WACKER takes sustainability criteria into account at every stage of the product life cycle, especially for research and development projects. We aim to minimize our ecological footprint by using low-environmental-impact raw materials and, at the same time, to make solutions that offer greater sustainability possible on the market. As a result, our customers in turn increase their sustainability performance.
The assessment of the sustainability of products takes account of economic, environmental and social aspects along the entire product life cycle. In 2018, we launched the WACKER Sustainable Solutions program in order to assess our portfolio in accordance with objective criteria as regards contribution to sustainability. In this way, we want to continually increase the proportion of products that contribute to sustainability. By the end of 2018, we had assessed 80 percent of our products. This assessment will form the basis of future portfolio management in our business divisions and for our communications on sustainable solutions.
In an overview of our sustainable products, we give examples of the ecological compatibility of our portfolio.
Life Cycle Assessments
Our life cycle assessments (LCAs) look at a product’s entire life cycle – a “cradle-to-gate” assessment extending from manufacturing to the factory gate – in order to quantify its environmental impact. This allows us to gauge the sustainability of our products and production processes, and to improve them accordingly.
In an LCA, we take account of all relevant, potentially harmful effects on soil, air and water, as well as all material flows associated with the system in question. This includes raw-material consumption and emissions from supply and disposal processes, from energy generation and from transport.
During the reporting period, WACKER POLYMERS updated the LCA data for dispersions and for dispersible polymer powders. WACKER SILICONES had LCAs performed for the entire silicone production chain and supplied customers with updated data on request.
With the help of the WACKER ECOWHEEL®, we identify key sustainability topics and, together with our customers, set priorities for research projects. Our evaluations factor in the material, water and energy consumption of a product, as well as its ecotoxicity, over the entire life cycle.
In order to systematically assess raw materials that we use in our products, we are setting up our Identifying Substances and Mixtures of Concern (ISC) system in a dedicated database. In doing so, alongside regulatory factors, we are taking issues under public debate into account.