Scope of the report

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This 2019 edition is the sixth biannual sectoral sustainable development report of the Belgian chemical, life sciences and plastics industry. It analyses the activities of the chemical, plastics and life sciences industry in Belgium and illustrates how companies within the sector fulfil essenscia’s mission every day.

Whilst a lot of our member companies are global players operating in a global economy, this report focusses – especially through the selected indicators and the mentioned best practices examples – on the activities on the Belgian territory. That is the scope of the report.

For the indicators, this means we focus on the data available for the NACE codes 20 (manufacturing of chemicals and chemical products), 21 (manufacturing of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations) and 22 (manufacturing of rubber and plastic products). This does not perfectly match the essenscia members nor the important amount of SMEs that constitute an important part of the sector and often are exempted from reporting obligations used for some of the indicators. However we believe it gives an adequate description of the overall impact and performance of the sector.

Other elements of the report, in particular the four narratives on key societal challenges, also focus on relevant aspects at a European and global level. Indeed, challenges such as climate change or the plastic waste issue, are not limited to Belgium, nor will the solutions be found on a national scale only. Often chemical and pharmaceutical companies are active in and outside Europe through parts of their supply chain and import or export activities. For those elements, it is relevant to broaden the scope of the report, especially in ‘setting the scene’ and describing the challenges.

To summarize, the scope of the report is the Belgian chemical, life sciences and plastics industry. Special attention is given to the EU/global dimension where relevant for coherence, or to guarantee balance between environmental objectives and the industry’s competitiveness within a global economy.

What’s new in the 2019 edition? About the process

In our search for continuous improvement, we have been adding new elements in every edition of our sustainable development reports.

2009

  • Based on GRI principles
  • Materiality analysis with stakeholders
  • Indicators based on independent data sources
  • Selection of indicators together with essenscia
  • experts, our members and stakeholders
  • NL, FR

2011

  • ​Same set of indicators
  • Quotes by stakeholders
  • EN

2013

  • First on-line edition with a hard copy summary brochure
  • Development of vision texts for each P (People, Planet, Prosperity)
  • Full report available in pdf
  • Examples from member companies and sector initiatives added
  • NL, FR, EN

2015

  • Full version only on-line
  • Short animated video summary
  • Hard copy infographics
  • Short version pdfs available
  • Link with SDGs added
  • NL, FR, EN

2017

  • Revised materiality analysis
  • Indicators adapted
  • Alignment with GRI standards
  • Hard copy brochure with infographics of key indicators
  • Improved animated video summary
  • Fully searchable on-line report
  • All indicators and examples related to relevant
    SDGs
  • EN

2019

  • First time auditing for full GRI compliance
  • Publication of a comprehensive materiality matrix
  • New indicator added on Product Stewardship
  • Adding four narratives on highly material topics and key societal challenges
  • Improved stakeholder involvement
  • NL, FR, EN

Overview of the features of six essenscia sustainability reports highlighting the changes.

In the 2019 edition, based on feedback received from a UCL Management School study on the perception of the sector and feedback received from the Schlange & co evaluation of our 2017 Sustainable Development Report, essenscia decided, in dialogue with our stakeholders and members companies, to focus on improving the following elements:

    • Increase credibility – by auditing the report and applying the GRI standards.
    • Increase materiality – by adding a materiality matrix, engaging even more with our stakeholders, and adding 4 narratives on highly material topics.

From the beginning, the essenscia report aligned with the GRI principles as much as possible. In this edition, we fully comply with the GRI Standards: Core option, and a limited review on the correct application was performed by Deloitte (link to statement Deloitte).

About the narratives: We acknowledge that our sector is more and more at the centre of societal debate on a number of highly material topics. At the request of our stakeholders, we engaged in developing narratives on our visions on major challenges such as energy and climate change, circular economy, sustainable plastics and the need for skilled talent. For each of these narratives we address the following questions in a balanced manner:

  • Where do we want to get? (horizon)
  • How are we getting there? (stepstones)
  • What are the key issues/challenges for the sector?
  • What are we currently good at? (positive impact)
  • What do we need to do even better? What are our working points? (negative impact)

Other parts of the report, like the indicators, best practices, and the link with the SDGs, were mostly kept unchanged compared to the 2017 edition, except the addition of a new qualitative indicator on Product Stewardship as a substitution for the removed products section.

Supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals

essenscia fully supports the challenging objectives set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. In a separate section of the report one can discover in a clear way how the chemical, plastics and life sciences industry is helping to realise each and every one of these seventeen SDGs.

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