EFFICIENT USE OF SCARCE RESOURCES
Alternative and renewable raw materials
Evonik uses a wide range of raw materials in the production of its products. Like technical goods and services, they are sourced from a variety of suppliers. Production inputs decreased from 8.3 million metric tons in 2021 to 7.7 million metric tons in 2022. Production output was 8.8 million metric tons. Evonik replaces CO2eq-intensive raw materials with alternatives wherever this is possible and competitive.
In its production processes, Evonik uses dextrose and saccharose, mainly as substrates in the fermentative production of amino acids. Natural fats and oils and their derivatives are used to produce precursors for the cosmetics, detergents, and cleaning agents industries and in technical processing aids. Renewable raw materials are classed as critical raw materials for procurement purposes, especially with a view to reliability of supply. Consequently, they are subject to a special examination.
We are endeavoring to increase the proportion of renewable raw materials. That includes examining technical, economic, ecological, and social aspects. In 2022, the proportion of renewable raw materials increased to 11 of production inputs (2021: 9.7 percent).
Evonik mainly uses palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives to produce ingredients for the cosmetics, detergents, and cleaning agents industry (Care Solutions business line) and to produce polymers used to improve the viscosity index and reduce the pour point of lubricants (Oil Additives business line). Our annual requirements are around 95,000 metric tons. We are critical of the establishment of new palm oil plantations and the associated land use. Therefore, we pay special attention to the ecological and sociopolitical developments relating to this market.
For many years, Evonik has supported the use of sustainable palm oil in the supply chain. The focus here is on internationally recognized certification standards. Evonik has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2010. In our annual RSPO progress report, we outline our activities and targets to foster sustainable palm oil production. In keeping with our commitment to ensuring the responsible use of palm oil, we actively network with NGOs, customers, and other stakeholders in the value chain.
Evonik has drawn up recommendations for sustainable procurement and use of palm oil, palm kernel oil, and their derivatives to raise the awareness of our employees on how to take a responsible approach to these substances. We have published these recommendations on our website. Specific strategies, targets, and measures are defined by the operational management teams in the Care Solutions and Oil Additives business lines.
About 80 percent of the palm-based raw materials used by the Care Solutions business line are already RSPO-certified. Moreover, we have started to extend this to all available raw materials. Care Solutions’ strategic priorities are certification of its sites and extending its portfolio of certified products.
The strategic priorities of the Oil Additives business line are the certification of its sites and extending its portfolio of certified products. At present, all five production sites that use palm oil derivatives have been certified as conforming to the RSPO’s MB or SG standard.
Evonik plans to use only RSPO-certified palm oil and palm kernel oil in its products by 2025. In addition to the sharp price rise, significant regional fluctuations in the supply of certified derivatives are challenging as this entails uncertainty in meeting demand. The preconditions for achieving our target are therefore the availability of the necessary raw materials and commercial feasibility on the global market.
Sustainable palm oil production: commitment with WWF and Beiersdorf expanded
Progressive deforestation to establish new palm oil plantations is a major challenge. In view of this, Care Solutions has developed additional supply chain criteria with its customers. We expect further progress here to come from a joint project with the WWF and Beiersdorf. This partnership aims to strengthen sustainable development in the Malaysian region of Tabin in Sabah on the island of Borneo. This program takes a three-pronged approach—protect, produce, restore. The aim is to encourage the sustainable production of palm oil and other agricultural produce and stop deforestation. By 2025, a total of 20,000 hectares farmed by small- and mid-sized growers should be certified as conforming to the RSPO. In addition, a political framework is to be created for sustainable agriculture and forestry. The three partners have also pledged to protect the wildlife habitat in Tabin and to set up at least one ecological corridor allowing wild animals to migrate to other habitats. Moreover, the aim is to stabilize the population of threatened and endangered species, such as rare Borneo elephants and orangutans.
In the reporting period, Evonik extended its collaboration with WWF and Beiersdorf to a further project on Borneo, in the Indonesian Province of West Kalimantan. The aim is to certify 200 independent palm oil producers with a total of 300 hectares of land as RSPO-compliant. The goal is to give these smallholders direct market access to a palm oil mill by 2026. This is an important building block for Beiersdorf and Evonik in their commitment to sustainability along the entire supply chain for palm (kernel) oil derivatives.
Transparency and traceability
Evonik advocates the responsible use of woodland and forests and the protection of the soil. Our Care Solutions and Oil Additives business lines are founding members of Action for Sustainable Derivatives (ASD). The goal of the ASD initiative is to ensure the traceability of palm oil derivatives to mills and plantations. Its risk analysis methods and joint action plans aim to help counter progressive deforestation. Within the ASD, Care Solutions and Oil Additives report annually on the degree of transparency in the supply chain and at the oil mills involved. In 2022, Evonik’s activities on traceability, exposure, and risk analysis within the framework of its ASD membership were extended to the supply chains for soybean and coconut oil derivatives.