Status of Goals for 2011/2012
We will publish further GPS Safety Summaries – which make information on material properties publicly accessible – for the substances we have registered with the ECHA. The Global Product Strategy (GPS) – an initiative developed by the International Council of Chemical Associations – contains rules for the assessment of the properties of chemicals and on how to provide information on their safe use. By the end of the 2011/2012 reporting period, we had published 41 GPS Safety Summaries on the ICCA (International Council of Chemical Associations) website.
Corporate entity: Groupwide
Deadline: The relevant GPS Safety Summaries are to be published on the ICCA website no later than one year after the registration of our substances with the ECHA. This will probably amount to more than 300 substances by the end of 2018.
Implementation status: By the end of 2014, we had published 75 Safety Summaries on the ICCA chemicals website for the substances we registered under REACH.
We are preparing a further 145 substance dossiers for the third stage of REACH, which runs until mid-2018. We will publish further descriptions of the safe, environmentally compliant use of chemicals (GPS Safety Summaries) for the substances we have registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
In 2014, GHS implementation was in high gear in Europe and the USA in order to meet the deadline of June 1, 2015. The aim of the United Nations’ GHS initiative (Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals) is to create a globally uniform system for labeling hazardous substances. In actual practice, however, every country has the freedom to tailor the system. This results in many national versions of GHS that differ in significant ways, making the job of classifying and labeling our products that much more complex. We are continuing to make steady progress toward our goal of meeting country-specific implementation deadlines. As matters stand, these deadlines will extend beyond 2017.
Research and Development
The Group’s research and development work remains focused on key strategic projects. One major aspect of R&D work in 2015 will be to bring to market the initial results of our New Solutions project – an initiative for developing technically and commercially superior solutions for new applications. Our R&D priorities remain the highly promising fields of energy, consumer care, biotechnology, construction applications and semiconductors. We are devoting particular attention to energy storage and renewable energy generation.
WACKER will continue to participate in the National Platform for Electric Mobility, an initiative launched jointly by the German government and industry. The common goal is for at least one million electric vehicles to be on the road in Germany by 2020. At its Corporate R&D facility, WACKER is working on developing accumulator technologies that will pave the way for viable, sustainable electromobility. For example, researchers want to replace the graphite in lithium-ion batteries with silicon, since silicon can absorb up to 10 times as many lithium ions, thereby considerably increasing the energy-storage capacity.
Our polysilicon production plant in Charleston (Tennessee, USA) will be completed in 2015. Our development projects are focused on further boosting the efficiency of polysilicon production processes. We believe there is considerable scope for reducing specific energy consumption. Lower production costs will further enhance the competitiveness of photovoltaic power generation. We expect this application to develop into a leading energy source for meeting worldwide electricity demand over the coming decades. We share this opinion with numerous experts, e.g. the International Energy Agency (IEA), which even predicts in one of its growth scenarios that up to 50 percent of power will be supplied by photovoltaics by 2060.
Ecological Product Assessments
WACKER will further deploy the WACKER® Eco Assessment Tool as a standard tool across the Group. This will help us assess the sustainability performance of our key product lines.