Company

Position statements

Your partner in essential chemistry for a sustainable future

We are a global specialty chemicals leader and have earned a place among the best performing companies in our industry in terms of safety, sustainability, and reliability. Acting in accordance with our core principles - safety, sustainability, and integrity - and our company values - leading the way, growing together, and delivering on commitments - enables us to be not only an industry leader but also a trusted partner, respected employer, and a responsible member of the communities in which we operate. Below you will find a list of key topics for Nouryon; click on each topic for more information on our position.

Carbon reduction

Circular economy

Diversity and inclusion

Eco-Premium Solutions

Ecosystems and biodiversity

Ethical animal testing

Human rights

Hydrogen

Lifecycle assessment

Nanomaterials

Partnerships and stakeholders

Product stewardship

Renewable energy

Resource efficiency

Responsible salt mining

Taxation

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Zero tolerance approach to modern slavery

 

Carbon reduction

Recognizing the UN Paris Climate Agreement as the global framework for combatting climate change, we focus on increasing the energy and raw material efficiency of our operations through continuous improvement of existing processes as well as the adoption of innovative processes and technologies. Over the last years, we have increased the use of renewable energy to almost 50% of our total energy use, as well as increased the use of bio-based or circular raw materials, and worked with our suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of our raw materials. By the end of 2017, we already reduced our cradle-to-grave carbon footprint per ton of product by 15% compared to 2012.

We also develop innovative products and services that enable our customers to reduce their own energy use and carbon impact, helping move the entire industry towards a more sustainable future.

Examples of Nouryon’s carbon reduction initiatives include:

  • A joint venture to produce chlorine and potassium hydroxide at Nouryon’s Ibbenbüren site in Germany, with the new production process improving the ecological footprint of every ton of chlorine produced by 25 to 30%. This will result in less energy use, lower costs, and fewer CO2. For more information see here
  • Following a joint investment in the conversion of a biomass plant into a combined heat and power plant at the chemical park at Delfzijl, the Netherlands, an additional 10% of Nouryon’s energy consumption in the Netherlands now comes from renewable sources. This has resulted in a reduction of 100,000 tons of COper year, equivalent to approximately one billion car kilometers or 12,500 households. For more information see here.

 

Circular economy

Nouryon has embraced the circular economy in its sustainability agenda and endorses the concept as the necessary route towards a sustainable society.

The circular economy philosophy, as described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, identifies three key principles:

  1. Preserve natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing renewable resource flows; for example replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
  2. Optimize resource yields by circulating products, components and materials in use at the highest utility, at all times, in both technical and biological cycles; for example sharing or looping products and extending product lifetimes.
  3. Increase system effectiveness by revealing and designing out negative externalities, such as water, air, soil, and noise pollution; climate change; and congestion and negative health effects.


We use these principles to strive for our own resource efficiency. We source more renewable raw materials and energy and initiate or contribute to programs with a range of partners to accelerate production and adoption of these supplies. Examples include our bio-based materials partnerships and programs for wind energy and renewable steam.

We also seek out opportunities for our “waste” to become a secondary raw material and use other people’s “waste” as our secondary raw material.

We currently have three main focus areas: products that do more with less, use less material, and last longer; initiating partnerships, for example converting waste to chemicals; and turning our waste into byproducts. A core element of our work with suppliers, our own operations, and the products and services we sell is to design out negative externalities. Examples include operational eco-efficiency programs; investment assessments which incorporate carbon pricing; and products and services that reduce energy use for our customers or improve air or water quality compared with standard products.

 

Diversity and inclusion

At Nouryon we aim to create a diverse and inclusive workplace and to engage with our own people, our partners, and the communities in which we operate. We are a global company serving a large and diverse customer base through extensive international operations. We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential to understanding our customers and achieving our ambitions. We aim to actively embrace diversity of thought and empower people to challenge each other to be more innovative and deliver better results.

Our Diversity & Inclusion initiative is built around four key strategic ambitions:

  • Create a sustainable and diverse workforce
  • Build a strong and diverse leadership pipeline
  • Sustain a highly inclusive work environment
  • Enable managers to build and lead diverse and inclusive teams

 

Eco-Premium Solutions

Nouryon works with value chain partners and customers to grow our business based on innovative solutions that create more value from fewer resources.

A particular focus is to develop and market eco-premium solutions – products and services that deliver environmental or social benefits and specifically those delivering benefits for our customers when compared with competitive products (eco-premium solutions with downstream benefits). We continue to proactively drive the development of innovative sustainable solutions ahead of the mainstream in the market.

Our product development processes are designed to drive continuous sustainability improvement in the overall portfolio as products are updated or replaced. Eco-premium solutions are a fundamental driver of our sustainability agenda for creating more value from fewer resources, of the products we sell, and of the processes we use to manufacture them.

 

Ecosystems and biodiversity

Nouryon recognizes our dependence on ecosystems for resources, such as fresh water; for renewable materials; and for the part they play in maintaining the quality of our air, water, and soil. We also recognize the impact we have on these ecosystems.

The current focus areas of our resource efficiency programs are:

  • Reducing climate impact across the value chain
  • Water use and discharge in water scarce areas
  • Sourcing renewable raw materials
  • Product assessments for our eco-premium solutions (which already include land use)

 

Ethical animal testing

Nouryon does not carry out animal research on finished products such as chemical mixtures, except in those exceptional cases where required by government regulations.

When animal testing is required, Nouryon fully supports and applies the principles of the 3Rs: to Replace, Reduce, and Refine animal testing. Nouryon will continue with its strategy of minimizing animal testing by supporting the development of non-animal research or animal reduction research protocols. Moreover, we will also continue the dialog with institutes and regulatory bodies to minimize the need for animal testing.

 

Human rights

As part of our core principles, we are committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights in all our operations and throughout our value chain. This commitment is in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

We strive to prevent the infringement of human rights and to remediate the possible impact on human rights resulting from our activities or products. We expect our business partners to apply equivalent principles and seek to actively support them in their implementation where needed.

 

Hydrogen

Nouryon recognizes the significant potential of green hydrogen, and is engaging in or exploring multiple initiatives to bring it to use in the future.

When produced using renewable energy (wind or solar), hydrogen is a truly green form of energy. It is most commonly used as a raw material to produce products such as ammonia and for refining. At Nouryon we see large potential for green hydrogen as an enabling feedstock in bio-based and circular chemistry routes.  

Nouryon already has substantial experience in producing and using green hydrogen. For example:

  • Since 1987, green hydrogen has been produced through water electrolysis and used to produce hydrogen peroxide at our plant in Rjukan, Norway.
  • Since 2017, we have been supplying hydrogen for hydrogen-powered buses operating at Frankfurt-Höchst Industrial Park in Germany, and since 2018 also at the Nouryon Chemiepark Delfzijl in the Netherlands.


In addition to green hydrogen as a source of fuel, Nouryon is also exploring its potential as a green raw material for a variety of chemical processes. Based on our years of experience with electrochemical production of hydrogen, we have established several partnerships to create new value chains:

  • The ‘Waste-to-Chemistry’ project aims to use hydrogen along with other waste products as a feedstock to make synthesis gas – a feedstock for other chemicals – in collaboration with several organizations. For more information see here.
  • Together with Gasunie, we are investigating the production of green hydrogen directly from water at a scale of around 3,000 tons of hydrogen/year (20MW) – enough to fuel 300 hydrogen buses, or for a bus to drive around the world more than 1,100 times. For more information see here.
  • Together with Tata Steel and Port of Amsterdam, we are examining the viability of a 100MW water electrolyzer project, which Nouryon would operate. For more information see here.
  • Together with BP and Port of Rotterdam, we are examining the opportunity of making ‘green hydrogen’ via water electrolysis for BP’s refinery, which has the potential for a reduction of 350,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year based on current circumstances. The partners intend to take a final investment decision on the project in 2022. For more information see here.
  • Together with Swedish state-owned institute RISE, forestry group Södra, and packaging materials company BillerudKorsnäs, we are exploring opportunities for green hydrogen and ‘electrofuels.’ For more information see here.


Finally, to ensure the future success of green hydrogen, a key element will be establishing a green hydrogen market and providing transparency to customers. To facilitate this, Nouryon is participating in a pilot scheme in the EU to establish certification for green or low-carbon hydrogen, called CertifHy. For more information see here.

 

Lifecycle assessment

Lifecycle thinking is the basis for all Nouryon’s sustainability work. Assessment work is carried out by business- and company-level specialists and is based on ISO 14040-44 and a company lifecycle assessment database. Lifecycle assessment has been included in a range of processes for many years. Examples include:

  • Carbon footprint assessment: We measure the carbon footprint of all our key value chains (>200) using a full cradle-to-grave lifecycle assessment. This is the basis of our carbon footprint key performance indicator.
  • Eco-premium solutions: Nouryon’s eco-premium solutions concept requires the assessment of sustainability aspects along the value chain. It encourages the development of more innovative, sustainable products. We continuously aim to reduce the environmental footprint of our product value chains. We are also developing environmental product declarations (EPDs) for some products as part of our marketing activity.
  • Lifecycle assessments are integrated into the company’s Innovation Core process.
  • Lifecycle assessments are integrated into the evaluation of our major investments, which also includes a value on carbon.

 

Nanomaterials

Innovation is considered vital for organic growth and sustainability at Nouryon, and our strategic ambition is to deliver world-leading innovation and products. The development of new nanomaterials and nanotechnologies is expected to play a major role in product innovation across a variety of sectors and applications.

Nouryon fully recognizes the opportunities nanomaterials present and understands that, as is the case with all new technologies, health and safety issues must be fully considered as part of the innovation process when developing new products containing them. Safe use of all chemicals, including nanomaterials, is one of Nouryon’s top priorities.

 

Partnerships and stakeholders

Partnerships accelerate our evolution into an even more sustainable business. We engage with external stakeholders and partners, and are actively involved in the communities in which we operate to build long-lasting and productive relationships which help sustain our business. We believe that our partnerships enable us to have an impact on creating economic, environmental, and social value, thereby contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Product stewardship

Nouryon’s ambition is to create business value from product stewardship by providing safer and more sustainable solutions for our customers.

Through our award-winning Priority Substance Program, we take a proactive approach to the review and management of hazardous substances in our products and processes. Taking this approach promotes the use of safer and more sustainable products. It also means we often take action to manage potentially harmful substances in advance of legislation, future-proofing our products against changes in regulations.

Nouryon has presented the Priority Substances Program to stakeholders, including customers, governments, NGOs and industry associations, and received positive feedback. It supports us in our ambition to develop and introduce eco-premium solutions into the market.

 

Renewable energy

As an energy-intensive company, using renewable energy enables us to reduce risks in our supply chains, improve our environmental footprint, and build new business opportunities in the transition to a sustainable chemical industry. By using renewable energy, we are also making our products more sustainable, thereby assisting our customers to deliver on their sustainability targets and ambitions.

Examples of Nouryon’s renewable energy initiatives include:

  • A public-private partnership to source renewable energy from wind parks at Krammer and Bouwdokken in the Netherlands, which have a total capacity of over 140 megawatts - enough energy to power approximately 140,000 households. For more information see here.
  • Developing green hydrogen from state-of-the-art electrolysis installations for use in transport and industrial processes. A plant is intended for Delfzijl in the Netherlands, which would use a 20-megawatt water electrolysis unit, the largest in Europe. The plant would convert sustainably produced electricity into 3000 tons of green hydrogen a year – enough to fuel 300 hydrogen buses. For more information see here.

 

Resource efficiency

At Nouryon, we are committed to continually increase our resource efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in our own operations and value chain. This will help de-risk our value chain, deliver environmental benefits, and generate cost improvements.

Cradle-to-grave carbon footprint is our prime measure of resource efficiency. Our goal is to accelerate material and energy efficiency across the value chain.

We do not limit our sustainability agenda to our own operations. We work with customers to drive a reduction in carbon emissions throughout the value chain and organize dedicated sustainability meetings with suppliers.

 

Responsible salt mining

Nouryon is one of the largest salt manufacturers in the world, with an annual production of about 6 million tons of salt, of which our plants in the Netherlands account for more than 5 million tons. Most of the salt extracted by our company is processed into high-quality vacuum salt, which is used in the chlorine industry. Salt is a crucial ingredient in many products that benefit society, such as from foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, and lightweight materials for vehicles and wind turbines.

At Nouryon we aim for the highest industry standards in our mining operations. In 2016, we became aware of some historic leakages of oil in wells installed in the late 1980s in Hengelo (the Netherlands). We also observed an increasing number of leakages of brackish water from our pipeline system in the area. We have since been in close consultation with the Dutch Mining Authority (SodM), as well as local communities and stakeholders.

Following these consultations and extensive assessments, we have taken action to ensure that our mining activities meet the highest standards in the industry today. For example, we renewed our pipeline network in the Hengelo area and reduced it from 175 km to 100 km in length. These pipelines meet the latest design and maintenance standards and are subject to an intensive inspection and preventive maintenance program. We have also installed several systems to closely monitor the integrity of caverns and wells during and after the production phase, including:

  • A seismic monitoring network near our operations in the Netherlands, implemented in close consultation with SodM and the Dutch Meteorological and Seismic Institute (KNMI), to monitor our caverns and learn more about sub-soil activity
  • Periodic sonar 3-dimensional scanning of our caverns to control the development and size of the cavern
  • Integrity tests of wells during the lifetime of the well

 

Taxation

A coherent and responsible position on tax is an essential element of our strategy. In that context, we have adopted the following tax principles:

  • Compliance: Taxes are paid in accordance with all relevant rules and regulations in the countries in which we operate. We aim to comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law.
  • Business rationale: Tax follows business. Profit is allocated to countries in which value is created, in accordance with domestic and international rules and standards (such as the OECD Guidelines) and by applying the arm's length principle. We do not seek to avoid taxes through “artificial” structures in tax haven jurisdictions.
  • Relationship with tax authorities: We seek an open and constructive dialog with tax authorities on the basis of disclosure of relevant facts and circumstances. We aim to enhance clarity and upfront certainty around tax.
  • Transparency: We are transparent about our approach to tax and our tax position. Disclosures are made in accordance with the relevant domestic regulations, as well as applicable reporting requirements and standards.

 

UN Sustainable Development Goals

Devised by the United Nations, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a comprehensive list of sustainable development targets to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs are primarily aimed at governments, however they also call on businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to help solve sustainable development challenges. Nouryon takes this challenge to heart.

We focus in particular on the following goals:

  • UN SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • UN SDG 9 Industry, innovation & infrastructure
  • UN SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • UN SDG 13 Climate
  • UN SDG 17 Partnerships


For more information on the SDGs please visit the UN SDG website

 

Zero tolerance approach to modern slavery

Slavery, servitude, forced labor, and human trafficking (modern slavery) are infringements of human rights which have a profound negative impact on people’s lives. Nouryon has a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery of any kind.

At Nouryon, we recognize the human rights of all people as outlined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and our responsibility to respect human rights as set out in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We strive to prevent the infringement of human rights and to remediate the possible impact on human rights resulting from our activities or products. We impose the same standards and expectations on our business partners. In turn, we expect our business partners to apply equivalent principles and seek to actively support them in their implementation where needed.

More information

Want to know more about Nouryon positions? Please contact our Public Affairs team.