Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. We can already see extreme changes in the weather and the biosphere as well as rising sea levels. If no further action is taken, the average surface temperature will in the long-term rise about 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius (IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers), which will mainly affect the world's poorest populations. Because of this, at the Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 (COP 21), countries agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius in relation to the level before the beginning of industrialization. Everyone concerned, also industrial companies, must play their part in this.
We have set ourselves the target to reduce our specific greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by 12 percent – in relation to 2012 – and are well on the way to achieving this. One important measure was the installation of a highly efficient combined gas and steam turbine power plant at our Marl site (Germany), which, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions, also helps stabilize the grid and, consequently, supports renewable energies.
The Evonik Carbon Footprint (ECF) helps us to determine our overall emissions throughout the entire supply chain and to identify where action is necessary. It also shows that 95 million mt CO2 equivalents (CO2e) could be saved across the life cycle of applications for selected products that Evonik manufactured in 2016.
Transparent, open reporting about our climate protection activities is important to us. We report on this in our Sustainability Report and the ECF, and also participate in the CDP Climate Change.
On top of this, Evonik is involved in the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships Initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. According to this, products and solutions from the chemical industry have the potential from 2030 onwards to save up to an additional 1 gigaton of CO2e in the construction, automotive, packaging, and food markets. With the development of new technologies, further savings of approximately 0.4 gigatons of CO2e could be achieved in chemical production.
Our stakeholders also expect us to develop innovative, future-oriented products and solutions to meet the challenges of climate change. A sustainability analysis of our businesses has shown that currently more than 50 percent of our products make a verifiable contribution towards resource efficiency in our customers’ applications. These include products for lightweight construction in vehicles, additives in “green tires” to reduce rolling resistance, system solutions for wind and solar energy plants, lubricant additives to improve power transmission and durability, biogas separation systems, insulation materials, feed additives, and many others.