiality and priorities.
For sites included in the 2019 Audit Plan, a review of Solvay Way self-assessment mandatory practices linked to the Group five sustainability targets (safety, greenhouse gas emissions, people engagement, sustainable business solutions and societal actions) and sampling review of additional practices selected by the GBUs have been performed.
Internal Audit Results
Internal Audits have reviewed Solvay Way on 121 sites in 2019, with 94% Solvay Way self-assessment accurate.
- 94% of practices correctly self-assessed (vs 84% in 2018),
- 6% of practice with a gap identified (vs 11% in 2018).
2020 action plan
We noticed that 6% of the self-assessment were not accurate. The correct assessments have been taken into account. A review of the gaps will be done with the sites to ensure a proper progress and assessment by 2020.
Solvay Way gives each Group entity the tools it needs to assess and improve its CSR practices using a ranking system with four performance levels. Each entity has to position its level on a scale from 0 to 4 based on its implementation of Solvay Way practices. Individual practices may apply to the site level (Research and Innovation, Industrial Campus, and Headquarters), to a Global Business Unit, or to the Group level (Corporate Function), depending on the topic. Some practices apply to all levels.
Ten mandatory practices are directly related to the Group’s five sustainability targets and apply to all Group entities. Each Global Business Unit can select additional practices relating to its materiality analyses and priorities. Selected practices are validated by the leadership of the Global Business Units and reviewed by the Corporate Sustainability and Energy Team. On average, Global Business Units have performed a self-assessment on 16 practices.
2019 Key achievements
Inaugural Solvay Way Awards
This was the first year Solvay honored the outstanding performance of teams in the realm of sustainable development with the Solvay Way Awards. In 2019, the Group recognized six winners for their sustainability commitment, great performance, and concrete achievements.
Livorno site in Italy recognized for its resources efficiency management
The site reduced its use of fresh water by 8% by improving its water treatment and recovery processes. It also reduced the plant’s steam use by 7% by reorganizing the heat exchange system and improved its waste resources.
Vadodara Research Center in India reaches 92% employee engagement
The Vadodara Research Center is leading the way in spreading social responsibility and safety awareness. With the successful implementation of the HSE tool dubbed “Behaviors Based Safety program”, R&I recognized improvement in the way employees handle their own safety and the safety of their colleagues. All employees, contractors, and visitors are trained, empowered, and encouraged through an awareness and promotion program to make at least one observation per month: that means everyone is part of a continuous effort to end unsafe behaviors and promote safer ones!
Specialty Polymers GBU makes a 15-year commitment for more renewable energy
The Specialty Polymers GBU launched several projects in 2018 to promote sustainable mobility that answers society’s unmet needs. The GBU is working to improve the sustainability profile of its products and provide safer, long-lasting solutions, while also working to enhance performance. Furthermore, the business has made a 15-year commitment with a solar farm in the US to provide products manufactured using renewable energy.
Supplier partnership of Coatis GBU
Cavalinho is a Brazilian road transport company and a core supplier of Coatis for the transport of their raw material and finished goods. Using the REDD mechanism (REDD = reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation), Cavalinho has acquired 16,500 hectares of forests in the Amazon region in order to ensure preservation and replanting. These green areas are capturing all the CO2 emitted by the Cavalinho company, allowing its compensation for the next 20 years. Thanks to its partnership with Cavalinho, Solvay offset 17 ktons of CO2 from transportation in 2019.
Education in action program in Paulinia
As part of its social action outreach to the local community, the Paulinia site in Brazil focused on enhancing youth employability, education, and solidarity, impacting more than 3,000 people in local communities. The site implemented the ‘EducAção: Education in action’ program and supported an NGO founded by the employees in 2003.
Raising awareness on Biodiversity locally
In 2019, a new practice related to biodiversity has been added to the Solvay Way. The new practice focuses on Solvay’s manufacturing processes as part of its value chain. The objective is to ensure that sites identify the ways they impact local biodiversity and manage those impacts properly. The first step is to identify if there is a protected area or areas with high biodiversity value nearby the site’s and then to monitor closely all potential pressures on it.