Environmental Concerns

By setting quantifiable environmental targets, we intend to lower the environmental impact of our production activities.

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WACKER’s Environmental Targets through 2022




Key Environmental Indicator


Base Year


Targets for
20221 (%)


The target-related success level is not based on linear progression, but on individual projects that are implemented at different stages throughout the target period. This is why no intermediate results are reported.


Gross production corresponds to the total production (target products and byproducts) of a plant or site. Net production is calculated by subtracting the internal reuse of products from the gross production of a plant or site.


New target since 2018.








WACKER Germany


Weighted specific energy consumption
(per metric ton of net production)2





WACKER Germany


Specific carbon dioxide emissions
(per metric ton of net production)2







Specific dust emissions
(per metric ton of gross production)2







Specific emissions of relevant VOCs
(volatile organic compounds; per metric ton of gross production)2







Specific NOx emissions
(nitrogen oxide; per metric ton of gross production)2,3





Environmental Protection

WACKER attaches particular importance to integrated environmental protection, which begins right at the product-development and plant-planning stage. WACKER constantly works to improve its production processes, with the aim of conserving resources. A key task is to close material loops and recycle byproducts from other areas back into production. This enables us to reduce or prevent energy and resource consumption, and waste, and to integrate environmental protection into our production processes. At WACKER, we monitor resource and waste targets at site and divisional levels.

The production system is described in the Group Business Fundamentals section of the combined management report.

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Environmental Protection Costs








€ million














Operating costs







Capital expenditures







Our Groupwide standards for protecting the environment apply to all our production sites and technical competence centers. The site managers ensure that environmental protection requirements and environmental standards are met at their particular locations. The Group Coordinator for the Environment looks at how sites implement environmental standards in practice and performs random checks to verify legal compliance.

In 2018, WACKER invested €5.9 million in environmental protection (2017: €4.2 million). Environmental operating costs came to €82.9 million (2017: €78.3 million). Examples of capital expenditure on environmental protection include the process control system for the waste disposal center at Burghausen and modernization of the waste-disposal installations and control room at Nünchritz.

Assessment Using the Global Water Tool ™

In 2018, we again used the Global Water Tool ™ (GWT) developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – or the WRI Aqueduct contained in that tool – to analyze the relative water stress index of the countries where our main production sites are located. Beside the water stress index, we are checking whether other water-related risk factors used in this tool are of relevance to WACKER’s production sites. The current result is that 99 percent of our annual water use and over 91 percent of our production volume are in regions with adequate water availability levels.

In 2018, WACKER submitted its first Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Security report for the reporting year 2017, achieving a D (Disclosure). Registered CDP users can download the details.

As part of the Bavarian Environmental Pact, WACKER and seven other companies in Bavaria’s Chemical Triangle formed an association called “Naturnahe Alz” (Natural Alz) to support the state of Bavaria in renaturalizing the Alz river and enhancing its ecosystem in the long term. In the reporting year, the “Naturnahe Alz” association again donated €60,000, bringing its total investment in nature conservation to €200,000 since its foundation in 2015.


The chemical industry is one of the most energy-intensive sectors. WACKER’s sites in Germany consume 3,976 GWh of electricity, representing approximately 0.8 percent of the country’s electricity consumption. WACKER is continually improving the energy efficiency of its processes. This enables us to remain globally competitive while at the same time contributing to climate protection.

Electricity Supply

Electricity Supply (pie chart)
1 Outside Germany, we purchase electricity from third parties based on the local standard energy mix.
2 Burghausen

Many chemical reactions generate heat that can be put to use in other production processes. In addition to recovering heat from such chemical reactions, we have been using integrated heat-recovery systems in Burghausen and Nünchritz for years and are continually improving and expanding them. In this way, we can reduce the amount of (natural gas) consumed by our power plants.

To enhance energy efficiency and reduce specific energy consumption (amount of energy per unit of net production output), the Executive Board has defined energy targets for WACKER Germany. We have set a goal of reducing specific energy consumption by 2022 to one-half of the 2007 level. Net production is calculated by subtracting the internal reuse of products from the gross production of a plant or site. Gross production corresponds to the total production (target products and byproducts) of a plant or site.

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Energy Consumption
















Coal, charcoal and wood; used as reducing agents at the silicon-metal plant in Holla, Norway.


Steam and district heating








Electricity consumption







Heat consumption







Primary energy use (total)







Of which







Natural gas







Solid fuels1







Heat supplied by third parties2







Our primary source of energy is climate-friendly natural gas. At Burghausen, our largest site, we produce steam and electricity using a cogeneration system. The highly efficient operates at more than 85 percent fuel efficiency, which is significantly higher than that of conventional power plants. Additionally, Burghausen uses hydropower to generate electricity. At our Norwegian site in Holla, electricity comes mainly from hydropower.

WACKER’s German production sites accounted for 77 percent (2017: 72 percent) of its total electricity consumption. In 2018, we adopted energy-efficiency measures to further reduce specific energy consumption. These involved further enhancing the heat-recovery processes and integrated systems used in our production plants.

Our German power plants – the hydroelectric and CHP plants in Burghausen and the cogeneration plant in Nünchritz – produced 1,431 GWh of electricity in 2018 (2017: 1,481 GWh), meaning that WACKER covered about 36 percent of its total energy requirements in Germany from its own production. Groupwide, carbon dioxide emissions from captive power plants subject to emissions trading rules and from -metal production in Holla totaled about 1.0 million metric tons in the reporting period (2017: 1.0 million metric tons).

WACKER is subject to the regulations of the EU trading system because of its power plants at the Burghausen and Nünchritz sites. We have covered shortfalls since 2014 by buying emission allowances for facilities subject to emissions trading.

Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.
Primary Energy
Primary energy is obtained from naturally occurring sources such as coal, gas or wind. Secondary energy, in contrast, is derived from primary energy via a transformation process (which often involves energy losses); examples include electricity, heat and hydrogen.
Combined Heat and Power Plant
Combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate both electricity and useful heat. This system can be much more efficient at using the input energy (e.g. fuel oil or natural gas) than are conventional systems with separate facilities. Because primary energy is conserved, CHP plants emit significantly less carbon dioxide than conventional power plants.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element in the earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs without exception in the form of compounds, chiefly silicon dioxide and silicates. Silicon is obtained through energy-intensive reaction of quartz sand with carbon and is the most important raw material in the electronics industry.
Substance outputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation emitted into the environment by an industrial plant.

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