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August 20, 2019

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Evonik commits itself to a sustainable future for all

MORE and more, major chemical companies see going green as inevitable. Evonik Industries, one of the largest specialty chemicals companies in the world is at the forefront of this trend.

Contrary to people’s customary impression of chemicals companies as environmental villains, Evonik believes environmental safety and people’s well-being are more important than just profits.

Guided by this principle, Evonik coordinates economic growth and environmental protection, constantly exploring and innovating.

Small volume, big impact

From tires to mattress, medication, animal feed and much more, Evonik offers more than 4,000 kinds of specialty chemicals.

And while specialty chemicals account for only a few percent of the final products, they have a big impact.

“Specialty chemicals are like multipliers that help improve performance of end products and also help save resources,” said Dr Claas-Jürgen Klasen, Asia Pacific North regional president of Evonik.

Salmon farming is an example. Every year, 16 metric tons of wild fish are caught to be used to make the fish meal and fish oil for salmon farms. But this poses a great threat to the sustainability of aquaculture.

Together with its partner DSM, Evonik produces a special algal oil that contains the key omega-3 fatty acids needed for healthy salmon farming. With this novel approach, the company contributes to the reduction of the aquaculture industry’s reliance on the world’s finite fish oil resources.

The company is also working to solve problems of “biofouling” by providing shipyards with new and more environmentally friendly coatings that make ships “invisible” to marine microorganisms. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

These two examples showcase of Evonik’s commitment.

Specialty chemicals help protect the environment and make industries from agriculture to automotive, health care to construction better, safer and greener.

Putting green into practice

Evonik practices its green philosophy through its business strategies.

In 2004 the company embarked on the construction of a multi-user site (MUSC) in the Shanghai Chemical Industry Park. The MUSC is set to be a role model for a circular economy and one of Evonik’s safest production plants.

The MUSC bundles several Evonik plants for advanced specialty chemicals together into one area and enables them to work with lower operating costs and minimum environmental impact.

“At the MUSC, different units of Evonik not only benefit from shared infrastructure, but also from well-designed energy and waste management,” said Klasen.

“For instance, centralized treatment of production waste enables effective utilization of all possible energy sources. Waste from certain production units may later provide thermal energy for others.”

Evonik has voluntarily set demanding environmental targets for itself. Its Y2013-2020 target requires reduction of green-house gases by 12 percent and water intake by 10 percent per metric ton of products.

It already achieved the green-house gas target early this year.

The company’s new Sustainability Strategy 2020+ takes the price of CO2 emissions into account in future investment appraisals.

With these constant efforts, Evonik gained recognition from the prestigious “Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World” and also “DJSI Europe” three times.

Evonik supports sustainable development, including Shanghai’s recent new garbage sorting policies that came into effect from July 1.

Waste sorting in Germany has been going on for decades and has been a huge success.

“The key about waste sorting is to tell people why they should sort and the value of waste sorting,” said Klasen, talking of his experience in his home country.

“People need to know waste is a kind of raw material. Properly used, waste can help society. We have to show people how they can benefit from waste sorting.”


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