Understanding the meaning of Sustainable Development for any industrial company is essential, both to minimize the potential negative impact on the bottom line and to enable appropriate allocation of resources to capture opportunities in the marketplace. This necessity drives the development of the SPM methodology in Solvay. This methodology is used to assess, one by one, every key product in every key application, in order to review the overall portfolio of businesses, and subsequently implement strategic decisions to move to this portfolio so as to make it balanced from a sustainability perspective.
- The monetized risk related to the environmental impact of the manufacturing of its products;
- The extent to which its products/solutions are part of the solutions consumers are seeking to address their own sustainable development concerns (for example reduced energy bills, reduced exposure to harmful substances, and greater use of renewable energy).
- The SPM profile is an integral part of the strategic discussions of each of the Global Business Units (GBUs) with the Executive Committee (Comex);
- Decisions about investments (capital expenditure and acquisitions) taken by the Comex or the Board of Directors include a sustainability challenge that encompasses an exhaustive SPM analysis of the contemplated investment;
- The SPM work plan is discussed each year between each GBU and the Sustainable Development Function. Priorities and workloads are defi ned based on the results of the SPM evaluation of the previous year and including any new elements in the marketplace, regulations, etc. The evaluations are carefully prepared in close consultation with the Solvay Way Champion of the GBU and realized in workshops with GBU experts: strategy, industrial, product stewardship, marketing and technical services.
- The Executive Committee has endorsed the methodology and its deployment process and has set the overall objective to cover 80% corporate revenue and each business entity to assess a significant part of its revenue;
- Top level leadership and guidance on the project was guaranteed by chemicals, plastics and research and technology group directors with the support of the sustainable development VP. At the time, Solvay had an in‐house high level of technical expertise on ecoprofiles, without a methodology to globally assess their sustainable development profile to take into account the full product lifecycles and increasing societal focus on sustainability at a strategic level. No existing, manageable methodology that could simultaneously address the environmental footprint of manufacturing and the market threats and opportunities, at strategic level, was identified.
- A small team of SPM experts was fully dedicated to deploying the methodology and the SPM assessment;
- Business Unit managers were first informed and consulted to identify a coordinator/facilitator for the deployment in their entity;
- For every “Product x application” assessment, SPM expert and entity coordinator fine tuned the deployment, identified people to be involved (technical, marketing, financial, etc.) and set up planning;
- So far, assessment of about 275 product‐applications combinations took place in about 30 workshops;
- Auto‐evaluation results were presented and explained to the management teams of the assessed entities;
- Auto‐evaluations were submitted to the two consultants that helped to develop the metrics to get a second opinion, increasing the reliability of the data on which strategic decisions may be taken
All together, about 300 people have been involved in the deployment of the practice, at various levels in the organization.
- 80% of the consolidated sales revenue (objective was 80%, 275 product‐application combinations);
- 70% of the R&D 2010 budget (objective was 60%, 115 R&D projects).
- 80% revenue per product line (i.e. not only 80% consolidated anymore);
- 80% R&D budget;
- 60% budget of Capital Expenditures and any investment above the 5 MEUR thresholds.