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Global chemistry company Solvay has a 150-year legacy of engineering innovative chemical solutions to improve customers’ performance and enhance consumers’ quality of life. Working with multiple industry sectors, from automotive to agriculture, it consistently seeks to improve the efficiency of its chemistry while reducing its impact on the environment and society.
The company launched the Solvay Way in 2013, an overarching policy to define how Solvay will improve and measure key aspects of its sustainability performance. The Solvay Way illustrates the strength of Solvay’s sustainability commitments and highlights how employees, whom it sees as integral to achieving its ambitions, can participate in the journey.
Capturing and reporting accurate sustainability data for its global operations is central to demonstrating the company’s progress externally. And with stakeholders keen to see greater consistency in reporting, Solvay selected UL EHS Sustainability as a means to consolidate its global data and report it more efficiently. Ultimately, Solvay aims to transition to integrated reporting.
With some 30,000 people operating in 18 business units across 117 sites in 56 countries, Solvay required a uniform way to analyze and report its global sustainability data. In particular, individual business units used different data management systems, an issue that was compounded following Solvay’s acquisition of Rhodia, where employees used an entirely different set of processes and reporting tools. Integrating the two companies also increased the complexity of the data management challenge, with many more sites, business units and countries to monitor.
Internally, there was limited cross-functional collaboration on sustainability performance, and while many teams were responsible for collecting data, fewer people reviewed how it could be consolidated and analysed at a group level in a consistent way. Additionally, each entity used different approaches to defining material issues, so in moving to a more integrated approach to reporting, it was essential to encourage them to change their mindsets and adopt a basic shared concept of how to report non-financial data.
Solvay began working with UL EHS Sustainability in early 2013 and has recently acquired the PURE Sustainability Frameworks module. UL worked closely with Solvay’s diverse business units to engage its internal stakeholders and demonstrate exactly how the system would meet their data consolidation and reporting needs. Some 400+ users will use the system, with 1000+ indicators being tracked overall.
While certain entities will retain their existing systems for managing specific aspects such as energy use, the PURE Platform will act as a consolidator, forming a central database of information fed in from existing data management systems. This will help Solvay to respond more efficiently to multiple reporting frameworks and surveys. Each business unit will also have access to specific performance dashboards.
The UL team has also configured the system to allow Solvay to report on key aspects outside of the GRI G4 framework, such as environmental incidents.
Using the PURE Platform, Solvay’s Sustainable Development team will be able to achieve a clearer overview of its global sustainability data and enhance the quality and accuracy of its annual Solway Way assessment as well as its reporting to key sustainability frameworks.
The company will use the system as a strategic tool to prompt greater consolidation of data and collaboration between different functions on sustainability performance. Indeed, fewer people will be involved in data collection, while more emphasis will be placed on analysis. In the future, Solvay may also replace certain legacy systems as it seeks to further streamline the reporting process.