Our Path to climate neutrality

By 2025, ALTANA will reduce its CO2 impact from production and energy procurement to zero worldwide. Already in March 2020, the power supply at all locations was converted to renewable energies. ALTANA will compensate for the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions mainly due to the use of natural gas until 2025 by financing equivalent climate protection projects in the regions where the greenhouse gas emissions are generated. The same applies to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions arising from necessary business trips, company cars, and the transport of goods. The specialty chemicals group will thus achieve climate neutrality in its direct sphere of influence by 2025.

In order to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, ALTANA is relying on greater energy efficiency, new technologies, as well as heat and electricity generation at its worldwide sites. In the long term, renewable energies should also replace natural gas as a source of energy. In addition to the existing solar systems at ELANTAS in its Italian sites Ascoli Piceno and Collechio, and at BYK in Deventer, the Netherlands, a further photovoltaic system went into operation at ELANTAS in Pune, India, which covers the electricity requirements of the new research center at this site. In addition, ECKART in Hartenstein, Germany, started to generate electricity from hydropower, and at BYK in Denekamp, the Netherlands, the go-ahead was given to begin operating a biogas plant. ALTANA already generates and uses a total of 2,840 MWh/year from renewable energies, which could supply around 100 single-family homes with energy. 

Aside from the measures at its own sites, ALTANA is setting up a program in close cooperation with its suppliers to consistently further improve the climate footprint of purchased raw materials, too. This makes ALTANA one of the companies that consider the greenhouse gas emissions of their entire value chain.

Call to politics: Significantly stronger and faster promotion of renewable energies necessary

Questions and answers regarding climate neutrality at ALTANA

The neutral position encompasses our production, administration, and research. This includes greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels (mainly natural gas – 90%) (Scope 1), as well as indirect greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption, especially in the form of electricity (96%, Scope 2).

In addition, the neutral position until 2025 also includes greenhouse gas emissions caused by necessary business trips, company cars, and the transport of goods (Scope 3). All values are calculated according to the international guidelines of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG).

We will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from production and energy procurement (Scope 1 and 2) from 190,000 (2018) to zero by 2025. In addition, ALTANA will compensate for greenhouse gas emissions caused by necessary business trips, company cars, and goods transport by 2025 (Scope 3). As a specialty chemicals company, ALTANA has relatively low energy requirements compared to other companies in the chemical industry. ALTANA's greenhouse gas emissions in relation to produced volume are about 30 percent lower than the industry average. Nevertheless, we strive to use all energy sources efficiently in order to keep ALTANA's greenhouse gas emissions in relation to the volume produced as low as possible and to increase the share of energy from renewable sources (for example sun, wind, and water). In this way, we are minimizing our dependence on energy from fossil sources.

We have set ourselves the target of reducing our already low energy requirements by 2 percent in relation to produced finished goods each year, even with increasing sales.

We are consistently pursuing our sustainability course. For the planned energy savings, we are relying on technically proven energy efficiency measures such as the use of even more efficient heating systems and the deployment of waste heat from production. Thanks to these measures, in 2017 we already achieved the goal we set ourselves in 2007 of reducing CO2 emissions in relation to gross value added by 30 percent by 2020. In addition, we are stepping up the use of heat pumps and highly efficient electric motors.

In the coming years, ALTANA will deal with the future issue of using “hydrogen” as an energy source instead of natural gas. The decisive factor will be the sufficient economically viable availability of hydrogen from renewable sources (for example photovoltaics; transport via pipeline, bulk delivery or own production).

ALTANA has always stood for sustained profitable growth. And so we are investing in our future worldwide even in a challenging market environment. This includes the implementation of climate neutrality. We will be climate-neutral by 2025 even with increasing sales. As a result, we are not only fulfilling our responsibility regarding climate protection, but also strengthening ALTANA as a company in the long term. Because we are convinced that we can only be economically successful in the long run if we bear in mind ecological and social aspects and firmly anchor them in our company.

Sustainability has been a growth area at ALTANA for many years now. Because our solutions make everyday products better and more sustainable. There are already many examples of this, and we are constantly working on new sustainable solutions for our customers.

Product examples

As a matter of principle, we calculate our emissions as CO2 equivalents. In other words, we include all of ALTANA's greenhouse gas emissions, not just CO2, in the calculation. Climate neutrality means that we set greenhouse gas emissions in our direct sphere of influence to zero.

We are very careful about the projects we select and follow current certifications such as the “Gold Standard.” Today, ALTANA is supporting corresponding initiatives in China in the provinces of Hebei and Zhejiang as well as in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. In India, for example, a project for generating energy from hydropower is being supported in the district of Kinnaur, and an initiative for sustainably generated electricity from wind is being backed in the district of Anantapuram.

At ALTANA, the operating companies are basically responsible for implementing and anchoring sustainability. ALTANA’s corporate goals for protecting the environment and climate have been included in the calculation of the variable income of the top management since 2007. In this context, the individual companies and their managing directors undertake to continuously reduce the environmental impact of the company’s business activities and to steadily improve safety at the respective sites. In addition, it is the task of the individual sites to introduce suitable management systems and have them certified. Furthermore, special cross-divisional expert platforms serve to exchange information on relevant topics and identify best-practice models. There are no geographical differences. The first CO2-free production sites are located in China and Brazil. The goal of climate neutrality by 2025 is also integrated into the various target agreements. Implementation is coordinated by ALTANA's Corporate Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) competence center. 

In the long term, ALTANA also wants to replace the use of natural gas with renewable energies. This will take several years, however, since many of our production technologies are still based on this energy source.

Not all raw materials of fossil origin can be replaced immediately – this depends among other things on suppliers and quite significantly on politics, for example the availability of electricity from renewable energies at competitive prices, as well as the corresponding grid infrastructure. 

However, many of our products are already making industry more CO2-neutral. An example from our ACTEGA division are ACTGreen® overprint varnishes. These include products based on recycled raw materials of fossil origin and biobased materials, as well as coatings based on renewable raw materials in the form of vegetable resins.

Our colleagues are already encouraged to travel in the most climate-friendly way possible. In cases where company cars are required, we create incentives for the use of CO2- saving models.