Annual Report 2023

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Creating tomorrow’s solutions

Politics and NGOs

As set out in our Code of Conduct, we are committed to responsible actions and integrity – also in our dealings with political parties and NGOs.

We represent our political interests in a way that is consistent with the positions we have expressed publicly. In our work with political entities, we focus on concrete issues and are open to dialogue with any democratic parties. We regularly extend invitations to politicians for discussions and tours at our sites.

WACKER is involved in shaping energy, climate and industrial policies to ensure a solid financial and planning framework for transforming energy-intensive companies in the direction of a net zero carbon footprint by 2045.

Our ambitious climate change mitigation targets are compatible with the Paris Agreement. Validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), they aim to limit the global rise in temperature to 1.5 °C.

WACKER has joined the UN’s Race To Zero initiative, thus making a voluntary commitment to meeting the “1.5 °C” target and undertaking to document its progress towards net zero by means of transparent reports.

As a globally active company, we support fair and free trade. As an industrial company with high gas and electricity consumption, we need globally competitive energy prices and a secure power supply.

We are involved in the Chemistry4Climate initiative of the German Chemical Industry Association. As a corporate sponsor of the KlimaWirtschaft foundation, we firmly acknowledge the importance of business’s role in climate protection.

We work across sectors to find practical ways of putting corporate climate change mitigation into motion.

Work in Associations

National and international associations serve as a platform for our expertise – in particular, Europe’s Cefic (European Chemical Industry Council), Germany’s VCI (Chemical Industry Association), the USA’s ACC (the American Chemistry Council), and China’s IPCIF (China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation). Our work with these entities examines issues ranging from plant, product and occupational safety, climate, energy, industrial and environmental policies, to sustainable finance. Our experts are active in trade associations such as Deutsche Bauchemie (German construction-chemicals association), where issues include sustainable construction.

Our Executive Board is represented in the leadership of the German Chemical Industry Association’s Technical and Environment Committee, and we are active on the VCI’s Sustainability Board and in its Chemie3 initiative.

WACKER CEO Christian Hartel has held the positions of president of the Bavarian Chemical Associations since 2019, vice president of the Bavarian Industry Association vbw since 2020, and vice president of Germany’s Chemical Industry Association (VCI) since 2023.

WACKER in Burghausen is a founding member of the ChemDelta Bavaria initiative, which champions improved regional infrastructure in that part of Bavaria. Key topics include double-track upgrades and electrification of local rail routes, as well as a sustainable, secure energy supply in ChemDelta Bavaria.

WACKER is involved in European solar associations such as Solar Power Europe (SPE) and the European Solar Manufacturer Council (ESMC) in various functions and working groups. We are committed to further expanding photovoltaics and to sustainable technologies and supply chains in this sector. The association particularly focuses on strengthening European photovoltaic manufacturing.

Respect for Human Rights

We are committed to ensuring that our business activities do not violate, or have any adverse impact on, human rights. We are committed to the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and thus to protecting human rights and avoiding complicity in human rights abuses. We condemn slavery and all other forms of forced or compulsory labor. We do not use physical violence, mental intimidation or any other form of abuse. In this respect, we follow the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Core Labor Standards, and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In the reporting year, we reviewed and implemented changes in German law, in particular the Supply Chain Act (LkSG). Our standards were updated accordingly and we prepared for future requirements coming into effect, such as at European level. We implemented or enhanced the following steps:

  • We put our risk-management approach down in writing in the form of a manual and made it binding.
  • We further anchored human rights due diligence in relevant business divisions and at all sites through training and the definition of responsibilities and reporting channels.
  • We communicated the human rights officer position and function company-wide and explained the relevance of the law for various groups of employees through internal communication activities.
  • We systematically introduced continuous risk analysis of the supply chain and of the WACKER Group and defined prevention measures and remedy processes in a more binding manner.
  • We introduced a binding Supplier Code of Conduct.
  • We optimized our whistleblower system by tailoring it to internal needs and then introduced it as a digital hotline platform for internal and external contacts.

Christian Hartel, our president and CEO, is also responsible for sustainability matters, including human rights. He signs our Policy Statement on the UK’s Modern Slavery Act, as well as our UN Global Compact Progress Report, and in the future, will sign the yearly report to the relevant German authorities, as required by the Supply Chain Act (LkSG).

The Human Rights Officer monitors risk management and is largely responsible for preparing and improving our human rights strategy, Policy Statement and reporting. Whenever a risk is detected, contact is immediately made with the officer, who then consults with affected departments and recommends corrective measures. The Human Rights Officer reports directly to the president and CEO and presents a report on their activities once a year and as needed. The officer convenes the WACKER Human Rights Committee and nominates its members. This committee assists the officer in analyzing potential impacts on human rights at WACKER and throughout the supply chain. It is also responsible for checking existing management approaches in terms of mechanisms that fulfill a protective and monitoring function, as well as for identifying weak points and meeting the need for information. Experts in sustainable development, compliance, law, human resources, procurement, logistics, sales, and human rights meet in this committee at least four times a year. They review the results of audits and assessments and, where necessary, take action to make improvements.

The reporting period was the first time that all sites in the WACKER Group were subject to a human rights review (including reporting obligations) via an internal Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) report. In internal audits, the issue of human rights is covered by an optional list of questions. Furthermore, external social audits were carried out in accordance with SMETA or TfS standards at relevant sites, accounting for around 65 percent of the workforce. Findings were ascertained in areas including safety and human resources and these were discussed with the relevant managers. Improvement measures were implemented.

With the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative, we commit our supply chain to human rights aspects and provide training through the TfS Academy.