Sustainability is measurable: With 40 indicators, as developed by the sustainability initiative Chemie³ of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry in Germany, the progress of a sustainable development can be measured for the first time in the sector. Chemie³ is a joint initiative of the German chemical industry association VCI, the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union (IG BCE) and the German Federation of Chemical Employers’ Associations (BAVC).
Press Release of Chemie³, the Sustainability Initiative of the German Chemical Industry
The indicators cover economic, environmental and social criteria, ranging from the competitiveness of the chemical industry on global markets to greenhouse gas emissions and the percentage of young people who are offered permanent employment after an apprenticeship. The alliance partners have agreed on 17 indicators which are solely dedicated to social progress. This gives a pioneering role to chemistry in German industry as a whole – like three years ago when the “Sustainability Guidelines for the Chemical Industry in Germany” were introduced.
The understanding that sustainability consists of several dimensions is important to Chemie3. The initiative advocates an approach where the decisions and actions of the sector are assessed not exclusively under environmental aspects; consideration should also be given to the question whether they lead to more competitiveness, good working conditions and positive contributions to society.
At the presentation of the indicators in Berlin, VCI President Kurt Bock underlines: “On our way towards a sustainable development, we want to make the progress of our industry transparent. With this, we live up to our own claim and to a justified demand from the stakeholders to Chemie3. We also want to use the 40 indicators as drivers. They will show us where the industry is doing well and where improvements are called for.”
IG BCE Chairman Michael Vassiliadis states: “With 17 indicators we give emphasis on the social dimension in the sustainability debate. We are aware that economic, social and environmental progress cannot be achieved in conflict with each other but only together. Those who still fail to understand this should look at the situation in America. We are doing Chemie3, because we do not want a Trump effect.” According to Vassiliadis, collective agreements and co-determination are essential prerequisites: “The fact that industry, employers and the union make such a clear commitment is an important signal that goes beyond our sector.”
On the example of the ongoing pension discussion, BAVC Vice-President Kai Beckmann highlights that sustainability is by no means an abstract term. The German federal government is currently working to strengthen corporate pension plans as the second pillar of retirement funding. Beckmann: “Since 1998 the chemical industry has its own collective agreement specifically for this purpose. Our indicator for collective retirement provisions shows that already today over 80 percent of chemical industry employees are making arrangements under a collective agreement – compared with only 60 percent in the overall economy. We are good, and we want to become even better. Our new indicators will tell us if we succeed or not.”
With the launch of Chemie3 in May 2013 the VCI, IG BCE and BAVC jointly set the goal to anchor sustainability as the guiding principle in the German chemical industry and to strengthen their contributions to a sustainable development. The three alliance partners see sustainable business as a guarantor of a successful future for the sector. The 12 “Sustainability Guidelines for the Chemical Industry in Germany” give orientation to enterprises about where the developments in the industry are headed, and they address particularly important topics for a sustainable development.
Please note: Ready for you in the download sector at the top of this page (in German language, sorry): A short overview on the 40 indicators for progress towards sustainable development, exemplary profiles for 3 selected indicators, the full statements of Kurt Bock, Michael Vassiliadis and Kai Beckmann as well as a short information on Chemie3.
The 40 indicators for progress in detail - A click on the picture forwards you to our interactive chart:
Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) – The German Chemical Industry Association represents the politico-economic interests of more than 1.650 German chemical companies and German subsidiaries of foreign businesses. For this purpose, the VCI is in contact with politicians, public authorities, other industries, the scientific community, and the media. The VCI stands for over 90 percent of the chemical industry in Germany. In 2015 the German chemical industry realised sales of around 189 billion euros and employed more than 446,000 people.
IG BCE Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie – The Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union has a total of 660,000 members. It represents workers from the sectors of mining, chemicals, gas, glass, rubber, ceramics, plastics, leather, mineral oil, paper and pulp, environmental matters/recycling, coal, and the water industry. As an independent organisation with no affiliation to any political party or other social institution, IG BCE seeks critical but constructive exchanges with employers, politicians and the government.
Bundesarbeitgeberverband Chemie (BAVC) – The German Federation of Chemical Employers‘ Associations is the umbrella organisation in charge of collective bargaining and social policies within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and large parts of the plastics processing and rubber industries. It represents the interests of its 10 regional member associations with 1,900 companies and 550,000 employees in dealings with trade unions, government and the general public.