Value chain and products

Value chain and products

Wertschöpfungs­kette und Produkte

Value chain and products

  • Sustainability integrated into management of the innovation portfolio
  • Development of circular business models
  • Extension of the product range for mechanical and chemical recycling
  • Product stewardship: new regulatory challenges

Research, development & innovation

Developing sustainable innovations is vital for our focus on profitable growth. In this way, we help our customers achieve their own climate protection, circularity, and biodiversity targets. Examples of our innovative contribution to a sustainable transformation are our membrane technologies and our lipid nanoparticles for modern mRNA vaccines. Sustainability is an elementary component of our innovation portfolio. Our aim is to steadily improve both our handprint and our footprint. Our innovative capability enables us to open up opportunities in new, future-oriented businesses in six innovation growth fields:

  • Sustainable Nutrition: establishing new products and services for sustainable nutrition of livestock and people
  • Healthcare Solutions: developing new materials for implants, as components of cell culture media, and for custom-tailored, innovative drug formulations
  • Advanced Food Ingredients: creating a portfolio of healthenhancing substances and nutritional supplements as a contribution to healthy nutrition
  • Membranes: extending SEPURAN® technology for efficient gas separation to further applications
  • Cosmetic Solutions: developing further products based on natural sources for cosmetics and sensorially optimized formulations for skincare products
  • Additive Manufacturing: developing products and technologies for additive manufacturing

Our aim is to generate additional sales of over €1 billion with these innovation growth fields by 2025.

Creavis serves the Evonik Group as an innovation driver for resource-saving solutions with a perspective that goes beyond 2025. In this role, it develops transformative innovations that go beyond the product and market focus of the operational units. Creavis bundles its activities in three incubation clusters:

  • The Defossilation cluster helps industries become less dependent on fossil raw materials by developing high-growth solutions that make a contribution to the transition to a circular, climate-neutral economy.
  • The Life Sciences cluster focuses on novel concepts for resource-efficient and sustainable food production for the world’s continuously growing population. Another focal area is preventing and curing diseases, especially as many people are living to an advanced age.
  • Solutions Beyond Chemistry fosters traceable, safe, and circular value chains based on special application know-how and data-based solutions. These increase the transparency, effectiveness, and sustainability of industrial systems.

Our venture capital activities give Evonik an early insight into innovative technologies and business models. By collaborating with start-ups and technology funds around the world, Evonik gains more rapid access to attractive future technologies and markets.

The Evonik Biotech Hub uses its extensive understanding of complex biological systems and biotechnological production processes to develop custom-tailored, competitive solutions for its customers.

Global research network

RD&I has more than 40 locations worldwide and around 2,650 R&D employees. R&D expenses totaled €443 million in 2023. The ratio of R&D expenses to sales was 2.9 percent (2022: 2.5 percent).

Research, development and innovation: progress 2023
  • We are contributing our specialty chemicals expertise in plastics and additives for recycling to the Future Sustainable Car Materials (FSCM) project
  • Through our venture capital investment in the Chinese battery expert SuperC, we are supporting a key technology that improves the range, robustness, charging speed and service life of batteries.
  • At the beginning of 2023, we also strengthened our position in sustainable products and recycling processes through a venture capital investment in the British company Interface Polymers Ltd., Loughborough. Its additives simplify the recycling of plastics.
  • In the EarLi project (extraction and purification of lithium hydroxide monohydrate from spent lithium-ion batteries for reuse in the production of battery cells), we are working with several partners from science and industry on an economically viable method for the recovery of high-purity lithium.
  • Creavis has developed IN VIVO BIOTICS™, an innovative platform for synbiotic dietary supplements, and brought further products to market maturity in the reporting period.

Circular Economy

Circular economy is a system-oriented approach covering industrial processes and economic activities along the entire value chain. It aims to achieve a climate-neutral, resource-efficient economy, which preserves the value of products, materials, and resources for as long as possible. Circular economy means decoupling economic growth and the use of resources by returning valuable raw materials to the loop at the end of their useful life. Better use of resources and the circular economy are becoming increasingly important for Evonik in view of the limitations of our planet and the diversification of raw materials. As a specialty chemicals company, Evonik is an integral part of various value chains and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in the processes, technologies, opportunities, and risks of upstream and downstream elements. Our activities aim to mitigate the inadequate availability of resources in the supply chain and our production processes and to reduce their dependence on finite fossil-based and other non-circular resources.

Circular Economy

Circular economy involves looking at the entire life cycle of products (C10). The focal areas are the production phase, the usage phase, and the recyclability of the products. In the production phase, recycled, bio-based, or CO2-based resources are used as a substitute for fossil-based raw materials. During the usage phase, products are characterized by durability, reparability, and reuse. To close the loop, products have to be recyclable or biodegradable at the end of their life cycle. In this way, less material is sent to landfill or for incineration.

Target global circular economy program:
Generate more than €1 billion additional sales with circular products and technologies by 2030.

As a specialty chemicals company, Evonik is at the heart of various value chains. Therefore, refining our products and technologies and changing our raw material platforms are the basic preconditions for the circular economy. In addition to our own aspirations, major drivers are the self-commitments of our customers and other companies along the value chain, as they are defining increasingly ambitious plans to reduce CO2 as well as targets for the use of circular materials. Working with partners along the entire value chain is an important key for Evonik to play a successful role in the transformation to a circular economy. Evonik divides its circular economy activities into upstream, gate-to-gate, and downstream activities.


  • For example, Evonik introduced the ECOHANCE® product program in the reporting period. In this program, skincare products are produced from post-industrial plant-based residues.
  • In order to build up a circular system for sustainable recycling of polyurethane, in the reporting period, Evonik teamed up with REMONDIS, one of the world’s leading recycling companies.


  • measuring and reporting on waste from our production plants in keeping with our goal of reducing production waste,
  • increasing resource efficiency by continuously optimizing production processes,
  • leveraging the benefits of integrated production sites and systems for systematic waste management in alignment with the waste hierarchy, and
  • reducing, reusing, and recycling the packaging used for our products.


Evonik offers solutions that support customers’ and consumers’ circularity aspirations during the use of products and at the end of their life cycle. For example, our additives increase the durability of our customers’ products and therefore make a contribution to saving resources. Furthermore, our additives improve mechanical and chemical recycling processes and recyclates.

  • We are involved in a consortium with BMW and other companies along the value chain that aims to increase the proportion of recyclates that can be used in automotive components to enable circularity in the automotive sector
  • In 2023, we continued to partner with Wildplastic, a start-up that supports countries with inadequate waste management systems in the collection of plastic waste from nature by providing fair payment. The recycled plastics are used, for example, in high-quality garbage bags and mailing bags.
  • Our products and technologies enable the recycling of used tires at the end of their life cycle for reuse in high-quality applications, thus avoiding incineration. Our partners reduce their ecological footprint by using tire granulates instead of fossil-based bitumen in road surfaces.
  • Chemical recycling is a solution for waste streams that cannot be recycled eco-efficiently using mechanical or technical processes. That applies, for example, to mixed, heavily contaminated or colored thermoplastics and duroplasts that cannot be melted. To achieve this, Evonik makes additives, adsorbents, catalysts, and process know-how available to its partners. We therefore facilitate chemical recycling of plastics residues that would otherwise be incinerated or disposed of in landfills.

Efficient use of scarce resources

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 7.7 million metric tons in 2022 to 6.2 million metric tons in 2023. Production output was 7.5 million metric tons. Evonik replaces CO2eq-intensive raw materials with alternatives wherever this is possible and competitive.

Product Stewardship

Product stewardship is a vital precondition for our business. It is our “license to operate”. That includes evaluating the environmental and health risks of Evonik products and minimizing them where possible. As well as complying with all statutory requirements, such as the European chemicals regulation REACH 1 and the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), product stewardship at Evonik includes voluntary commitments that go beyond these regulations. We have been committed for many years to the international Responsible Care® initiative and the Responsible Care Global Charter of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). The key elements of both aspects of product stewardship are defined in groupwide product stewardship standard.

Green Deal

The European Green Deal published by the EU Commission sets out a timetable for Europe to become climate-neutral by 2050. One element in the zero-pollution target is the chemicals strategy for sustainability (CSS), which will have far-reaching consequences for the chemical industry and its value chain. Evonik supports the goals of the Green Deal. In this context, we are actively campaigning both at the level of industry associations and with the EU Commission for the proposed changes to be made circumspectly in order to safeguard planning reliability and for the retention of REACH as the central regulatory instrument for chemicals. We also take part in consultation procedures.

Further product stewardship topics

Animal protection
We need toxicological and ecotoxicological data to assess the safety of our products. In keeping with our responsibility to protect animals, we start by examining possible alternatives to animal testing in detail.

It’s important to avoid animal testing wherever possible. As well as using in-vitro testing, we achieve that by applying intelligent analogies that enable us to draw conclusions about how a target substance will behave. Last year, we worked with leading scientists on using and improving non-animal methods for inhalation toxicology and respiratory sensitization tests.“

Dr. Nils Krüger | Vice President Product Stewardship HRA (Hazard and Risk Assessment), Germany


These include, for example, quantitative structure-activity relationship analyses, analogies, literature, and non-animal testing methods and approaches. These are referred to collectively as NAMs (new approach methodologies).

Nanotechnology is a generic term covering a wide range of developments and innovations as well as established technologies. Their common feature is the investigation, production, and use of minute structures measuring around 1 to 100 nanometers. Some have been known for many decades, while others are new developments. Nanomaterials used in products and efficient system solutions for our customers make a substantial contribution to environmental protection and climate protection. Evonik strives to handle the associated technologies responsibly and conscientiously.

Evonik became a signatory to Operation Clean Sweep in 2015. The aim of this global campaign is to reduce pellet loss in production, processing, and transportation. Evonik is also working on the removal of microplastics from wastewater. One example is the development of an electrochemical process, which was presented at the UNESCO – EU H2020 LimnoPlast Conference in May 2023. This process can be used to recover microplastics from wastewater for reuse.

Proposed restriction of PFAS in the EU
In spring 2023, five European states (Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden) submitted a joint proposal on the restriction of PFAS to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). The proposed restriction affects an estimated 10,000 substances in almost all usage forms. Evonik is concerned that the implementation of this proposal could have a massive impact, for example, by disrupting value chains, and could prevent important applications in batteries, semiconductors, electric vehicles and renewable energy generation.

Chapters in the sustainability report

Our targets

Below is an overview of the targets set for our value chain and products area of action.

Target attainment in 2023
Research, development & innovation
Ampel Grün Generate more than €1 billion in additional sales1 in our six innovation growth fields by 2025
Circular Economy
Ampel gelb Generate more than €350 million in additional sales with solutions for the circular plastics economy by 2030
Ampel gelb Solutions for around 400,000 metric tons of recyclable plastics by 2025
Product Stewardship
Ampel gelb Add substances/products from acquisitions2 to CMS/CMSPLUS and process them by the end of 2023
Targets for 2024 and beyond
Research, development & innovation
Generate more than €1 billion in additional sales1 in our six innovation growth fields by 2025
Circular Economy
Generate at least €1 billion in additional sales with circular products and technologies by 2030
Product Stewardship
Add substances/products that were added to our portfolio through acquisitions between 2021 and 2023 to CMS/CMSPLUS, and process them by the end of 2026

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

1 Reference base: 2015.
2 Since 2017.

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