2007 and 2008 were the most successful years in Wacker Chemie AG’s history. We forged ahead with strong sales and earnings growth. Achieving financial goals is not our only measure of success, though. How we achieve them is also very important.
Our vision is to make an indispensable long-term contribution to global progress and sustainable development. In fact, sustainability has been part of WACKER’s production and business processes for many years now. In our eyes, it is the basis of our long-term business success. We balance economic, environmental and social factors in everything we do. And we hold especially firmly to this principle in times of financial crisis and economic downturn.
Companies are not purely the driving force of the economy – they are also corporate citizens. In fact, with 27 production sites and some 16,000 employees around the world, we see ourselves as a global citizen, too. WACKER has been committed to the chemical industry’s worldwide Responsible Care® initiative from the outset and supports its international implementation. Moreover, we have joined the UN’s Global Compact initiative. We embrace the Global Compact’s ten principles centered around respecting human rights, promoting social and environmental standards, and fighting corruption. In 2008, we asked our suppliers to support this voluntary commitment, too, and it is now an integral part of our supplier management system.
We appointed a Group coordinator for Responsible Care® in 2008 to intensify our focus on sustainability. The coordinator not only supports and advises WACKER’s business divisions and corporate departments in their sustainability efforts, but also ensures that our supply-chain partners likewise comply with recognized health and safety standards and adopt a responsible environmental approach.
We focus our R&D on finding solutions that meet customer needs and key social responsibilities. One of society’s greatest challenges is to cover rising energy demand while protecting the climate. We confront this issue in our manufacturing processes and product development activities. Integrated production is one of WACKER’s major strengths. It encompasses the materials that we combine, process and recycle in our integrated systems, as well as our energy use – for example we recycle waste heat from production processes. In 2007, we initiated our POWER PLUS project in Burghausen and Nünchritz (Germany) to reduce specific energy consumption at both sites. We have examined all energy-intensive facilities there and developed energy-saving measures.
We are attaching more and more importance to products that significantly contribute to energy efficiency and climate protection. WACKER is one of the largest producers of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon for solar cells. Each metric ton of polysilicon used in solar modules prevents the emission of some 6,000 tons of CO2.
VINNAPAS® polymer powders play a part in solving today’s challenges, too. VINNAPAS® helps insulate buildings against heat and cold – reducing energy costs by as much as 60%.
As for workplace safety, we are doing everything in our power to prevent accidents and to reduce our low accident figures even further. In 2007, we launched the Fresh Impetus for Work Safety initiative in Germany and are now implementing it in stages groupwide.
Another challenge is demographic change, which we have studied closely since 2006. We have pinpointed ten strategic goals to maintain our long-term innovative and competitive strength.
We have also made progress on the social commitment front. In 2008, WACKER and the Technical University of Munich opened an Institute of Silicon Chemistry. The institute promotes interdisciplinary research into macromolecular organosilicon compounds. Beside education and science, we are particularly active in community projects for children and young people. Since 2007, WACKER has been supporting a German charity, Die Arche, which helps children from socially disadvantaged families in several German cities.
Looking back on 2007 and 2008 in terms of sustainable management, we can say that we’ve achieved a lot. It would be presumptuous to say that we are perfect and have the right solution for everything. But we are doing our utmost to find suitable answers – with dedication and conviction.
Dr. Rudolf Staudigl
President & CEO
Wacker Chemie AG