Cefic Sustainable Development Indicators

The European chemical industry as “the industry of industries” is a key player in enabling access to decent living standards within the boundaries of our planet for a projected 10 billion people. This was reflected upon in a roadmap progressing sustainable transition, launched in 2016 by Cefic and its members as part of a sustainability charter. The ambitions formulated in the Cefic sustainability charter are reconfirmed by the support of the European chemical industry for the European Green Deal and Europe’s ambition to become climate neutral by 2050. Our industry is uniquely positioned at the heart of European manufacturing to contribute to realising a climate neutral and more circular society.

To track the chemical industry’s transition towards a safe, resource efficient and circular economy within a climate neutral Europe, a portfolio of Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) has been developed. These indicators are tailored to measure the industry’s progress towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDIs are aligned with the indicators used by the UN as well as those developed by the EU to follow up the success of the implementation of policies such as the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Chemical Industry Transition Pathway.

The SDIs are organised around 5 sustainability activities expressing an ambition: Create low-carbon economy, Conserve resource efficiency, Connect circular economy, Care for people and planet and Construct Prosperity and Competitiveness. Within each of the five activities, key industry actions that contribute to the above mentioned ambitions have been identified.

The Paris Agreement, the international treaty on climate change linked to the UN-SDGs, sets a global target that requires tremendous efforts of all sectors combating climate change. The European chemical industry wants to seize the opportunities and challenges arising from the transition to a climate neutral and circular economy.

Worldwide consumption and production are driving forces of the global economy, but rely on the use of the natural environment and resources in a way that continues to have destructive impacts on the planet. The chemical industry continuously strives for increasing resource efficiency focusing on processes, materials and products across the global value chains and in their own operations.

Circular Economy connects the creation of a low carbon economy and the conservation of natural resources by a holistic systems approach involving industrial processes and economic activities along the whole value chain that are restorative or regenerative by design. Circular Economy principles are therefore a crucial aspect of redesigning the product portfolio in chemical sector.  

Caring for people, consumers as well as workers, and the planet, focusing on biodiversity and ecosystems, throughout the entire life cycle of chemicals is addressed continuously by the chemical industry resulting in safer and more sustainable substances, materials, and solutions. This is reflected also in the global chemical industry’s voluntary initiative Responsible Care® committing the companies to go beyond legislative and regulatory compliance.

A thriving EU chemical industry is instrumental for the success of the European Green Deal. EU industry competitiveness is necessary as a driver for continuous innovation and improvement. Healthy economic competitiveness is essential on short and long term to create prosperity and competitiveness and enable a successful sustainable transition.

The list of Sustainable Development Indicators is a set of indicators mapping the performance related to some of the key industry activities. All data for indicators are extracted for the manufacturing of chemicals and chemical products for EU27, except if mentioned otherwise. This set of indicators will be further developed to represent all key industry activities.

Disclaimer : This report is made in good faith with information available at the date of publication, however Cefic does not make any representations or warranties as to its accuracy and completeness. No liability will be accepted by Cefic and its members for damages of any nature whatsoever resulting from the interpretation, use or reliance on its contents.