About this report

Selecting the indicators

Where it started

Since the voluntary Responsible Care programme was launched in 1987, the Belgian chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry has closely monitored and reported on the impact of its activities on health, safety and the environment. In 2009, essenscia extended this to a full sustainable development report, monitoring the performance of the sector in the three pillars of sustainability: people, planet and prosperity. A fourth pillar on products was also added, reflecting the importance of the sector’s products in developing solutions to societal challenges.

This fifth edition of the report gives an overview of developments up to 2015.

Selecting indicators

The selection of sustainable development indicators is based on the methods developed by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI is an independent international organisation that helps businesses, governments and other organisations to understand and communicate the impact of businesses on critical sustainability issues, providing the world’s most widely used standards on sustainability reporting and disclosure.

In 2009, the selection of indicators was based on the GRI-3 reporting guidelines. A materiality analysis was carried out together with stakeholders to define which indicators to use. For this fifth edition, this analysis has been reviewed at the request of stakeholders.

In the meantime, GRI published a new set of reporting standards in 2016, which have been adopted in reviewing the materiality analysis and the existing set of indicators for this report. However, since this report concerns a whole sector rather than one company, it was not possible to report fully in line with GRI standards (using either the core or comprehensive options). Nevertheless, this report provides an overview of how, and to what extent, the reported indicators are in line with those standards.

In 2015, the United Nations also published the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). essenscia endorsed these goals from the outset, convinced that the industry can contribute significantly to realising these ambitious objectives. The 2015 edition of the sustainable development report already included references to the SDGs, so they were taken into consideration when revising the materiality analysis.

Additional essenscia indicators which are highly relevant to measure and describe the sector’s sustainable development performance have been added to the initial set of indicators selected in 2009, even though these were not part of the GRI standards.

The graphic below shows how the materiality analysis was carried out between November 2016 and April 2017.

The materiality analysis led to the following changes:

  • No separate reporting on cogeneration capacities installed and heavy metal emissions
  • Addition of new indicators.


Overview of the new indicators

The final set of indicators linked to the SDGs and the GRI standards is summarised in the table below. Most of the indicators are quantitative. Where possible, the indicators for the chemicals, plastics and life sciences industry are compared to the results for the Belgian manufacturing industry and/or for the Belgian society. There are also some indicators which are considered equally important for the sector, but for which (at least to date) no data on a sectoral level are available. In such cases, the information provided is limited to qualitative information.

Indicators used for the report

Essenscia indicators GRI disclosure SDG
PEOPLE Employment GRI 203-2, GRI 401-1 SDG4, SDG 8
Diversity GRI 405-1, GRI 406-1 SDG 8, SDG 5
Employee qualifications SDG 4
Education GRI 404-4, GRI 404-2, GRI 404-3 SDG 4, SDG 8
Age pyramid GRI 401-1, GRI 404-3 SDG 8
Salaries GRI 201-1, GRI 201-3, GRI 202-1 SDG 1, SDG4, SDG 8, SDG 9, SDG 10
Social climate GRI 407-1 SDG 8, SDG 10, SDG 16
Mobility SDG 11
Accidents at work GRI 403-3, GRI 403-2 SDG 3, SDG 8
Occupational diseases GRI 403-2, GRI 403-4 SDG 3, SDG 8
Process safety SDG 8, SDG 9
Anti-trust and anti-corruption compliance GRI 205-1, GRI 205-2, GRI 205-3, GRI 206-1 SDG 16
Ensuring compliance with legislation GRI 308-2, GRI 419-1, GRI 307-1 SDG 10
Community engagements GRI 203-1, GRI 413-1, GRI 403-2 SDG 12, SDG 9, SDG17
PLANET Energy consumption GRI 302-1, GRI 302-4 SDG 7, SDG 9, SDG 13
Energy efficiency GRI 302-3, GRI 302-4 SDG 7, SDG 9, SDG 13
GHG emissions GRI 305-1, GRI 305-2, GRI 305-4, GRI 305-5 SDG 13, SDG 9, SDG 12
Resource efficiency GRI 301-1, GRI 301-2 SDG 8, SDG 9, SDG 12
Acidifying emissions GRI 305-7 SDG 3, SDG 12
Organic emissions GRI 305-7 SDG 12
Water use GRI 303-1, GRI 303-2, GRI 303-3 SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 12
Water quality GRI 306-1 SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 12
Nitrogen and phosphorus GRI 305-7 SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 12
Industrial waste GRI 305-3, GRI 306-2, GRI 306-4 SDG 3, SDG 6, SDG 9, SDG 12, SDG 13
Industrial packaging GRI 301-3 SDG 8, SDG 9, SDG 12
Transport and logistics GRI 302-2, GRI 305-3 SDG 7, SDG 9, SDG 13
Biodiversity GRI 304-1, 304-2 SDG 6, SDG12, SDG 14, SDG 15
Sustainable value chains GRI 307-1, GRI 308-1, GRI 308-1, GRI 414-1, GRI 414-2, GRI 408-1 SDG12, SDG 17
PROSPERITY Added value GRI 201-1 SDG 9, SDG 8
Trade balance GRI 201-1 SDG 9, SDG 8
Profitability GRI 201-1 SDG 9, SDG 8
Financial implications of climate change GRI 201-2 SDG 13
Investments GRI 203-1, GRI 203-2 SDG 12, SDG 9
R&D expenses SDG 9
Innovations SDG8, SDG 9
Number of researchers SDG8, SDG 9
Taxes GRI 201-4, GRI 201-1 SDG 9
Labour productivity SDG 8
REACH registration data GRI 308-2, GRI 416-1 SDG 12
Substitution SDG 12
Sustainable use in the supply chain GRI 308-2, GRI 416-1, GRI 416-2, GRI 417-1, GRI 417-2, GRI 417-3 SDG 12
PRODUCTS & SOCIETY Saving energy & climate GRI 203-2, GRI 302-2, GRI 302-5, GRI 305-3 SDG7, SDG 9, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13
Saving water GRI 203-2 SDG 6, SDG 12
Saving natural resources GRI 203-2 SDG 12
Securing food supply GRI 203-2 SDG 2, SDG 12, SDG 15
Saving lives GRI 203-2 SDG 3, SDG 12

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