Its mission is to transform its resource cycles, to address the global issue of resource scarcity, and design innovative solutions that help customers achieve their sustainability goals.
Founded in 1863 and headquartered in Belgium, Solvay employs more than 23,000 people in 64 countries. Its net sales in 2020 were €9 billion. It supplies high-performance plastics, polymers, fluids and eslatomers to a range of industries.
Solvay partnered with the Foundation in 2018, with a pledge to develop new manufacturing processes, use renewable energy, and produce materials that align with the principles of the circular economy. The chemical industry supplies many other industries, and chemical science can be used as a powerful building block to enable material transformation.
In 2020 Solvay launched its Solvay One Planet sustainability programme, which has three principles — protecting the climate, preserving resources, and fostering better life. The company’s aims include decoupling the use of finite resources from business growth and rethinking the way it makes and uses materials and products — to ensure safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products are used in homes, food and consumer goods, planes and cars, batteries and smart devices, and water and air purification systems.
Solvay has moved towards adopting circular practices in several areas — developing products that are circular by design, doubling the sales of products made from renewable or recycled resources, and transforming waste into added-value raw materials.
The circular economy in action at Solvay — electric vehicle battery recycling
Solvay has joined forces with another of the Foundation’s Strategic Partners, Groupe Renault, to create a circular economy for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
They have created a consortium with Foundation Partner Veolia to collaborate across the battery value chain — collecting end-of-life batteries, then recovering and purifying the metals to be reused in new batteries.
The number of electric vehicles worldwide is expected to grow from 10 million in 2020 to more than 100 million by 2030, but the materials currently used in lithium ion EV batteries are not always recovered at their maximum value. The consortium aims to scale its circular economy solution to tackle this problem.
At Solvay, we know that we can create value for at least another 155 years, but only if it doesn’t come at the expense of our planet. Our partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation highlights the indispensable role that the circular economy plays in tackling the climate crisis. We need to rethink the life cycle of a product rather than look at what it does at a given point in time. We must re-discover, unlearn what we take for granted and relearn new practices, working together to demonstrate how businesses, financial institutions, and policymakers can build a thriving and resilient economy while playing an essential role for a cleaner future.
Ilham Kadri, Solvay CEO
Chemistry has an important role to play in enabling a circular system. Solvay is demonstrating its leadership and the opportunity for the chemicals sector in a circular economy through clear goal setting and the development of ambitious and innovative industry partnerships for better growth by design. The Foundation is delighted to work with Solvay on this journey.
Andrew Morlet, Ellen MacArthur Foundation CEO
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