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Sustainability performance

KPI

2030 Target1

2025 Target1

2020

20192

Preserving food and food production

    

% of cane sugar verified responsibly sourced 3

100%

100%

66%

n/a

% of verified deforestation-free key agricultural raw materials 4,5

100%

100%

83%

n/a

% of products6 contributing to preserving food and food production7

-

-

30%

29%

% of innovation projects contributing to preserving food and food production8

-

-

60%

n/a

% of Product Social Metrics9 coverage for products contributing to preserving food and food production7

100%

50%

1%

n/a

Preserving health

    

Total Recordable Injury Rate10

< 0.25

< 0.5

0.87

0.83

% of sites11 certified according to internationally recognized food safety management system standards12

100%

100%

100%

100%

# of SIN list13 chemicals produced

0

0

0

0

# of EU REACH Candidate List chemicals produced

0

0

0

0

# of EU REACH Authorization List chemicals produced

0

0

0

0

% of products6 contributing to preserving health7

-

-

34%

33%

% of innovation projects contributing to preserving health8

-

-

94%

n/a

% of Product Social Metrics9 coverage for products contributing to preserving health7

100%

50%

1%

n/a

Preserving the planet

    

% of raw materials covered by generic supplier code14

> 90%

> 90%

99%

100%

% of raw material/supplier combinations with high sustainability risk 15

< 10%

< 10%

10%

n/a

% of high-risk raw materials/supplier combinations with mitigation plan 15

> 90%

> 90%

96%

n/a

% biobased raw materials14

> 95%

> 95%

98%

98%

Renewable electricity √

100%

90%

71%

58%

Reduction of Scope I, II emissions 16

-

-

23%

21%

Reduction of Scope I, II, III emissions (SBTi-approved target) 16

33%

20%

11%

12%

% recycled by-products 14

100%

100%

98%

99%

Landfill of waste √

0

-

1.8 kT

1.2 kT

% of products6 contributing to preserving the planet7

-

-

50%

47%

% of innovation projects contributing to preserving the planet8

-

-

84%

n/a

% of Life Cycle Assessment17 coverage for products contributing to preserving the planet7

100%

100%

80%

n/a

Preserving what matters

    

% of products6 contributing to preserving food and food production, health, and/or the planet7

> 80%

> 70%

61%

59%

  • 1 Targets based on current manufacturing footprint; to be reviewed in case of acquisitions / major changes.
  • 2 Our facility in Araucária (Granotec do Brazil) was not included in 2019.
  • 3 Bonsucro-certified or meeting the requirements of Corbion's cane sugar code verified by third-party audits, by quantity.
  • 4 Key agricultural raw materials include cane sugar, dextrose derived from corn, palm oil and derivatives, soy-bean oil and derivatives, and wheat, by quantity.
  • 5 Through Bonsucro certification, RSPO certification, or other certification covering deforestation; or demonstrated to be deforestation-free based on satellite data, third-party audits (e.g. Corbion cane sugar code audit), and/or country of origin statements, by quantity.
  • 6 By revenue.
  • 7 Products for which there is evidence that the product contributes to the identified impact categories. See Sustainability statements for more details.
  • 8 Innovation projects targeting the development of a product that contributes to the identified impact categories, by expected revenues in 5 years. See Sustainability statements for more details.
  • 9 The Product Social Metrics assessment is done according to the methodology described in the Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment, published by the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics and applies to products manufactured at Corbion sites (outsourcing is excluded). By quantity.
  • 10 Based on OSHA guidelines. Including contractors; excluding our facility in Araucária (Granotec do Brazil) which was acquired in 2019.
  • 11 Sites where food ingredients are produced.
  • 12 Standards recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI): BRC, FSCC22000, SQF.
  • 13 The Substitute It Now (SIN) list is a list of hazardous chemicals that have been identified as being Substances of Very High Concern, based on the criteria defined within REACH, the EU chemicals legislation. The SIN list is developed by the nonprofit ChemSec.
  • 14 By quantity.
  • 15 By number, based on Corbion's Security of Supply assessment methodology.
  • 16 We report our emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol per metric ton of product. Our Science Based Target includes Scope I emissions from direct production (from natural gas), Scope II emissions from purchased energy (electricity and purchased steam, market-based), and Scope III emissions related to key raw materials and transport. Our full Scope III emissions and biogenic emissions are reported in the Sustainability statements. Our 2030 target is approved by the Science Based Targets initiative. Progress is reported compared to 2016 as base year.
  • 17 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is peer reviewed according to ISO 14040/44 standards for Corbion’s core products (such as lactic acid) or done according to the “LCA Approach for Corbion’s Product Portfolio: Lactic acid derivative plants, Corbion 2017,” which has been externally reviewed against and is considered to be in line with the principles of the ISO 14040/44 standards. Applies to products manufactured at Corbion sites (outsourcing is excluded). By quantity.
  •  =  reviewed by external auditor

Corbion's impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

In 2020 we assessed our entire product portfolio as well as our value chain with a view to the potential – positive and negative – impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. Our vision is to preserve what matters by maximizing our positive impact and by minimizing any negative impacts. From this assessment, we learned that SDG 2 (Zero hunger), SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), and SDG 12 (Responsible consumption and production) are the goals where we can have the most significant positive impact given our business activities. We also recognize that our operations can (potentially) have a negative impact on some of the SDGs. This includes the potential impact of Corbion's manufacturing processes and use of raw materials on occupational health and safety (SDG 3), greenhouse gas emissions (SDG 13), deforestation (SDG 15), food security and agricultural impacts (SDG 2), and waste (SDG 12). Corbion's Advance 2025 strategy includes ambitious targets to minimize these impacts.

To monitor our current impact on our three focus SDGs (2, 3, and 13), we started to track the overall contribution to each of these SDGs as percentage of Corbion's total revenues. In 2020, 61% of Corbion's net sales contributed to preserving food and food production, health, and the planet. To increase this percentage in the years to come, we also assess our innovation projects on their SDG contribution, as part of the innovation stage gate process. At the end of 2020, 100% of our innovation projects contributed to one or more of the SDGs. See the Sustainability statements for more details on this SDG assessment. 

Responsible sourcing

A significant part of the environmental and social impact in our value chain is upstream of our own operations. To safeguard an overall positive environmental and social impact of our sustainable solutions, we need to ensure our raw materials are sourced responsibly.

We assess all of our raw materials and suppliers on potential risks related to sustainability in our security-of-supply assessment, which is updated annually. The risk assessment results in a high, medium, or low score for each raw material/supplier combination.

In 2020, we started using RepRisk as a tool to identify high-risk suppliers regarding sustainability. RepRisk systematically identifies material ESG risks by analyzing information from public sources and stakeholders. This tool gives us more insight into the supplier-specific risks and provides the necessary information for focused supplier engagement.

In our 2020 assessment, 10% of the raw material/supplier combinations analyzed were classified as high risk. For 96% of these, mitigation plans have been created. Mitigation actions include supplier engagement, additional traceability investigation, SMETA audits, or identification of alternative raw materials or suppliers. Through these actions, we aim to reduce the number of high risk raw material/supplier combinations, however we also realize that it is not feasible to eliminate these risks entirely. We therefore update the assessment and mitigation plans annually to ensure continued awareness and to be prepared for potential issues.

We require all of our raw material suppliers to sign our supplier code for confirmation, or to demonstrate commitment to our code by compliance with company policies that embrace the standards included in our code. Our supplier code defines Corbion's expectations in respect of our suppliers meeting our responsible sourcing commitment. The code includes principles and criteria for business ethics, human rights and labor conditions, and environmental practices, based on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the eight fundamental conventions defined by the ILO, including freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor, the effective abolition of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Biobased raw materials

The majority of our raw materials are biobased, derived from renewable, agricultural sources such as sugar cane, corn, soy, wheat, and palm oil. The use of biobased raw materials instead of fossil-based resources for the production of specialty chemicals supports the transition to a circular economy, because biobased raw materials are renewable by nature, in so long as its production is sustainably managed. According to the Bioplastic feedstock alliance, a sustainable biobased feedstock is legally sourced, conforms to Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), does not adversely impact food security, and does not result in deforestation. Corbion's sustainable agriculture policy describes our key principles for the production of biobased raw materials. At the current level of bioplastic production, land use is minimal and not competing with food. Over the next decades, world population will grow and global demand for crops for food and industrial applications is expected to increase. The use of next-generation feedstocks such as second-generation sugars from agricultural residues and C1 carbon sources can help address this concern and Corbion is following this closely.

Sustainable agriculture

A sustainable agricultural supply chain is crucial to our business as we rely on agriculture for our biobased raw materials. It is also vital to the communities in which we operate and to our planet’s resources. We recognize that intensive agriculture can have negative consequences for people and the environment. The agricultural sector is the second-largest source of GHG emissions globally and farming of sugarcane and oil palm has been linked to issues such as forced and child labor. Sustainable agriculture, however, has the potential to protect the planet, enhance the economic viability of the agricultural sector, and support the livelihoods and well-being of farmers and the communities they work in. Our sustainable agriculture policy describes our vision and key principles for sustainable agriculture, including protecting biodiversity, eliminating deforestation, stewardship of the air, soil and water, and mitigating climate change. Our cane sugar code defines the specific requirements for the production of sustainable cane sugar, based on the definitions for sustainable sugar cane and derived products as set out by Bonsucro. Our palm oil statement describes our requirements for responsible sourcing of palm, including no deforestation, no peat, and no exploitation.

Corbion is not directly involved with the growing, harvesting, and processing of the crops used to make our raw materials. We partner with our direct suppliers, conservation solution providers and engage with other stakeholders involved in our agricultural supply chains to promote our vision for sustainable agriculture. We also implement relevant certification schemes including Bonsucro and RSPO. Globally some 5% of the sugar cane growing areas is certified and for our main sourcing area, Thailand, this is less then 2%. We therefore audit our cane sugar suppliers against the Corbion cane sugar code if they are not yet able to deliver Bonsucro-certified sugar.

In 2020, we formalized the governance of our cane sugar code by implementing a formal auditing process, which includes a full audit of the sugar mills and supply farms every three years and an annual re-assessment. Through this approach, we verified that 66% of our total cane sugar consumption meets the requirements of our code. This includes some 13% Bonsucro-certified sugar.

To provide more transparency on the risk of deforestation in our agriculture supply chains, we developed a new KPI to track the percentage of key agricultural raw materials purchased that is verified deforestation-free. About 50% of our key agricultural raw materials is sourced in North-America, where deforestation is not an issue. For sugar and palm oil, the absence of deforestation is verified through audits and Bonsucro or RSPO certification. In 2020, we achieved 100% RSPO certification for palm oil and primary oleochemicals and 83% verified deforestation-free globally.   

In 2020 we partnered with Cargill and Practical Farmers of Iowa to develop a soil health program targeting corn growers in the sourcing region surrounding Corbion's manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska. The program is focused on the adoption of soil health practices, including no till, planting of cover crops, and nutrient management. It aims to reduce GHG emissions, increase soil organic matter, increase farmer resilience, improve water quality, and leverage technical assistance and farmer-farmer networks to drive change.

To promote sustainable agriculture for the production of soy, we partnered with Truterra, LLC, the sustainability business of Land O’Lakes and a leader in scaling-up private-sector conservation solutions. The Truterra™ Insights Engine allows farmers and downstream value chain partners to measure sustainability progress and trends in real time at field level. The digital platform creates a framework for continuous improvement while also benchmarking against yield and profitability, ensuring customized, scalable on-farm conservation solutions that both protect our natural resources and are good for the farmer. In 2020, the first 20,000 acres in Nebraska/Iowa were enrolled in this program.  

Environment, health, and safety

Corbion aims to create a safe and healthy workspace with the goal of having zero incidents because we believe no job is so important that it cannot be done safely and with minimal environmental impact. We therefore operate with the greatest care for safety, health, and the environment for our employees and the communities we engage with. Our activities are supported by a management system that includes policies, procedures, training, and feedback, which ascertain that we comply with laws and regulations applicable to our operations and act in accordance with our company standards and codes. Corbion management and employees are committed to achieving a zero-incident culture. Corbion fosters an open and transparent culture by encouraging all employees to report, amongst others, all near misses and events in order to continuously improve our safety and environmental performance. Our Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) framework clarifies the specific responsibilities of the local sites versus the global EHS platform.

In 2020 we recorded 25 recordable incidents across all regions. Our Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) combined for Corbion and contractor employees was 0.87, which is slightly up from last year (0.83). To make a step change toward our goal of zero incidents we executed a Safety Culture assessment in 2020 with an external consultant. This exercise was somewhat hindered by COVID-19, but in the third quarter a roadmap toward best-in-class safety standards was provided. This roadmap will be translated into a Safety Excellence program which will start in 2021 on two pilot sites. We strengthened our global safety department with a VP EHS who reports to the COO, a Process Safety expert, and a program coordinator.

The current programs aimed at implementing ISO 45001 on all sites and the roll-out of our 10 Corbion Safety Rules are still underway and will be completed in 2021. By the end of 2020, 6 manufacturing sites were ISO 45001 or OSHAS certified, representing about 78% of Corbion's production volume and 4 sites were ISO 14001 certified, representing about 57% of Corbion’s production volume.

Our employee absentee rate was 2.4% overall compared to 2.2% in 2019.

Greenhouse gas emissions and renewable electricity

In 2019, Corbion committed to reduce its Scope I, II, and III GHG emissions by 33% per metric ton of product by 2030 with 2016 as base year. This target has been approved by the Science Based Target initiative.

In 2020, we achieved a 11% reduction, which is slightly below the result achieved last year. Changes in product and supplier mix resulted in an increase of our specific Scope III emissions, which negated the Scope I and II improvement initiatives implemented elsewhere. For Scope I and II, we achieved a 23% reduction compared to the base year, a 2% improvement compared to 2019. We have updated our SBT roadmap, accelerated the implementation of existing initiatives, and started additional R&D projects to mitigate the impact of the increased growth in lactic acid. With these adjustments, we are on track to achieve our 2030 reduction target.

One of the key initiatives to achieve our target is the implementation of renewable electricity. By now, 8 of our 13 manufacturing sites, are fully powered by renewable electricity, compared to 7 in 2019. In 2020, we partnered with a new energy supplier in Thailand, and starting in 2021, we will gradually implement renewable electricity in this region. As member of RE100, a global initiative with the mission to accelerate change towards zero carbon grids at scale, we are committed to achieve 100% by 2030.

In 2020 we have implemented several energy savings projects with an expected total improvement potential of approximately 1,200 tons of GHG emissions annually, which will materialize in 2021. These improvements include the replacement of a boiler at our manufacturing site in Gorinchem, the Netherlands and several heat integration opportunities. Our capital expenditure plan for the next five years includes similar energy savings opportunities, as well as the implementation of the gypsum-free technology for lactic acid production in Rayong. The gypsum-free technology reduces the GHG emissions per ton of lactic acid by 20%.

We also established an R&D program to identify new technologies including electrification, use of low-carbon energy sources, and recycling. As part of this program Corbion participates in various external research programs focused on the development of low-carbon technologies. Examples include the Dutch hydrogen consortium's work on reducing CO2 emissions from manufacturing processes and VoltaChem's research on industrial electrification. The R&D program is managed by a newly formed Sustainability Council, which is led by the CSSO, and includes representatives from Operations, R&D, and Finance. The council is responsible for the management of the stage-gate process and priority setting. The R&D program has identified 163 kTon of potential GHG emission reduction opportunities, with a technical readiness level ranging from 3 to 9.

Partnerships with our key raw material suppliers are essential to achieve the targeted Scope III reductions. In 2020, our procurement and sustainability teams worked together to engage key suppliers of cane sugar, dextrose, lime, and soy-bean oil. The goal is to better understand the footprints of these raw materials and identify GHG reduction opportunities. These reduction opportunities could be found within our suppliers’ own manufacturing operations or captured through the implementation of sustainable agriculture practices on the farms our suppliers source from. The projects developed in collaboration with Cargill and Truterra (see Sustainable agriculture) are a result of these engagement activities. In addition to supplier engagement, another approach is to implement third-party sourcing certifications, such as Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification and Bonsucro, where GHG emissions are reduced by complying with the certification's stringent environmental standards.

To manage the impact of expansion and innovation projects on our GHG emissions, the financial impact of GHG emissions is evaluated through internal carbon pricing in capital expenditure and long-term R&D projects. We use a carbon price of € 50 per ton globally, as well as more detailed scenarios for e.g. the Netherlands where the carbon tax is projected to increase to € 125 per ton by 2030.

Biodiversity

Humans depend on healthy ecosystems as these stabilize the climate, provide food, clean water and air, and raw materials, and protect coastlines. Biodiversity loss is threatening earth’s capacity to maintain healthy ecosystems. Business activities can contribute to biodiversity loss. To understand the potential impact of Corbion's own business activities on biodiversity and to demonstrate our commitment to address these, we joined the Science Based Targets for Nature (SBTN) corporate engagement program. Within this program, we will work with other stakeholders to co-create methods and tools for integrated target setting, in line with the best available science.

Water

Water is an essential resource for people and vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. The majority of the water consumption in Corbion's value chain is in agriculture (see Sustainable agriculture). In Corbion's own manufacturing processes, fermentation is the most water intensive step. Most of the water used is recovered in the purification process and re-used or discharged for the wastewater treatment. The net water consumption includes only water evaporation in the cooling towers and water in (by-)products.

In 2020, we performed a risk assessment for our manufacturing sites, using Aqueduct. Aqueduct is a data platform run by the World Resources Institute, an environmental research organization. Aqueduct is comprised of tools that help companies, governments, and civil society understand and respond to water risks – such as water stress, variability from season-to-season, pollution, and water access. Based on the Aqueduct overall water risk assessment none of the 13 Corbion sites is located in a high or extremely high water risk area. Regarding water stress, some 16% of our water withdrawals comes from high stress areas. Within the SBTN corporate engagement program, we will further investigate our impact on water to begin prioritizing locations for action. 

Waste

In our lactic acid production process we generate significant quantities of valuable by-products, such as gypsum. Per metric ton of lactic acid, almost 2 tons of by-product are produced. The majority of these by-products are valorized, but occasionally they do end up in landfill. Since the implementation of a new valorization option for gypsum at our lactic acid plant in the US in 2017, we have increased the recycling of by-products to 98-99%. For our site in Spain, there are legislative barriers that we need to overcome to achieve our target of 100% recycling. In 2020 we have submitted a request to the Spanish environmental authorities for regulatory approval.

Product quality and safety

We are committed to delivering high-quality solutions that safely meet our customer expectations and fulfill our customer promise through quality and manufacturing systems and processes.

On a local level we operate in compliance with local regulations and legislation, while ensuring certifications are in place to meet customer and industry-adopted standards and requirements, such as ISO 9001, GFSI (BRC, FSCC22000, SQF), GMP+, GMP Pharma, FDA Pharma, Halal, Kosher, non-GMO, Organic, and FSMA. For our Sustainable Food Solutions, food safety is a key priority as it relates to production quality, spoilage, contamination, supply chain traceability, and allergy labeling. All of our manufacturing sites where food ingredients are produced (11 out of 13) are certified against a GFSI-recognized standard. Four of our manufacturing sites have a pharmaceutical registration. In addition we host customer audits predominantly from our international pharmaceutical customers and large food clients. These, and our self-assessment audits performed by our global quality platform, ensure that we continue to improve our operational standards for quality and food safety. In 2020, we maintained all certifications and started to harmonize the quality management between the different Corbion sites by introducing a Global Quality Manual. This document underlines our drive for continuous quality improvement and food risk reduction.

Chemicals safety and stewardship

Chemicals safety and stewardship is a critical issue as chemicals during the use phase might have potential impacts on human health or the environment. Corbion's biochemicals offer safer alternatives for chemicals of concern. To make our chemicals-safety performance more transparent and demonstrate the low-hazard profile of our portfolio, we introduced three new chemicals-safety KPIs:

  • The number of chemicals produced on the REACH Authorization List of the EU. Substances on this list are selected from the REACH Candidate List and cannot be launched on the market or used after a given date (“sunset date”), unless authorization is granted for their specific use, or the use is exempted from authorization.

  • The number of REACH Candidate List chemicals produced. The REACH Candidate List of the EU is the first step toward stringent regulation of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs).

  • The number of SIN list chemicals produced. The Substitute It Now (SIN list), developed by nonprofit ChemSec, is a list of very hazardous chemicals that may be placed on the REACH Candidate List.

None of Corbion's products is included in any of the above lists. It is a priority to maintain this, to meet our promise to preserve what matters, and to minimize risks related to regulatory measures, workers' health, consumer exposure, and potential accidents and spills. We apply strict cut-off criteria for the development of new products (SVHC criteria) and we adhere to the 12 principles of Green Chemistry. All Corbion products that are within the scope of REACH have been registered accordingly.

Innovation

To ensure alignment of our innovation projects with our sustainability ambitions, we assess new product and process development projects against the relevant material themes in our sustainability strategy. The assessment is integrated in our innovation stage-gate process and provides guidance to the project team on sustainability-related matters. This warrants that sustainability is an integrated part of the product and process design and that potential issues can be tackled at an early stage. The assessment includes an evaluation of resource and energy efficiency, chemicals safety, and the potential impact of the project on Corbion's GHG emissions. If a significant negative impact is identified, the project team needs to mitigate this within the project. If this is not feasible, R&D is requested to investigate alternative options to mitigate the impact elsewhere. In 2020, we extended the assessment and included an evaluation of the contribution of the innovation project to preserving food and food production, health, and the planet, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals that Corbion focuses on (see Corbion's impact on the Sustainable Development Goals).

Sustainability assessment at different stages of the innovation funnel

Life Cycle Assessment

Corbion uses Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) as a tool to understand the environmental impacts of a product from the extraction of resources to their use and end of life. To enable our customers to make conscious choices, we will conduct cradle-to-gate LCAs for all products that can contribute to preserving the planet by 2025. Using this data, we can work side-by-side with customers to help them improve their environmental footprint and substantiate their sustainability claims. 

In 2020, we performed LCAs for the lactic acid and derivatives produced at our facility in Blair, US. We also conducted an updated LCA of AlgaPrime DHA. With these two additions, we now performed assessments for 80% of our products that contribute to preserving the planet.

Product Social Metrics assessment

To make a positive impact on people, we need to understand the social impact of business activities throughout our supply chain and how they affect our stakeholders. In 2017, Corbion joined the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics, and together with the other Roundtable members, we developed a methodology for measuring social impacts, which is available in the Roundtable’s handbook. The handbook provides a framework, an overview of data collection tools, and a scoring approach to assess social impacts. In 2020, the handbook was updated based on case studies from the Roundtable members, including a case study by Corbion for our meat safety and extended shelf-life solutions.

  • 1 Whitepaper, Sustainable sourcing of feedstocks for bioplastics - Clarifying sustainability aspects around feedstock use for the production of bioplastics, Julia Lovett (Total Corbion PLA), François de Bie (Total Corbion PLA), Diana Visser (Corbion).