The environment

The environment


The environment

  • Climate targets validated by SBTi
  • Long-term power purchase agreements for wind energy and solar power
  • Significant increase in green electricity
  • New climate and water policies
  • Extension of our water and biodiversity analyses

As a specialty chemicals company, we are aware that our production impacts the environment. To minimize the impacts, we set ambitious targets and put many measures in place. According to our materiality analysis, the most important sustainability issues for Evonik include mitigating climate change, green energy, water management, and biodiversity.

Mitigating climate change

Mitigating climate change—which is one of our material topics—and the related extreme weather events are a major challenge for society and one that we are also addressing. We are driving forward the reduction of all climate-relevant emissions and other environmental impacts of our business activities. To actively mitigate the effects of climate change, we set ambitious new targets in 2022. We have also integrated reducing our CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2 emissions) into the remuneration of the executive board and other executives. Carbon pricing is used as an additional planning criterion in investment decisions. Along the value chain, we are working on innovative solutions to reduce emissions—often in collaboration with suppliers and customers.

Climate targets 2021 – 2030

In 2022, Evonik announced its commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). SBTi is a partnership of CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and the World Wide Fund for Nature. It defines and encourages best practices for science-based target setting and independently evaluates targets set by companies from this perspective. It has now become an internationally accepted standard. In the reporting period, the emission reduction targets submitted by Evonik were successfully validated by the SBTi.

Validation of our climate targets by SBTi gives us the assurance that we are heading in the right direction. They are an incentive for us to work towards a further significant reduction in our emissions in the future as an important contribution to limiting global warming.«

Holger Höcker | Vice President Safety, Strategy & Controlling, ESHQ, Germany

Klimaziele 2021 – 2030

Outlook 2030 – 2050
On our climate journey, we are currently focusing on reducing our scope 1 and 2 emissions. In the period to 2030, this will be leveraged principally by exiting coal-fired power generation, switching to green electricity, and increasing process and energy efficiency at our sites, especially by applying best practices. Our efforts will be supported by digital process technologies and the establishment of a sustainability data management system.

Evonik Carbon Footprint

We pay special attention to greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain. Since 2008, we have reported an extensive overview of greenhouse gas emissions—from the extraction of raw materials through production to the disposal of the products. The key parameter is the carbon footprint (CO₂eq footprint). The data cover Evonik’s direct energy and process emissions (scope 1), emissions from purchased electricity and heat (scope 2), and relevant upstream and downstream emissions (scope 3). These include emissions from the production of purchased raw materials, services, and capital goods, energy-related emissions not included in scope 1 and scope 2, emissions from inbound and outbound shipments, from the disposal of waste, emissions caused by business trips and employee commuting, energy requirements for administrative buildings, and emissions from the use, disposal, and recycling of sold products.

Green energy

Green energy is one of Evonik’s three most important material topics. In the reporting period, we made good progress with the strategic transformation of Evonik in this area. The focus at our sites is clearly defined: In the long term, supply will be switched to energy from renewable resources. More than 50 sites in Europe, Asia, and North and South America currently source or generate sustainable energy. That avoids around 410,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. Our energy management system ensures a continuous and lasting increase in energy efficiency. In the future, our European sites will be far less dependent on fossil fuels. In addition to green electricity, biomethane is becoming increasingly important for Evonik as a substitute for fossil-based natural gas.

Energy management systems and measures to increase energy efficiency

Evonik aims to reduce both absolute and specific energy consumption by 5 percent by 2025 (baseline year: 2020). New technologies and efficient processes will pay a part in this.

Water management

We save water wherever possible and endeavor to achieve a further reduction in our emissions. In the reporting period, Evonik adopted a water policy and published it on its website. Our aim is to reduce specific freshwater intake by 3 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030.

We are also continuing our work on established water management topics, including monitoring our sites in water stress areas. Adequate availability of water for cooling and production processes plays a key role in our production activities. We therefore regularly analyze the short-, medium-, and long-term water risks at our sites. In the reporting period, we therefore widened our analysis of water stress at our sites to encompass a holistic assessment of water risks. We use the WWF Water Risk Filter to analyze various physical risk aspects such as water stress, flooding, and water quality. In addition, we evaluate reputational risks, such as water conflicts and media scrutiny, and regulatory risks.

Emissions into water

Our sites aim to make a contribution to protecting natural water resources. When planning new production plants, we therefore consider the use of processes that generate little or no wastewater.

Anaerobic processes for the treatment of process effluent and sludge with a high organic content use very little energy compared with incineration or aerobic biological treatment and generate virtually no residues for landfill. These methods also produce valuable biogas and reduce CO2. We have developed a variety of concepts to implement this.«

Matthias Woyciechowski | Senior Expert Environmental Technologies, Germany

Waste management

Our efforts to further reduce production waste are aligned with a clear principle: the first priority is to avoid waste; otherwise waste should be recycled or used to generate energy. As a third option, if this is not possible, it should be disposed of safely. Evonik uses this principle to implement the five-step waste hierarchy defined by EU legislation. As a specialty chemicals company, we are involved in research and development work on mechanical and chemical recycling.


Biodiversity is one of Evonik’s 15 material topics. We are aware that our business operations involve both opportunities and risks with regard to biodiversity. These include, for example, the loss or protection of biodiversity on land and in the oceans, including microbial organisms. It is important to avoid supply chain disruption and production stoppages caused by reduced biodiversity and damaged ecosystems.

When upgrading the railroad bridge over the Silvert stream in Marl, we considered all ecological aspects and discussed them with the nature protection organization NABU, local residents, and the local authorities. The project includes rewilding the stream in this area and incorporating a hibernation bat box into the bridge.«

Thomas Kruck | Project Manager, Construction Engineering, Germany


The starting points for our examination of biodiversity are conventional environmental topics such as emissions into water and the air and responsible water and waste management, which we report on regularly. In addition, the following aspects of biodiversity are addressed in the sustainability analysis of our business: water, eutrophication, acidification, land use, use of renewable raw materials, emissions of critical and persistent chemicals, and microplastics. Our contributions to maintaining diversity are bundled in our Sustainability Focus Area safeguard ecosystems.

In the reporting period, we were involved in various biodiversity workstreams at the German chemical industry association (VCI) and the federation of German industries (BDI) and also took part in various consultation procedures. Moreover, we continued our discussions with the European Commission on the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 with a focus on the proposed EU soil legislation.

In 2023, we also set up internal expert groups to examine relevant aspects of biodiversity. We started to analyze new reporting guidelines and methods and to define and calculate additional biodiversity indicators.

Ecosystem services and direct drivers of biodiversity loss based on IPBES

Biodiversity and ecosystems are natural capital and form the basis for processes that are vital for life. They provide what are known as ecosystem services, which can be divided into four categories:

  • Provisioning services (e.g., wood, water, clean air)
  • Regulating services (e.g., climate regulation, pollutant decomposition, water purification)
  • Supporting services (e.g., nitrogen and carbon cycles, water cycle, soil formation)
  • Cultural services (e.g., therapeutic, recreational, spiritual fulfillment)

Communities and economic systems are supported by these ecoservices. The IPBES reports that biodiversity and ecosystem services are decreasing as a result of anthro­pogenic influences. According to the IPBES, the direct drivers of the reduction in biodiversity and ecosystems are:

  • Land use/seascape change
  • Resource use
  • Climate change
  • Pollution
  • Invasive alien species

Chapters in the sustainability report

Our targets

Below is an overview of the targets set for the environment area of action.

Target attainment in 2023
Ampel gelb Reduce absolute scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 25 percent between 2021 and 2030 (status: – 15 percent)
Ampel gelb Reduce absolute scope 3 emissions1 by 11 percent2 between 2021 and 2030 (status: – 17 percent)
Ampel gelb Reduce both absolute and specific energy consumption by 5 percent between 2020 and 2025 (status: – 8 percent absolute; +10 percent specific)
Ampel gelb Switch purchased electricity to 100 percent green electricity by 2030 (status: + 35 percent)
Ampel gelb Reduce specific freshwater intake by 3 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030 (status: +12 percent)
Ampel gelb Reduce the specific volume of production waste by 10 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030 (status: +8 percent)
Targets for 2024 and beyond
Reduce absolute scope 1 and scope 2 emissions by 25 percent between 2021 and 2030
Reduce absolute scope 3 emissions1 by 11 percent2 between 2021 and 2030
Reduce both absolute and specific energy consumption by 5 percent between 2020 and 2025
Switch purchased electricity to 100 percent green electricity by 2030
Reduce specific freshwater intake by 3 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030
Reduce the specific volume of production waste by 10 percent relative to production volume between 2021 and 2030

Target not achievedTarget partially achieved or target horizon extends beyond 2023Target achieved

1 Scope 3 emissions comprise all upstream categories and the category “Downstream transportation and distribution“ as defined in our SBTi target.

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