Global warming due to rising emissions of (CO2) is a socially and economically relevant environmental factor. Its consequences can include extreme weather conditions, such as storms, drought or flooding, that vary from region to region, and their resulting effects, e.g. on agriculture and the availability of drinking water. A primary cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels. That’s why we see energy efficiency as a key to ecologically effective climate protection.

The Group’s corporate carbon footprint report is an important tool for improving climate protection. It covers three different scopes:

  • Scope 1 covers direct greenhouse gas emissions from sources of emissions at WACKER sites worldwide. Examples of such emissions include production plants, power stations, and steam-generation and waste-disposal plants.
  • Scope 2 covers indirect CO2 emissions produced at the locations of our energy-supply facilities as a result of generating those quantities of electricity, steam and heat which WACKER procured.
  • Scope 3 includes all CO2 emissions in the value chain that are produced upstream or downstream in relation to WACKER. Examples of such emissions include those produced by the production or transportation of raw materials, the generation of fuels or by the disposal of end-of-life products. The GHG Protocol divides these emissions into 15 categories, though WACKER only reports on those emissions relevant to the company.

Scope 1 Emissions

Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions










kt CO2e1


GWP factor2

















CO2e = CO2 equivalents, as per Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scope 1 (direct emissions)


The GWP factor (Global Warming Potential) is a measure of how much a gas contributes to the greenhouse effect compared with CO2. For example, the GWP factor for methane over 100 years is 25 (according to IPCC Fourth Assessment Report 2007). This means that emissions from 1 kg of methane are 25 times more harmful than from 1 kg of carbon dioxide.


In line with the GHG Protocol, CO2 emissions are categorized into fossil and biogenic sources. The latter are produced whenever renewable raw materials are burned or decompose.


The category of hydrofluorocarbons also contains subordinate amounts of emissions of other halohydrocarbons, which likewise contribute to the greenhouse gas effect.


The individual GWP factors of the individual substances are used to calculate the impact originating from halohydrocarbons. The factors range from 13 to 14,800 kg CO2e/kg HFC.


The CO2e emissions for HFCs were retrospectively adapted for 2016 and also calculated with the GWP factors of the individual substances. Commissioning of the Charleston site in 2016 led to higher diffuse emissions of refrigerants, which is why the 2018 level reflects normal operation.

CO2 (carbon dioxide)3









CO2 carbon dioxide (fossil)









CO2 carbon dioxide (biogenic)









CH4 (methane)









N2O (nitrous oxide)









HFC (hydrofluorocarbons)4









PFC (perfluorocarbons)






NF3 (nitrogen trifluoride)






SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride)






In 2017, direct emissions of carbon dioxide (Scope 1 of the ) declined by 3 percent year over year, chiefly due to improvements in the utilization of steam at the Charleston, Tennessee, site. The production shutdown that occurred at this site due to the loss event in September 2017 was another factor in the decline in CO2 emissions.

In 2018, emissions of carbon dioxide declined by a further 3.6 percent year over year, mainly due to lower steam consumption at our Burghausen and Nünchritz sites.

Incident at Charleston

On September 7, 2017, a technical defect led to a hydrogen explosion that damaged a plant section at our US site in Charleston, Tennessee. This incident resulted in the release of some 38 metric tons of refrigerant, which translates to approximately 180,000 tons of CO2 equivalents (CO2e). This incident was the main reason for the strong increase in Scope 1 emissions in 2017 compared to 2016. We are investigating whether alternative refrigerants with significantly lower carbon footprints can be used in our plants.

Reduction of Scope 1 Emissions

A new steam line went into operation at the Nünchritz site in September 2018. This makes it possible to feed steam from production heat recovery into production and infrastructure. Alongside the cogeneration plant, the hydrolysis and chloromethane (MeCl) synthesis facilities are so far utilizing the steam. The new steam line contributes to achieving the target of providing three-quarters of the steam demand through sustainable recovery by 2020. Then, only a quarter of the steam is to be generated by the cogeneration plant powered by natural gas. This will allow WACKER to save around 45,000 metric tons of CO2 every year at the Nünchritz site.

At our Burghausen and Nünchritz sites, we are working on switching refrigerants for WACKER SILICONES and WACKER POLYSILICON production processes to alternative materials with as low a greenhouse gas potential as possible. This long-term measure will contribute to further reducing CO2e emissions in the event of a refrigerant leak.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions








kt CO2e1















CO2e = CO2 equivalents, as per Greenhouse Gas Protocol


WACKER’s scope 3 emissions from 2016 and earlier were reported solely via CDP.


Contains CO2e emissions in the following categories: Upstream transportation and distribution (Category 4), Waste generated in operations (category 5), Business travel (category 6), Employee commuting (category 7) and Upstream leased assets (category 8), which, due to their much smaller percentages, are reported in consolidated form only.


As a chemical company, WACKER does not – in line with the GHG Protocol – report any emissions from Processing of sold products (category 10) or Use of sold products (category 11). The following Scope 3 categories – Downstream leased assets (category 13) and Franchises (category 14) – are not relevant to WACKER and are consequently not recorded.

Scope 1 (direct emissions)







Scope 2 (indirect emissions)







Scope 3 (indirect emissions), total2, of which:






Upstream activities







Category 1 – Purchased goods and services






Category 2 – Capital goods






Category 3 – Fuel and energy-related activities
(not included in Scope 1 & 2)






Total of all other upstream activities3






Downstream activities4







Category 9 – Downstream transportation and distribution






Category 12 – End-of-life treatment of sold products






Category 15 – Investments






Scope 2 Emissions

Our indirect CO2 emissions from procured energy (Scope 2) amounted to 1,478 kilotons (kt) in 2018 (2017: 1,606 kt). The strong reduction in the electricity to CO2 emissions conversion factors for power generation in Germany and the United States (data as per CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2017 Edition, International Energy Agency) more than compensated for the increase in emissions from 2016 to 2017. We used energy-efficiency measures to further reduce weighted specific energy consumption and the associated specific CO2 emissions – while maintaining a comparable product portfolio.

Higher output at Burghausen and Nünchritz entailed the procurement of additional third-party electricity, thus raising CO2 emissions in 2018. This was more than offset by reduced energy consumption at the Charleston site. The electricity to CO2 emissions conversion factors for power generation in Germany and the USA fell further. (Data as per CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2018 Edition, International Energy Agency). Overall, these effects reduced indirect CO2 emissions from procured energy (Scope 2) by 8 percent.

Scope 3 Emissions

In addition to direct Scope 1 and indirect Scope 2 emissions, we report on any WACKER-relevant indirect Scope 3 emissions (Greenhouse Gas Emissions Table, Categories 1-3, 9 and 12). We calculate these by methods in line with the GHG Protocol (Corporate Value Chain Standard) based on WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) guidance for chemical-sector companies.

In 2017 and 2018, we once again forwarded the WACKER Group’s carbon footprint report to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which WACKER joined in 2007. In the CDP’s 2017 and 2018 Climate Change Report for the chemical sector, we achieved a B on a scale from A (Leadership) to D (Disclosure). Registered CDP users can download the details, including the computation basis for Scope 1-3 emissions.

Other Air Emissions

Emissions of Air Pollutants






















NOx nitrogen oxides







NMVOC non-methane volatile organic compounds







CO carbon monoxide







Total dust







SO2 sulfur dioxide







Groupwide nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions fell by 2.9 percent in 2018, mainly due to reduced steam consumption. The lower levels of NOx emissions in 2017 were attributable mainly to the drop in production at the Holla site. Compared with the previous year, we succeeded in reducing specific NOx emissions at our Holla site by almost 3 percent per metric ton of product in 2017.

One of our environmental targets is to halve specific dust emissions per metric ton of gross production groupwide between 2012 and 2022. This target primarily affects the production of metal at the Holla site. The improvements made in recent years, especially to the baghouses, helped us achieve our target figure of 50 percent for the first time in 2017.

Maintenance and project work at the Holla site’s baghouse caused total dust emissions to rise by 2.4 percent year over year in 2018. We still reduced our specific dust emissions by 48 percent, already nearly achieving our target of halving them from 2012 to 2020.

Emissions of non-methane (NMVOCs) fell by 2 percent in 2018. Lower production volumes at the Nanjing and Ulsan sites are among the reasons for this drop. In 2017, NMVOC emissions dropped by 1 percent. At our Nünchritz site, we managed to reduce NMVOC emissions by almost 20 percent thanks to operational improvements in production. At our Nanjing and Ulsan sites, NMVOC emissions rose in 2017 due to higher production output.

Stetten Salt Mine

At the Stetten site, the acceptance of backfill produced unpleasant odors for neighbors under unfavorable weather conditions in the 2015/2016 reporting period. We analyzed the underlying cause and worked on several solutions. One approach is to no longer accept backfill with a strong odor. We train our employees to eliminate materials with a strong odor both in advance when dealing with order inquiries and during acceptance checks.

We re-sealed cavities that had already been filled and we are closing up newly filled cavities with salt banks that are several meters thick. To adsorb odors, we conducted a long-term trial with , which proved successful during the period under review. We now use cyclodextrins to bind odors in regular operation at the Stetten site. Since 2018, there have been no reports of unpleasant odors from backfill.

Immission Measurements

At the Burghausen site, we invested in a new environmental measurements vehicle for the plant fire department. It is a core element of mobile environmental monitoring in the event of operational disturbances, substance releases or unpleasant odors. As a key Crisis Management unit, the vehicle – on duty around the clock – is predominantly used for prevention, to rule out any risks for people and the environment. The integrated lab equipment makes measurements of air, gas, liquids and solids possible on the go. Experts at the plant fire department can collect data on site and pass it on to the Environment department’s standby team, Crisis Management’s emergency response team and the relevant authorities.

We take measurements at our largest site, Burghausen, in order to monitor whether our individual site facilities comply with legal emissions limits. measurements in the adjoining EU Habitats Directive site (webpage available in German only) by an external assessor showed that the values measured there are considerably below the legally permissible limit values or guideline values.

Sustainable Mobility Strategy

Climate protection also plays a key role in our fleet and passenger transport strategy. This strategy includes using environmentally friendly vehicles, keeping passenger transports and business trips to a minimum, organizing shuttle services, and maintaining a fleet of on-site bicycles.

We encourage our employees to investigate alternatives to taking a car, such as video conferences. At our Burghausen site, we provide 56 commuter bus routes, which some 4,000 of our employees use every day within a 50-km radius.

In China, we offer shuttle buses from residential areas to our sites in Nanjing and Zhangjiagang. There is also a shuttle bus system in place for employees of our Amtala site in India, which 70 percent of them use.

At our Burghausen site, we maintain a fleet of around 6,000 bicycles; our Nünchritz site has around 950 bicycles. We have been taking part in the “JobRad” project (available in German only) for leasing bicycles since 2018 and we again participated in the “Cycle to Work” campaign (available in German only) in the period under review.

Our company car fleet, organized from Germany, has some 550 vehicles in Europe and Australia. Around another 100 company cars are in use in China, South Korea, Brazil and the USA. When we choose contracting companies for passenger transport, we assess the safety and environmental impact of the vehicles used by the bidders. Since 2011, our company car fleet in Germany has only included models that meet a minimum rating of “good” according to the safety and environmental assessment criteria issued by the German Automobile Association (ADAC). During the period under review, we worked on restructuring our company-car strategy; key aspects include safety and sustainability.

WACKER offers frequent travelers and employees who use company cars the opportunity of participating in safety and eco training. Regularly held safety weeks at our sites cover sustainable mobility topics.

Over two thirds of the materials-handling equipment (lifting trucks, stackers and towing vehicles) at our Burghausen and Nünchritz sites have electric motors. Groupwide, the switchover to energy-saving electric motors now covers other equipment, such as pumps and compressors.

In Burghausen, a shuttle bus picks up employees arriving from Munich at the train station and transports them to various destinations on site; an electric shuttle bus for visitors is used on the site. Electric and hybrid vehicles are part of our pool fleet. Our internal mail service at the Burghausen site has switched to electric vehicles. The technical departments for installation and on-call services use 25 commercial electric vehicles.

We encourage our employees to take the train when traveling between the Burghausen site and Munich headquarters. And we have negotiated a special ticket for this regular route with SüdOstBayernBahn, which includes public transport (e.g. the subway to the headquarters). An additional appeal of the special corporate ticket is a bonus card for frequent travelers. WACKER also provides employees with German Rail “Bahncards.”

Carbon Dioxide
Chemical name: CO2. This gas naturally constitutes 0.04% of air. Carbon dioxide is generated during the combustion of coal, natural gas and other organic substances. As a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, it contributes to global warming. Since the start of industrialization in 1850, its concentration in air has risen from approx. 300 to 390 ppm (parts per million). This value is increasing by around 2 ppm every year. Other greenhouse gases are represented as CO2 equivalents (CO2e) based on their greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol
The GHG Protocol is an internationally recognized instrument for quantifying and controlling greenhouse gas emissions. The standards outlined in the GHG Protocol have been jointly developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) since 1998. The GHG Protocol specifies how an organization should calculate its greenhouse gas emissions and how emission-reducing programs should be conducted.
Hyperpure polycrystalline silicon from WACKER POLYSILICON is used for manufacturing wafers for the electronics and solar industries. To produce it, metallurgical-grade silicon is converted into liquid trichlorosilane, highly distilled and deposited in hyperpure form at 1,000 °C.
General term used to describe compounds of organic molecules and silicon. According to their areas of application, silicones can be classified as fluids, resins or rubber grades. Silicones are characterized by a myriad of outstanding properties. Typical areas of application include construction, the electrical and electronics industries, shipping and transportation, textiles and paper coatings.
After oxygen, silicon is the most common element on 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.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gaseous and vaporous substances of organic origin that are present in the air. They include hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes and organic acids. Solvents, liquid fuels and synthetic substances can be VOCs, and so can organic compounds originating from biological processes. High VOC concentrations can be irritating to the eyes, nose and throat and may cause headaches, dizziness and tiredness.
Systematic name given to compounds comprising silicon atoms linked together via oxygen atoms and with the remaining valences occupied by hydrogen or organic groups. Siloxanes are the building blocks for the polymers (polysiloxane and polyorganosiloxane) that form silicones.
Cyclodextrins belong to the family of cyclic oligosaccharides (i.e. ring-shaped sugar molecules). They are able to encapsulate foreign substances such as fragrances and to release active ingredients at a controlled rate. Cyclodextrins are produced and marketed by WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS.
Substance inputs, noise, vibrations, light, heat or radiation that affect humans, animals, plants, soil, water, air, and cultural and other material assets.