At WACKER, sustainability has been an integral part of production and business processes for many years. We view this as the basis for our company’s business success. Sustainable development means balancing economic, ecological and social factors in everything we do. WACKER nominated a specific Group coordinator in 2008 to further bolster the sustainability topic within the company. The coordinator supports and advises WACKER divisions and corporate departments in their sustainability efforts and helps ensure that our business partners throughout the supply chain also comply with recognized work and social standards, and commit themselves to responsible environmental action.

Sustainability Vital for Business Success

Beside Responsible Care®, the global chemical industry initiative, WACKER has also joined the UN’s Global Compact. We voluntarily implement its ten principles in the areas of human rights and social and environmental standards. In 2008, we requested that our suppliers also support this obligation. Our supplier management system adheres to this voluntary commitment, and we evaluate our suppliers’ adherence annually.

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Environmental Indicators in 2008


Steam, district heating









CO2 emissions

976,041 t

NOx nitrogen oxides

997 t







Water consumption

241,286,375 m3

Chemical oxygen demand (COD)

4,782 t

AOX halogenated organic hydrocarbons

7 t







Disposed of

87,293 t


74,327 t


108,458 t


53,161 t








2.4 TWh

Primary energy


Natural gas

5.4 TWh

Heat (supplied by third parties)1

0.2 TWh

Heating oil

0.01 TWh

Environmental Protection

Environmental protection is a core component of all processes at WACKER. The focus is not so much on remedial measures, but rather begins as early as the product-development and plant-planning stages. A good example of this is the production of L-cysteine, an amino acid. This is used in drugs, cosmetics and food. Previously, this amino acid was mainly produced via extraction from hair, feathers and pig bristles using hydrochloric acid. With its bacterial fermentation, WACKER has developed a biotech process that can reduce the use of hydrochloric acid by a factor of 27. As a result, WACKER was awarded the Federation of German Industry (BDI) 2008 Environmental Prize.

In terms of production, WACKER succeeded in developing a process to recycle pyrogenic silica at its Nünchritz site. Previously, silica dust at the residue incinerator was landfilled. Thanks to the new process, some 1,000 metric tons can be recycled annually and used as an additive.

Groupwide, WACKER produced 161,619 metric tons of waste in 2008. Some 46% of this was able to be used as material and energy. The rest had to be disposed of. 108,458 metric tons were classified as hazardous and 53,161 as non-hazardous waste. WACKER continually strives to close its material loops, redirect by-products to other production areas and thus to prevent and reduce waste.

Energy Management

In 2008, higher production volumes increased WACKER’s electricity consumption to 2.4 million MWh (2007: 2.1 million MWh). At its Burghausen site, the Group’s own gas and steam cogeneration power plant and hydro-power plant, as well as Nünchritz’s own cogeneration plant produced 1.4 million MWh. This means that WACKER produced just under 60% of its total electricity needs itself.

In 2008, the second European emissions trading period began. WACKER participates in trading with its Burghausen and Nünchritz site power plants. The necessary emissions certificates were allotted to us free-of-charge for the 2008-2012 period.

CO2 emissions, of which 82% resulted from energy-generation plants subject to emissions trading amounted to 976,041 metric tons groupwide. In 2007, WACKER initiated its Power Plus energy efficiency project for the Burghausen and Nünchritz sites. The goal is a 10% reduction in specific energy consumption at the two sites by late 2009 (base year: 2006). All energy-intensive facilities there have been examined and energy-saving measures developed. We are also working on boosting energy efficiency at our international sites. Siltronic’s Portland (Oregon, USA) site equipped its cooling-water supply with higher performance cooling pump units and a heat recovery system. As a result, power consumption was cut by 1 million KWh and natural gas demand by around 25% per year.

Due to production increases and full consolidation of sites acquired from Air Products, heat consumption rose to 2.8 million MWh groupwide (2007: 2.5 million MWh).