Preface of the managing director

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The strive for sustainability is at the heart of the chemical and life sciences industry

Since 2009, essenscia has published a sustainable development report every other year. This 2019 edition not only captures a decade in search of excellence in sustainability throughout the sector, it also has a very special character in many aspects.

Firstly because this year essenscia, the Belgian industry federation for chemistry and life sciences, celebrates its 100th anniversary. In the book entitled “Men and molecules” essenscia looks back at a century of progress on all fronts: economically, socially and environmentally. During its rich history the Belgian chemical and life sciences industry has come up with remarkable individuals who have proven to be great entrepreneurs and who have taken industry and society to a next level of sustainable performance.

This 2019 sustainability report is in a certain way a tribute to the outstanding work of these dedicated and inspiring personalities.

Secondly, because of the many new features contained in this report. For the first time the essenscia sustainability report has been audited by an external audit bureau. The report has been found to be in line with best proven practice in the field of sustainability reporting. Also for the first time a materiality matrix is included which has been validated by internal experts and external stakeholders. This will lead to a stronger focus on key indicators in the years to come.

Furthermore, the report highlights four key societal issues which directly affect the future development of this industry in Belgium and in Europe: energy and climate, plastic waste, circular economy, and talent and skills for the future. This strategic choice to focus on four key challenges and their related threats and opportunities is again a first for our industry and testifies to essenscia’s willingness to maintain an open-minded and structural dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in society.

The innovative chemical, plastics and life sciences industry is a key enabler of a smart carbon and circular economy

The innovative chemical, plastics and life sciences industry is a key enabler of a smart carbon and circular economy and a key actor for a better future society: through dialogue and knowledge sharing it wants to engage with all those who strive for progress and transition. The long and challenging road towards sustainability is a journey that requires trust and collaboration, a trip that has to be undertaken together.

Finally, this 2019 report uses the digital way of communication, in line with the experience of 2017. But with more emphasis on the use of social media, driven by a willingness to interact primarily with younger citizens.

Yves Verschueren,
Managing Director essenscia

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