“In our society, sustainability and commitment to this are essential. Any company, no matter its business area or size, has to act in an ethical and responsible way and must set an example for its employees, clients, partners, environment, as well as for the society in general.
All of our plants around the world are adhered to and strictly meet the principles of the sustainability and security code of the Group (Planet). Moreover, Corporate Social Responsibility plays a significant role within the company”
Smart Químic is clearly opting for a Chemistry Problem-Solving that brings knowledge, innovation, sustainability, efficiency, in response to the demands of society. If we start speaking of knowledge, what is Clariant looking for in its professionals?
We count on a highly qualified professional team, committed to constantly improve all processes involved in the value chain. In this line, we look for professionals who are able to work within a team, with excellent technical qualifications, aimed at offering an added value to our clients, and who also share the same commitment as Clariant toward the constant innovation and sustainability.
In which areas has Clariant registered the greatest growth in the last year?Which has been the fundamental basis of this growth?
In 2014, Clariant grew above the average despite the complex economic situation. Our sales increased especially in attractive markets with great margins, which allowed us to improve the profitability.
The results of the regional sales in local currency was, by and large, positive. Clariant registered a significant growth of 18% in Latin America. Sales in Asia increased a 9% due to a strong demand from Southeast Asia and India. In North America, growth was 3% and in the Middle East and Africa 7%. Regarding Europe sales decreased 2% due to a slow business environment, as well as a reduction of exposure to products with a minor margin.
Concerning the business lines, chemical treatment products registered an underlying growth of 3% due to the strength of personal care solutions and farming. Both catalysis and energy divisions were driven by all principal businesses and a proper cycle of change within the petrochemical market. The improvement of natural resources sold was mainly due to the strength of the petrol and mining services. As for plastics and covering, all business areas contributed an average growth of a digit, whereas the greater part of the pigment’s section contributed in the annual improvement.
“Our employees are our main value. We count on a highly qualified professional team”
The EU, and more specifically within the H2020 program, promotes and supports issues related to R+D+I. What is the role of innovation in Clariant’s objectives? (Customers and innovation, main purposes)
Innovation is Clariant’s reason to exist. All centers of Clariant in Spain and Portugal are ruled by the same objective that the clients’ needs and satisfaction are achieved through continuous innovation, working in a team and being committed to provide added value.
The alignment with the clients’ needs involves great innovative abilities, proper flexibility and efficient answers to any client’s requirement or market trends. We have modern installations which are much automatized, whose technologies and specialization allow us to make high quality and efficient products, respectful to the environment.
As an example of initiatives that have been implemented in a local scope, I would tell you that, due to our long experience and innovation capacity, Clariant has recognized its Sant Andreu de la Barca plant for the engineering processes used in the Masterbatches production. In addition, our manufacturing plant located in Tarragona is considered to be a strategic and productive center of industrial specialties and consumption at a European level.
And, as a company leader in Europe in R+D+I , what is your bet in our continent in reference to other world areas, such as USA or Asia?
In Clariant an important driver for growth is innovation and, thus, we firmly believe that it is important to keep a continuous investment in R+D+I. With regards to markets, we plan to launch innovative products particularly in markets with high margins. In this sense, we will focus on China, Indonesia, India, South-East-Asia in general, but also on regions such as Latin America and the USA.
We will also continue to focus the allocation of investments in business areas and regions with excellent growth potential. In 2014, we invested about 62% of our total investments in emerging markets and North America. India is also one of the markets with the huge future potential and we will establish a new regional center with extensive R&D departments in China to develop products and solutions meeting the needs of the Chinese market.
“Innovation is Clariant’s reason to exist”
Clariant has again been included in the DSJI index, one of the most important sustainability indicators. How do you get on the 10% of the companies leaders in the Chemical Industry?
The respect for the environment is one of the most important principals for Clariant. The company seeks constant improvements concerning sustainability, which range from the design of the products and their development to the production process, as well as the resources used and the security in transport and products. Raw materials, manufactures and distribution of products, as well as usage and selling, are tested according to high environmental and business requirements. The possible risks derived from the production installations are systematically catalogued and analyzed in order to take the most advantage of their potential.
Therefore, Clariant not only obeys the legal rules, but it has also developed an integral program aimed at improving the efficiency of the group concerning sustainability at all levels. Besides, the company is adhered to the Responsible Care program since 2001, whose principles are part of Clariant’s culture and are integrated in the way it operates. Also it annually edits the Sustainability Report, another piece of evidence for its commitment toward the respect of the environment.
In conclusion, we make an effort to favor the sustainability management by optimizing a wide range of business actions which are respectful to environment, the society, and our employees.
Do you think that in our society sustainability and commitment to this are essential? For any company, regardless its size?
I strongly think so. Any company, no matter its business area or size, has to act in an ethical and responsible way and must set an example for its employees, clients, partners, environment, as well as for the society in general.
In our case, all of our manufacturing plants apply strict quality standards, as well as take measures and do programs focused on social responsibility, security, and environment protection. Besides, all of our activities meet the requirements and are globally certified for quality standards (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001), and security (OHSAS 18001).
We live in a world that needs constant solutions to growing problems related to resources. Clariant bases the excellence of its management on the '3 Ps': Performance, Planet and People. … In which mode displays this commitment to the Environment?
All of our activities are focused in three fundamental principles. The first one, Performance, is related to our commitment to sustainable business growth and management through the use and development of avant-garde technologies. As I said before, we don’t restrict ourselves to the legal requirements because we count on an ambitious program which includes sustainability in all of our processes.
Our employees (People) are our main value. Clariant counts on a diverse professional team, formed by 17,208 people from more than 60 countries of the five continents (369 in Spain and Portugal). With the purpose of encouraging a comfortable working environment and promoting the professional development of the team, the company offers diverse training programs, social benefits and initiatives that favor the conciliation. Clariant also implements actions which foment respect and equal opportunities within the work environment.
In addition, all of our plants around the world are adhered to and strictly meet the principles of the sustainability and security code of the Group (Planet). We make use of efficiency indicators to rate our improvements in terms of resource efficiency, emissions, and wastes. With the aim of achieving a constant improvement in this line, we have set ambitious goals concerning both the environment and sustainability by 2025.
Moreover, Corporate Social Responsibility plays a significant role within the company. To treat clients, employees, neighbors and the environment in a responsible way is not only ethically correct, but it strengthens the alliances with the stakeholders from whom Clariant’s success relies on. This has been proven by all initiatives that we carry out, such as the grant’s plan which gives various university´s students the opportunity to get closer to the workplace, the NGOs assistance concerning the environment and healthcare, among other actions to assist the community.
“Our plant in Tarragona is considered to be a center at a European level”
The chemical sector ended in 2014 with good global data. Which opportunities of growth do you currently see in the sector and which challenges are you faced with?
Regarding the challenges of the sector, we believe that we’ll have to face a complex environment in the future, characterized by an increase volatility in the prices of both basic products and currency. As for the opportunities, we hope that the emergent markets keep offering a favorable economic environment for the industry.
Concerning Clariant, we are working to improve our operational efficiency by implementing an organization with agile service and by developing innovations that offer value for our clients. Despite the volatility of the economic environment, we expect a rise in sales, an increase in the EBITDA margin, and an improvement of the treasury flux this year. In conclusion, we hope to keep being on the path of success so that we can become the leading company in specialized chemical products.
By Ana Crespo
Telecommunications Engineer by the University of Munich (1994) and EMBA at ESADE (Barcelona, 2004). He works in Clariant since 1999 as responsible on various departments and areas. Since 2013, is the company’s Country Head in Spain and Portugal, assuming additionally the representation of Clariant in FEDEQUIM and FEIQUE.