On ChemistryCan we show how the European chemical industry facilitates the transition to a more sustainable society

Europe is a hub for leading chemical companies, and a frontrunner in chemistry research and development. And across industries – from health, hygiene, construction, and mobility to agriculture and energy supply – chemicals are an essential ingredient, vital to a competitive business landscape, and an important part of the transition to a sustainable society.


The European chemical industry is strongly committed to the global framework consisting of the UN2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the Paris Climate Agreement. Together they provide a global framework for action that goes beyond regional borders.


How ChemistryCAN make the UN Sustainable Development goals a reality

This new global framework is an ambitious one, and meaningful progress requires a big shift in both mind-set and innovation, as well as a greater recognition of the economic opportunities on offer. To demonstrate our commitment, Cefic has formalised the Cefic Sustainability Charter.


How our Sustainability Charter can accelerate progress

The European chemical industry has a long history of acting on sustainability issues, building on the Responsible Care Programme and other sustainability initiatives. Our Charter, focusing on four pillars, serves as a pathway for change and a framework for cooperation. It will unify our actions and initiatives, and accelerate collaboration across the entire value chain. In doing so it can demonstrate the crucial enabling role of chemistry.

The Charter provides a framework through which Cefic facilitates dialogue with industry partners, society and governments, about how we can work together towards a sustainable future. It will inspire our activities by ensuring that we embed sustainability in all our programmes, that our objectives are aligned with societal and environmental needs, and by tracking and reporting on our progress.

Many of our members are already integrating sustainability into their business strategy. Through the Charter, we will continue to facilitate collaboration and sharing of best practice among our members, encouraging more and more chemical companies to include sustainability as an integral part of their corporate strategies.

Cefic will increase engagement with EU policymakers and opinion leaders, using the Charter as a framework for dialogue, to help policies take advantage of the full potential  of the industry in progressing  towards a sustainable future.

With these ambitions in mind, Cefic and its members will focus action and foster innovation in the four key interconnected areas reflected in the Cefic Sustainability Charter, all of which are critical in the transition towards a sustainable society:

ChemistryCAN realise breakthrough innovation

Chemicals have always been a catalyst – not only for chemical reaction, but for transformational change in society. Think penicillin, potable drinking water through chlorine, packaging that extends food shelf life and countless other life-changing developments we now almost take for granted. So, what will it take to scale the next-generation of breakthroughs in chemistry – those that truly represent sustainable solutions on a global and transformational scale?

Where is the European Chemicals Industry heading?

A discussion with Hariolf Kottmann CEO, Clariant and President, Cefic and Marco Mensink, Cefic’s Director General.

The world we live in is in transition. With the adoption of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the signing of the Paris Agreement, the world has taken a new pathway in action on climate change and the environment. The European chemical industry is fully committed to the Paris Agreement, and strongly believes that a thriving industry goes hand in hand  with solutions to combat climate change.

Hariolf Kottmann CEO, Clariant and President

What’s the current state of the chemicals industry in Europe?

In terms of economic performance, we’re seeing a positive trend, with production levels growing. However, we cannot rest on our laurels in a time of global uncertainty and a necessary shift towards a resource efficient, circular and low-carbon economy. To remain competitive, we must invest and continue to attract investments in cutting edge technology and infrastructure to support and strengthen our industry in Europe.

Marco Mensink, Cefic’s Director General

What challenges does the European chemicals industry face in meeting this future/a more sustainable future?

As an industry we have stated our commitment through the Cefic Sustainability Charter. The Charter describes our role as enabling billions of people to achieve quality of life within our planetary boundaries and is a framework for chemicals companies in Europe to rally around to progress towards the vision for a sustainable Europe.

Find out how Cefic delivers ChemistryCAN for the European Chemical Industry

The chemical industry is one of the largest and most diversified industries in the world, and supplies virtually all sectors of the economy. Cefic is the voice of the chemical industry in Europe, which is the world’s top exporter and importer of chemicals, generating €507 billion in sales and is the leading manufacturing sector by value added per employee. Our members directly provide around 1.1 million jobs and account for 17% of world chemical production.