Facts & Figures

Key figures

This report in a nutshell

This report shows further progress in almost all indicators. And this is based on official data. The decoupling has clearly taken place: economic growth and job creation have gone hand in hand with environmental and climate improvements for years.


Key provider of quality employment

direct jobs
indirect jobs
jobs in last 5 years
20%of manufacturingindustry

Investing in people, investing in the future

people participate in formal continuous training
64% of all employees
in the chemical and life sciences industry
  • Agreement by social partners in the sector
  • Investing in competence centers with the social partners

Good places to work, safe and well remunerated

Only 2%
of the total number of declared occupational illnesses in Belgium
+ 18%
gross salaries compared to other manufacturing sectors
Nearly half
the accident rate recorded for the manufacturing industry

Diversity high on the agenda


of the total workforce in the chemical and life sciences industry (average of manufacturing industry is 23.1%)

27,423 women

Women account for 23,2%  of all researchers in the sector
The social partners in the sector are committed to increase diversity and inclusion at work

Energy & Climate

Increasing energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions

+ 62%
energy efficiency compared to 1995
- 50%
greenhouse gas emissions since 1995
Energy mix
35% natural gas5% steam60% electricity
Acidifying & Organic emissions

Drastically reducing acidifying and organic emissions

Acidifying emissions
SO2 – NOx – NH3
- 59%
since 2001
(only 3% of the Belgian total)
Organic emissions
- 45%
since 2001
(only 8% of the Belgian total)
Industrial waste & packaging

Going circular

Only 4% of Belgian industrial waste
Almost 70% of all waste generated by the sector is being recovered
Only 4% of Belgian industrial packaging waste
52% of packaging is reusable
Water use

Every drop counts in the chemical and life sciences industry

Only 6%
of the total water used by the sector is drinking water
89% Surface water6% Drinking water2% Ground water3% Other
The use of drinking water has been reduced with a quarter since 2011

Number 1 export sector in Belgium

of all Belgian export​
+25% since 2010

Number 3 in Europe for export
of chemistry & life sciences
40% of export outside EU


Largest private investor in R&D

5.6 billion € in R&D expenses

Doubled in the last decade
Number 1 in Belgium: 2/3 of all industrial R&D expenses in Belgium

946 patent applications for chemistry & life sciences, a record high
40% of all Belgian patent applications
Highest share in the world for chemistry and life sciences in the number of patent applications

A large contributor to the state budget

More than 5 billions € on taxes
The chemicals and life sciences industry contributes
56,000 € per employee to the state budget
(industrial average is 35,000 €)
Added value

A stronghold of the Belgian economy

20.8 billion € added value
36% of manufacturing industry in Belgium Well above the European average of 16%
Top 10
global companies

in the chemical and life sciences industry are located in Belgium

World ranking in sales
per inhabitant

Belgium is
number 1
in the world for chemicals,
number 4
for pharmaceuticals,
number 7
for plastics industry