Introduction by the President & CEO
Our business has performed very successfully over the last two years. 2015 was the first time that we had crossed the five-billion-euro sales mark. Sustainable business management, which has always been an integral part of WACKER’s philosophy and is embodied in our corporate principles, was a contributory factor in this success.
What’s more, sustainability is one of our five strategic priorities. In this regard, we focus on two levers:
- Efficient processes at our plants and lower raw-material and energy consumption, coupled with higher output – the key term here is less resource-intensive production.
- The development of new, sustainable products to further reduce CO2 emissions.
Today, a significant proportion of our products goes into sustainable applications, such as polysilicon for solar installations, additives for adhesives used in wind turbines, high-performance silicones for electric cars, and dispersible polymer powder for external thermal insulation composite systems.
We produce high-quality solar-grade and semiconductor-grade polysilicon at our new plant in the US state of Tennessee. The strong growth experienced by photovoltaics shows that solar energy has a great future. Solar power is one of the most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly energy sources on earth.
Renewable energy is also one of the 17 goals set by the United Nations in 2015 for sustainable development. It is both an honor and a source of inspiration for WACKER to help bring about at least seven of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
WACKER is just one company and cannot drive sustainable development alone. For this reason, we feel it important that our suppliers should be among those who integrate sustainability into their business processes. We are committed to the German chemical industry’s “Together for Sustainability” initiative. Its participants aim to procure goods and services in a responsible manner and to improve ecological and social standards among suppliers. About 500 of our suppliers were assessed according to sustainability criteria during the last two years. In this way, we motivate them to make further improvements. Our company, too, underwent a corresponding audit and did very well.
The tremendous dedication and considerable expertise of our employees played a part in this success. They identify very strongly with their company. 80 percent of our employees are proud to work for WACKER. This rating was one of the results of a survey held in 2015.
As a company, we have the duty to raise our employees’ motivation and broaden their expertise. The women who work at WACKER have excellent training. We need their skills at every corporate level. Our aim is to get more women into middle and upper management positions. To achieve this, we have set quantitative targets for the first and second levels of our management hierarchy.
As a global company, we understand diversity as including an appreciation of different cultures and the acknowledgment that the sheer variety of humankind enriches our lives. In 2015, WACKER started a groupwide initiative to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce. The company joined Germany’s Diversity Charter initiative. It is therefore only natural that we are committed to helping refugees. Education and language skills are the key to successful integration. Accordingly, we support projects focused on exactly this aspect.
As a company dedicated to sustainability, we are aware that becoming sustainable is an ongoing process. We have not yet reached where we want to be in every respect. Although we have been recording fewer reportable workplace accidents than the German chemical-industry average for several years, we still have not achieved the goal we set ourselves regarding occupational accidents with workdays missed. To improve WACKER’s record here, we are focusing on our new occupational safety programs.
We are also encountering challenges in the political arena. In our view, the abandonment of the principle of free trade and the rise of protectionism are of particular concern. WACKER resolutely defends free and fair trade. That is the only way to create prosperity and growth – from which more and more people in the world will profit. We also take the fight against modern slavery and the violation of human rights very seriously.
Read this report to find out about what WACKER has done over the past two years to make the world more sustainable. We will continue to play our part – with determination, drive and perseverance.
Munich, Germany – July 2017
Dr. Rudolf Staudigl
President & CEO of Wacker Chemie AG