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Stakeholder Roundtable – "LANXESS and the SDG's"

– Thinking chemistry sustainably –

How LANXESS can contribute to the consistent implementation of the SDGs

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly have one overarching goal: to make the earth a better place for all people. But as a company in the chemical industry, how does LANXESS respond to the challenges anchored in the SDGs? How closely are entrepreneurial priorities linked to development objectives? And where can LANXESS products help to achieve these goals? The round table "LANXESS and the SDGs" provided answers, suggestions and a new perspective.

On December 5, 2018, numerous representatives from institutions, associations, universities and the capital market met with experts from various LANXESS business units in the LANXESS Tower for an open exchange of ideas.  A complete overview of Round Table participants can be found here.
Present ideas, discuss points of view and formulate messages: The Stakeholder Round Table again brought interested and competent people together to find out how LANXESS' corporate activities are perceived by society, science and the financial world. But also what external wishes, expectations and demands are placed on LANXESS and the chemical industry as a whole.

Assume responsibility

The dimension of the SDGs is impressively large - and creates guard rails for the future of a society that will be shaped by globalization. A total of 17 Global Goals and their 169 sub-goals - divided into 107 substantive objectives and 62 implementation measures - are gathered under the five key themes of People, Earth, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships.
In an open exchange, scientists, experts and executives presented and discussed how they believe the world must change - how people and companies can assume responsibility in the sense of the SDGs.
The exciting program of the LANXESS Round Table included numerous keynote speeches and presentations that made it clear that changes and constructive vision are required in the implementation of the SDG. Unanimous opinion of all participants: Companies must assume responsibility - even without a legal obligation. This requirement arises from the self-image of a company that acts responsibly, including LANXESS as a global player.

Align business agenda

The starting point for stimulating feedback from the participants was the presentation of an internal LANXESS analysis. For some time now, LANXESS has been working on an important issue in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals: How can a globally active chemical supplier contribute to the implementation of the SDGs and make concrete contributions?

A LANXESS team made up of numerous experts from various business units presented the participants with a new tool in the form of the SDG matrix. For the first time, it was possible to compare the main corporate issues with the SDGs and document a comprehensive evaluation of the worldwide activities. The focus was not so much on the absolute scope of the measures as on the structural clarification of the overall process, which would then enable intensive monitoring of further development.
The focus was on reducing complexity and identifying docking points for LANXESS in the area of corporate responsibility. In particular, the dimensions "alignment with the SDGs" and "intensity of measures" were analysed and visualised.

Developing the SDG matrix further

The many constructive contributions were as colourful as the picture painted live during the event with quotations, catchwords, pictures and impressions. The subsequent discussion focused on finding out what suggestions and concrete starting points the external view of LANXESS topics provides to those responsible. 

The SDG analysis in the form of the matrix met with broad approval, as did the strategic consideration of the individual topic areas. In summary, three core areas can be identified that the participants - representing the different social groups - wanted:

 

  • Authentic communication - no euphemisms and no project promises, but a clear assessment of the current situation
  • Transparency - insight into the implementation measures in order to be able to track developments
  • Balance in the representation - what has been achieved and where still has to be delivered

The prioritisation of the most important SDGs was also assessed positively - in general, a standardised approach by the industry would be desirable. In addition, the participants formulated clear, further-reaching recommendations on the SDG concept, focusing on the areas of globality and communication. The inclusion of the worldwide locations in a common, coherent concept was addressed as well as the desire for open communication, which also names negative influences and "open construction sites". The participants also had intensive discussions on the necessary prioritisation of the objectives.

Concrete planning of SDG measures

In the concluding block of the Round Table, a concrete project example was used to discuss how customer requirements, digitization and changes in global markets affect the development of chemistry. An exciting lecture on a concrete project from the Leather business unit provided the basis for discussion. In a pilot project, in close cooperation with a research institute, a completely new technology for the recycling of residues in leather production was developed.

 

 


By the construction of a modular plant structure a production on site is possible. In addition to vegetable biomass, the main raw materials used in processing are collagen-containing shavings and cuttings. The retanning materials of the "X-Biomer" brand can then be produced and reused directly at the leather tannery. Under the title "Resource-efficient production of leather chemicals" (ReeL), the LANXESS Leather Business Unit has already built a fully operational pilot plant in cooperation with the Leverkusen research institute INVITE.
The innovative way - directly contributing to SDG No. 12 - triggered lively discussions. The question of the future of chemistry was therefore raised: modular, digital and/or circular?
The participants examined the topic from very different perspectives. New business models, the redesign of material flows and cycles, but also social and temporal aspects were addressed and exchanged.

Promoting a culture of discussion

The Round Table format succeeded. This was expressly emphasised by all parties concerned. In particular the transparent communication among the participants, the diverse staffing of the participant field and the broad integration of specialist managers - which is often neglected at comparable events. The professional moderation and methodology rounded off the very positive impression.

All participants agreed that the fruitful discourse had to be continued at all costs - gladly also with representatives of civil society and politics. For LANXESS, this was a successful event that provided many exciting recommendations and suggestions for the design of the SDG concepts.

 
Sebastian Röhrig, Head of Corporate Responsibility at LANXESS, is highly satisfied with the result: "We want to make further significant progress on our material topics in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and thus support Agenda 2030. The feedback of the participants helps us tremendously. We look forward to the next Round Table."

Contact

Sebastian  Röhrig

Sebastian Röhrig
Head of Corporate Responsibility

Phone: +49 221 8885 1099

Fax: +49 221 8885 1769

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