Safe and sustainable sites

More than ever, acting sustainably in the chemicals industry means taking responsibility for products and manufacturing processes. All over the world, we are seeing a high level of convergence of environmental and production standards. What used to be positive distinguishing features in the area of sustainability are now increasingly essential worldwide to the mere ability to produce and sell chemical products. Yet we would be failing in our commitment to quality if we simply restricted ourselves to meeting standards – even if they are more exacting than in the past. Instead, our commitment is to make our production safe and sustainable in every respect, thus ensuring our long-term competitiveness.

Uniform production standards 

LANXESS operates a total of 58 production sites and has a presence in 18 countries (investments ≤50%, as of December 31, 2020). Our wide range of productsrequires the use of many different chemical and technical processes. Uniform standards for planning, building and operating plants ensure a high level of process, plant and occupational safety.

Handling chemical substances and working with technical equipment involves health and safety risks. We identify these risks and potential threats systematically worldwide – for new and existing plants – and minimize them by implementing defined preventive and protective measures. Experts examine implementation of LANXESS guidelines and local regulations for safe operation of our plants on-site via targeted spot checks in audits whose frequency is geared toward the respective risk profile. Compliance with safety standards must be regularly verified worldwide for every plant via audit options. In 2020, a total of 32 production facilities (previous year: 38) were examined in the context of HSE compliance checks (health, safety and environment), including 16 (previous year: 16) in Germany. 15 HSE compliance checks planned outside Germany were postponed to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

We use an electronic reporting system (Incident Reporting System – IRS) to record accidents and events worldwide in line with uniform regulations. Injuries, transportation accidents, near-accidents, environmental incidents, instances of damage and security-relevant incidents such as theft are documented. Each event is carefully analyzed in order to draw conclusions as to how we can avoid similar incidents in the future.

All measures count toward our goal of continuously reducing the number of events.

Global dangerous goods and transport safety management

With a global hazardous-goods and transport-safety management system, we ensure that we minimize or entirely avoid hazards. We coordinate, monitor and review implementation of relevant hazardous-goods and transport-safety regulations as well as in-house regulations centrally in a department that is specifically esponsible for this.

With a global hazardous-goods and transport-safety management system, we ensure that we minimize or entirely avoid hazards. We coordinate, monitor and review implementation of relevant hazardous-goods and transport-safety regulations as well as in-house regulations centrally in a department that is specifically esponsible for this.

Central classification of our products in line with international, regional and local hazardous-goods regulations ensures that applicable laws are interpreted uniformly while taking regional and local aspects into account. Classification determines such things as the type of containment (packaging and tanks), marking and labeling, the permitted modes of transport and transportation routes as well as measures that operational staff must take if a transportation event occurs. The corresponding classification data is stored in the safety-data system for chemicals at LANXESS. In recent years, we have gradually connected an increasing number of countries and Group companies to the system. We successfully integrated the former Chemtura sites in North America into the central safety-data system in 2020. In 2021, we will include more former Chemtura sites in Germany and the UK.

Warehouse management

We have around 540 warehouses worldwide, operation of which is split roughly 50:50 between us and external service providers. We select warehouses – both our own and those operated by external service providers – according to logistics, safety and security, environmental protection and cost-effectiveness aspects. We apply a globally standardized warehouse concept that takes into account the substances stored and meets fire protection and occupational health and safety requirements.

Environmental responsibility

We regard preservation of natural resources – for example by using raw materials and energy as efficiently as possible - and identification of further potential for reducting emissions and waste as an ongoing task in the context of our environmental responsibility and expertise. We equip all new production sites in line with the state of the art, including in terms of environmental standards, taking local requirements into account.

Responsible use of water resources

Access to clean drinking water is not only crucial for the nutrition and health of a steadily growing world population, but also an important economic factor. The Sustainable Development Goals examine various facets of water comprehensively throughout its framework, including wastewater reduction, water efficiency and water management. The sensitive handling of the scarce resource of water is therefore a future-safe approach - especially at locations in water stressed areas where there are problems with availability, quality and/or access to water.

LANXESS Water Program launched

As a chemicals company, we rely on water for our production. We use it mainly for cooling (81%), as an input material in chemical processes (17%) or in the form of steam (2%). In addition, rivers are an important transportation tool, particularly for our networked sites in Germany.

Besides water’s importance as an economic resource, LANXESS is also aware of its ecological and social significance.

Access to water and sanitary facilities are a fundamental human right. Water availability and quality are global challenges that we can and must face up to locally as a company. We are therefore committed to the responsible use of water. In our own business activities and beyond, we use our products to advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6): “clean water and sanitation for all.”

In order to push our engagement further, we launched our global LANXESS Water Program in 2020. We thus want to promote sustainable water management with the aim of continuously improving the way water is used.

Further information on our Water Background Paper >>

LANXESS Water Stewardship Program

Our LANXESS water stewardship program consists of three elements as illustrated in the figure below.
1. Global Water Management 
As a chemicals company, we rely on water for our production. Monitoring of withdrawal, consumption and discharge of water as well as waste water loads is carried out consistently for all LANXESS production sites. We use water mainly for cooling (80%), for process purposes in production facilities
(18%) or in the form of steam (2%). Details on our corporate water flows from withdrawal to discharge are illustrated in the figure below. 


As part of our data transparency in regards to water we participate in the CDP Water Security and provide an extensive list of our water KPIs in our ESG Data Factsheet.

CDP Water Security

ESG Data Factsheet

We have set ourselves a global target to underline the ambition to decouple our economic growth from water consumption:

>> Target: 2% y/y  specific improvement in water consumption

Since 2015 we have achieved a reduction of our specific water consumption of around 18%, even considering the increase in 2017 due to the acquisition of specialty chemicals company Chemtura, and we aim to continue that trend.

Next to water scarcity also the increasing pollution of water bodies is a growing concern. We are committed to continuously reduce all our waste water loads. 

>> Target: 2% y/y specific reduction of TOC (Total Organic Carbon) in wastewater

 2. Local Water Stewardship

In contrast to the climate issue, the local context plays a very important role in sustainable water management. The most important factor in that discussion is the “water stress level” of a region. The water stress is calculated as a ratio of the total annual water withdrawals to the total available annual renewable supply. 

To analyze all LANXESS sites we developed a water risk assessment framework combining internal data with external scientific data like water stress, operational or regulatory risks and relevant water-related KPIs. At LANXESS our main indicators for water risk are the water stress score (a combination of current and future water stress) as well as specific water withdrawal per ton of product. Using this risk matrix, LANXESS identified 4 sites as Water Risk Sites, namely Jhagadia, Latina, Nagda and Qingdao. 
We specifically address water risk sites identified by the water risk analysis. We decided to implement site-specific water stewardship programs until 2023.

>> Target: Implementation of water stewardship program  at water risk sites until 2023

As cornerstone of these local water stewardship programs, we are committed to reduce water withdrawal at those four sites. Therefore, we have set a target to reduce water withdrawal on water risk sites. 

>> Target:  15% absolute reduction of water withdrawal at water risk sites until 2023


3. Beyond the gates

At LANXESS, we understand that our responsibility for water does not end at our factory gates. Instead we are aiming for a holistic approach taking into account all relevant stakeholders and especially the local communities located close to our production sites.

On corporate level, we conduct an active stakeholder dialogue , including a round table discussion on ”water stress”. Water is alongside with education, climate protection and culture one of the four focus topics for our corporate citizenship activities. Moreover, LANXESS is participating in relevant multi-stakeholder and industry initiatives.

Already today, within the industry initiative "Together for Sustainability", we work with our supply chain partners to evaluate and audit their water performance and share learnings and best practices. Water is an important part of these evaluations.

Also the pollution of rivers and oceans worldwide is a major problem. To tackle that issue, LANXESS has been involved in Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) since 2016. Therefore, we are committed to close plastic leaks and prevent industry-related environmental pollution caused by microplastic.

We systematically work on better understanding our water impact along the entire value chain, both positive and negative, and to manage it actively and consciously - also considering the volume of water we use throughout the value chain, as well as the context in which the water is being used.

Water Program Graphic of the annual report 2020
Sparing use of water
Dealing with scarce water resources sensitively is an investment in the future. In order to break the link between our growth and water consumption and potential stresses from wastewater discharge, we have set ambitious targets at Group level. We are aiming for an annual reduction of both and specific water consumption and specific total organic carbon (TOC) in wastewater flows by 2%
"The responsible use of the resource water is part of our corporate
responsibility. We have initiated our LANXESS Water Stewardship Program to drive our commitment even further forward.”

Marie-Sophie Wilde,
Global Environmental Sustainability, LANXESS

The comparison of water withdrawal and water consumption shows that, while large volumes of water are withdrawn (e.g. in the form of once-through cooling water), this water is later returned to the water cycle in the same quality. In 2020, LANXESS’s water consumption is calculated by subtracting the volume of treated and untreated wastewater and the volume of sold steam from the water withdrawal. There was a significant reduction in water withdrawal, mainly due to the coronavirus situation. In 2020, the volumes of treated  and untreated wastewater were recorded separately for the first time and used in the calculation of water consumption. Together with the coronavirus effect, this led to significantly lower water consumption than in the  previous year. 
Water withdrawal Graphic of the annual report 2020LANXESS
Wastewater discharge Graphic of the annual report 2020LANXESS

Sustainable waste management

Rigorous material-flow management from use of raw materials to product finishing is aimed at ensuring that we use resources as efficiently as possible and minimize our waste volumes. Where waste is unavoidable, we try to use or sell it as a secondary raw material or energy source. To keep the amount of waste that has to be disposed of to an absolute minimum, we take a wide range of measures to continuously improve recovery in our production processes.

To ensure continuous optimization of our material-flow management, we have committed ourselves to achieving the targets defined in the international program "Opertion Clean Sweep” (OCS) of the Society of the Plastics Industry. OCS aims to prevent plastic particles and pellets from entering the maritime environment and having an undesired impact. By joining in 2016, we made a commitment to train employees in this area, to implement measures to prevent the release of pellets at our facilities and to require our business partners to also take active steps to prevent pellet emissions.

Total Waste Graphic of the annual report 2020
Waste of disposal Graphic of the annual report 2020

Systematic recording of key data

To record key data on safety and environmental protection systematically worldwide, we use an electronic data-entry system. This enables us to calculate a wide range of HSE performance data for each business unit and site worldwide, which is used as a valid data pool for strategic decisions as well as internal and external reporting. In addition, it maps the progress that we make with our global sustainability targets. Data is gathered only at production sites where we have investment of over 50%.

PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft has been auditing our HSE key data and the requisite data-gathering processes with limited assurance since 2012.

Grafic of the Environmental and Safety Data

Corporate Citizenship

Our understanding of sustainable sites also includes being a strong and reliable partner for the people locally and in the respective region and taking responsibility for development of the social environment. Our social commitment is based on our corporate expertise and objectives and focused on education, climate protection, water and culture. Our goals in all these areas are identical:

  • Mobilizing resources and people for social
  • Achieving positive impacts on the company, the
    environment and society

As a company, we aim to play a positive part in improving living conditions, education, training and equal opportunities as well as health and safety. In addition, we are working to attract talented persons, engage in extensive dialog with our stakeholders, have a positive influence on employee motivation and constantly improve our reputation.

Mobilising people and resources for social engagement

For the past several years, we have annually provide around 1.5 million euros for our projects worldwide. The regional focus of our activities in 2020 was on the Europe/Middle East/Africa region and the USMCA region.

Social activities Graphic of the annual report 2020
Social activities Graphic of the annual report 2020

We provided 1,123,579.15 EUR of support in the form of monetary contributions, while 386,649 EUR was accounted for in-kind giving. On top of that, LANXESS employees volunteered for a calculated value of 25,649.06 EUR. Management overheads amounted to 58,318.34 EUR in 2020. The values of volunteering hours and management overheads are conservatively estimated by the sum of hours multiplied with an average salary. They are not part of our overall contribution total.

We evaluate our projects to verify they are purely charitable motives ("charitable donation"), and evaluate whether we invest in the social environment of our locations ("social investment") or in corporate goals such as image, sales and earnings with social motives. ("Commercial Initiative").

Achieving positive effects on the company, the environment and society

In 2020, alround 1,500,000 (previous year: nearly 300,000) people benefited from our projects. Using a system of performance indicators, we measure the social impact of our activities beyond the mere number of beneficiaries. For nearly all of our projects in 2020, we performed an impact assessment, taking into account both positive effects in the vicinity of the site and positive environmental effects and effects on our business. Specific feedback from beneficiaries of our projects is an important factor. For us, all these indicators represent important indicators for the effect-oriented management of our measures.
"Taking social responsibility is
an important part of our corporate
culture. It is of great importance to us that our commitment has a positive impact on society.”

Thomas Stark,
Corporate Citizenship LANXESS

Impact dimensionsGraphic of the annual report 2020

Promoting culture worldwide

As part of our cultural commitment, we have been sponsoring the international literature festival lit.Cologne as a lead partner since 2010 and the Kölner Philharmonie for several years. The Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy in Japan, which we have supported for ten years, gives talented young musicians from all over Asia the program was altered because of the pandemic. It ended with a concert in Nagano Prefecture, which was attended by a physical audience of around 100 people and an online audience of around 3,400.

Creating the future through education

We began promoting education under the umbrella of the LANXESS education initiative in 2008. Since then, we have initiated more than 500 projects at our sites worldwide to get young people interested in the natural sciences at an early age. In Germany, the LANXESS laboratory days again met with a great response, with children from secondary schools spending a day in modern laboratories conducting experiments under expert guidance. In total, we held four of these events at our sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld in the reporting year. In addition, we supported schools with project funding of around €144,000. The schools used the donations to purchase STEM teaching materials.

The challenge of climate protection

We are working to protect the climate with a multi-stage energy-saving project at a children’s home in Mexico City, for example. The Hogar y Futuro children’s home not for around 300 preschool-age children as a charitable organi zation. After replacing the wiring and putting in an energy-saving lighting system, we installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of the home in 2019 and 2020. As well as a cost saving of approximately 33% thanks to the reduced energy consumption, the combination of various energy-saving measures resulted in an overall reduction in CO2 emissions if around
2.89 tons/year

In Porto Feliz, Brazil, our Inorganic Pigments business unit is involved with several reforestation projects for climate and water protection as well as the living environment of the local population. At the end of 2020, seedlings of native trees were planted by hand in two nature reserves totaling around 3,000 m3, and another 200 seedlings were planted on the grounds of three schools.

Ensure supply of clean water

In many regions of the world, clean drinking water is scarce. LANXESS products are used worldwide to save, purify and transport water. Consequently, one focus of our social commitment is to sensitize people to the causes and consequences of drinking and industrial water shortages. In 2018, LANXESS invited representatives from politics, science, environmental organizations and companies to a roundtable discussion on topics relating to water supply. In addition to a holistic view of the challenges, solutions were discussed in detail.

The “Clean Water for a Better Life” research competition in China, which we held for the sixth time in a row, and digitally for the first time, in 2020, looked at the treatment and reuse of dirty water, research into and treatment of drinking water and the management of natural water resources. We use the competition to support talented young academics. At the same time, it raises public awareness of the significance of water as a resource.

One of the many places in the world suffering from water scarcity and climate change is Burani, a village in Kenya. In the last few years, the water table there has fallen from 45 meters to 145 meters. Since 2020, membrane elements of our Lewabrane brand have been installed in a solar-powered plant in Burani. The extremely salty untreated water is transformed into clean water through reverse osmosis The filtered water is offered as drinking water in kiosk.

Sebastian Röhrig

Head of Corporate Responsibility

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