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Materiality and stakeholder engagement

The foundation of our sustainability strategy is the materiality matrix, which we use to set priorities and ensure that we take a focused approach. A materiality analysis is about the identification of key issues that are important to our stakeholders and our strategy. The materiality matrix visualizes the results of this analysis, by plotting the relevant social, environmental, governance, and economic issues as a function of their importance to stakeholders (vertical axis) and the impact of Corbion’s strategy and activities on the issues (horizontal axis).

The materiality assessment is updated at least every three years, as input for our strategy updates. In 2020, we updated the materiality matrix using an in-depth methodology (see Figures 1 and 2), resulting in the identification of ten material themes. These ten themes are considered important by the majority of our stakeholders and are impacted by Corbion’s activities significantly.

The graph below shows the upper-right section of Corbion’s materiality matrix, highlighting the ten material themes.

Materiality matrix

The materiality determination process (Fig. 1)

 

1.Theme identification

We compiled a long list of relevant sustainability themes based on international standards, media, peers, sector trends and risk analysis. This list was then consolidated to create a shorter list of 22 themes.

2. Stakeholder dialogues

The importance of each theme to our stakeholders was determined through a survey and interviews.

3. Determination of Corbion's impact

The degree to which Corbion impacts each theme was ranked by Corbion's senior management, Executive Committee, and Supervisory Board through a survey.

4. Materiality matrix calculation

The resulting internal and external scores were plotted in a matrix and discussed with the Sustainability Sounding Board and the Executive Committee to determine the material themes.

Key stakeholder groups (Fig. 2)

 
  

Our key stakeholders have been identified on the basis of two questions: 

1. On which stakeholders does Corbion have a significant impact? 

 

2. Which stakeholders have a significant impact on Corbion?

 
  

(Alphabetical order)

 

• Business partners

• Multi-stakeholder initiatives

• Customers

• NGOs

• Employees

• Potential future employees

• Governments

• Shareholders

• Industry associations

• Supervisory Board

• Knowledge institutes

• Suppliers

Material themes, definition, link to sustainability strategy

The table below lists the material themes, definitions, boundaries, management approach, and the link with Corbion’s sustainability framework and strategy.

Material theme

Safe and healthy working environment

Definition

Provide a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, contractors, and visitors, and promote a safety culture in the supply chain.

Management approach

• Record all incidents and implement corrective and preventive measures
• OHSAS 18001 / ISO 45001 certification for all our manufacturing sites

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving health

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Greenhouse gas emissions

Definition

The reduction of GHG emissions of Corbion and its partners in line with the Paris climate agreement, by increasing energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and supplier engagement.

Management approach

• Transition to renewable electricity
• Energy-saving projects at manufacturing sites
• Selection of the most energy-efficient technology available when equipment is replaced
• R&D program to identify opportunities for heat integration, electrification, and recycling
• Partner with suppliers to jointly reduce our carbon footprint
• Review the financial impact of greenhouse gas emissions through internal carbon pricing in capital expenditure and long-term R&D projects

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving the planet

Linked SDG

SDG 13

Material theme

Innovation for safe, healthy and sustainable food production

Definition

Corbion's food ingredient solutions support the sustainable production of safe, healthy, and affordable food and the prevention of food waste along the value chain.

Management approach

•  Sustainability assessment integrated in our innovation stage-gate process
•  Quantify the impacts on people and/or planet for products with a sustainability value proposition (Life Cycle Assessment)
• Provide food safety solutions that enable our meat customers to produce safe food
• Provide preservation solutions that help our customers deliver products with longer shelf lives, which in turn enables them to reduce food waste and deliver affordable products to markets in which consumer spending power is limited
• Leverage our expertise in food spoilage and food safety to serve more segments of the food industry
• Provide solutions for healthy food, such as ingredients for salt reduction and mineral fortification

Boundaries

Corbion's downstream value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving food and food production

Linked SDG

SDG 2

Material theme

Sustainable procurement

Definition

To ensure high-quality materials and security of supply, Corbion aims to manage social and environmental risks within our supply chain in a responsible and ethical way.

Management approach

• Assessment of raw materials on potential risks related to procurement, quality (including food safety), and sustainability in our security-of-supply assessment, which is updated annually
• Development of mitigation plans for all high-risk raw materials and suppliers
• Generic supplier code that states mandatory requirements on, amongst others, business ethics, human rights, labor conditions, the environment, and responsible procurement; based on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the eight fundamental conventions defined by the ILO
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives

Boundaries

Corbion's supply chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Collaboration and partnerships

Definition

Through collaboration with partners Corbion is able to provide better and innovative solutions for customers and society.

Management approach

• Engagement with suppliers of our key raw materials regarding responsible sourcing, sustainable agriculture, and reduction of GHG emissions
• Engagement with agricultural services partners regarding sustainable agriculture
• Joint innovation projects with customers
• Engagement with customers regarding the Science Based Targets initiative
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG17

Material theme

Economic performance

Definition

To ensure corporate longevity, and continuity in its solution offering, Corbion aims for healthy economic business returns.

Management approach

See Risk management chapter

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Innovation for circular economy

Definition

Corbion's biobased chemicals and materials support the transition to a circular economy

Management approach

•   Sustainability assessment integrated in our innovation stage-gate process
•   Quantify the impacts on people and/or planet for products with a sustainability value proposition (Life Cycle Assessment)
•  Application of Green Chemistry principles in innovation
•   Innovation portfolio Lactic Acid & Specialities
•   Innovation portfolio Incubator

Boundaries

Corbion's downstream value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving the planet

Linked SDG

SDG12

Material theme

Product quality and safety

Definition

Corbion delivers products that are safe, consistently meet specifications, and deliver the expected performance.

Management approach

• Ensure certifications are in place to meet customer and industry-adopted standards and requirements
• Internal audits by our global quality platform to ensure that we continue to improve our operational standards for quality and food safety
• Customer audits predominantly from our international pharmaceutical customers and large food clients
• No production of chemicals of concern

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving health

Linked SDG

SDG 3

Material theme

Sustainable and responsible agriculture

Definition

Corbion aspires to create a sustainable and traceable agricultural supply chain by eliminating deforestation and by continuous improvement to reduce negative impacts on the environment while providing positive benefits such as carbon sequestration.

Management approach

• Generic supplier code that states mandatory requirements on, amongst others, business ethics, human rights, labor conditions, the environment, and responsible procurement
• Sustainable agriculture policy
• Specific policies for our key raw materials focusing on continuous improvement toward the implementation of the relevant sustainability standard for each of these raw materials
• Engagement with suppliers and agricultural services partners regarding sustainable agriculture
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives

Boundaries

Corbion's supply chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving food and food production

Linked SDG

SDG 2, SDG 15

Material theme

Responsible business

Definition

By conducting business in a responsible fashion, actively enforcing an ethical, anti-corruptive culture, Corbion is a trustworthy partner.

Management approach

See Business conduct/compliance chapter

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 16

Material theme

Safe and healthy working environment

Definition

Provide a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, contractors, and visitors, and promote a safety culture in the supply chain.

Management approach

• Record all incidents and implement corrective and preventive measures
• OHSAS 18001 / ISO 45001 certification for all our manufacturing sites

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving health

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Greenhouse gas emissions

Definition

The reduction of GHG emissions of Corbion and its partners in line with the Paris climate agreement, by increasing energy efficiency, use of renewable energy, and supplier engagement.

Management approach

• Transition to renewable electricity
• Energy-saving projects at manufacturing sites
• Selection of the most energy-efficient technology available when equipment is replaced
• R&D program to identify opportunities for heat integration, electrification, and recycling
• Partner with suppliers to jointly reduce our carbon footprint
• Review the financial impact of greenhouse gas emissions through internal carbon pricing in capital expenditure and long-term R&D projects

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving the planet

Linked SDG

SDG 13

Material theme

Innovation for safe, healthy and sustainable food production

Definition

Corbion's food ingredient solutions support the sustainable production of safe, healthy, and affordable food and the prevention of food waste along the value chain.

Management approach

•  Sustainability assessment integrated in our innovation stage-gate process
•  Quantify the impacts on people and/or planet for products with a sustainability value proposition (Life Cycle Assessment)
• Provide food safety solutions that enable our meat customers to produce safe food
• Provide preservation solutions that help our customers deliver products with longer shelf lives, which in turn enables them to reduce food waste and deliver affordable products to markets in which consumer spending power is limited
• Leverage our expertise in food spoilage and food safety to serve more segments of the food industry
• Provide solutions for healthy food, such as ingredients for salt reduction and mineral fortification

Boundaries

Corbion's downstream value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving food and food production

Linked SDG

SDG 2

Material theme

Sustainable procurement

Definition

To ensure high-quality materials and security of supply, Corbion aims to manage social and environmental risks within our supply chain in a responsible and ethical way.

Management approach

• Assessment of raw materials on potential risks related to procurement, quality (including food safety), and sustainability in our security-of-supply assessment, which is updated annually
• Development of mitigation plans for all high-risk raw materials and suppliers
• Generic supplier code that states mandatory requirements on, amongst others, business ethics, human rights, labor conditions, the environment, and responsible procurement; based on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the eight fundamental conventions defined by the ILO
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives

Boundaries

Corbion's supply chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Collaboration and partnerships

Definition

Through collaboration with partners Corbion is able to provide better and innovative solutions for customers and society.

Management approach

• Engagement with suppliers of our key raw materials regarding responsible sourcing, sustainable agriculture, and reduction of GHG emissions
• Engagement with agricultural services partners regarding sustainable agriculture
• Joint innovation projects with customers
• Engagement with customers regarding the Science Based Targets initiative
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives and partnerships

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG17

Material theme

Economic performance

Definition

To ensure corporate longevity, and continuity in its solution offering, Corbion aims for healthy economic business returns.

Management approach

See Risk management chapter

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 8

Material theme

Innovation for circular economy

Definition

Corbion's biobased chemicals and materials support the transition to a circular economy

Management approach

•   Sustainability assessment integrated in our innovation stage-gate process
•   Quantify the impacts on people and/or planet for products with a sustainability value proposition (Life Cycle Assessment)
•  Application of Green Chemistry principles in innovation
•   Innovation portfolio Lactic Acid & Specialities
•   Innovation portfolio Incubator

Boundaries

Corbion's downstream value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving the planet

Linked SDG

SDG12

Material theme

Product quality and safety

Definition

Corbion delivers products that are safe, consistently meet specifications, and deliver the expected performance.

Management approach

• Ensure certifications are in place to meet customer and industry-adopted standards and requirements
• Internal audits by our global quality platform to ensure that we continue to improve our operational standards for quality and food safety
• Customer audits predominantly from our international pharmaceutical customers and large food clients
• No production of chemicals of concern

Boundaries

Corbion's own operations

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving health

Linked SDG

SDG 3

Material theme

Sustainable and responsible agriculture

Definition

Corbion aspires to create a sustainable and traceable agricultural supply chain by eliminating deforestation and by continuous improvement to reduce negative impacts on the environment while providing positive benefits such as carbon sequestration.

Management approach

• Generic supplier code that states mandatory requirements on, amongst others, business ethics, human rights, labor conditions, the environment, and responsible procurement
• Sustainable agriculture policy
• Specific policies for our key raw materials focusing on continuous improvement toward the implementation of the relevant sustainability standard for each of these raw materials
• Engagement with suppliers and agricultural services partners regarding sustainable agriculture
• Participate in relevant multi-stakeholder initiatives

Boundaries

Corbion's supply chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving food and food production

Linked SDG

SDG 2, SDG 15

Material theme

Responsible business

Definition

By conducting business in a responsible fashion, actively enforcing an ethical, anti-corruptive culture, Corbion is a trustworthy partner.

Management approach

See Business conduct/compliance chapter

Boundaries

Corbion's value chain

Link with Advance 2025 strategy

Preserving wat matters

Linked SDG

SDG 16

Corbion's impact on the Sustainable Development Goals

In preparation for our strategy update Advance 2025 we assessed our entire product portfolio and our value chain with a view to the potential – positive and negative – impact on the Sustainable Development Goals. The assessment involved the four steps summarized in the figure below.

See our Measuring what matters white paper that describes this assessment in detail.

SDG Assesments

In evaluating Corbion’s potential for contributing to the SDGs based on an analysis of our entire product portfolio, we were inspired by the “Business Reporting on the SDGs – An analysis of the goals and targets” publication developed by the Global Reporting Initiative and the UN Global Compact. This publication provides illustrative examples of actions businesses can take to impact the SDG targets. Our assessment identified the following relevant impact areas and associated SDG targets:

Impact category

Definition

Example

Animal health


Ensure sustainable food production by improving the health of production animals.

By promoting gut health, ALOAPUR® provides an effective solution for achieving superior animal performance, without the use of antibiotics. This contributes to sustainable food production systems (SDG 2.4) and to combating communicable diseases (SDG 3.3).

Reduced environmental impact

Enable our customers to reduce their environmental impact by reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions, waste, or land use

The carbon footprint of Luminy PLA is lower than fossil-based materials with similar performance such as polystyrene. This contributes to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and therefore to SDG 13.

Sanilac is used in home and personal care products as a registered preservative. This contributes to waste reduction by preventing spoilage (12.5).

Algae-based protein reduces land use compared to animal-based protein which contributes to sustainable food production systems (SDG 2.4).

Food safety

Protect food against food-borne pathogens by providing antimicrobial solutions

Corbion’s Opti.Form and Verdad products are used for Listeria control; this supports access to safe food (SDG 2.1) and helps prevent communicable diseases (SDG 3.3).

Food waste

Ensure sustainable food production by preventing food waste

Corbion's food ingredient solutions support the sustainable production of safe, healthy, and affordable food and the prevention of food waste (SDG 12.3) along the value chain, which also increases the availability of and access to food (SDG 2.1).

Health and health care

Preserve health by providing health care solutions

Corbion's PURASAL S/PF solutions for pharma are used for dialysis and IV fluids, and therefore contribute to preventing mortality from non-communicable diseases (SDG 3.4). Corbion’s products also allow for home treatment, which is more cost-efficient and increases accessibility to the treatment (SDG 3.8).

PURASORB polymers are resorbable excipients for controlled release drug delivery systems, which enable patients to control dosage over days, weeks, or months with a single injection. This improves the health and well-being of the patient by reducing side-effects (SDG 3.4).

Our polymers are used in the development of a 6-month, long-acting injectable and bioresorbable contraceptive supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (SDG 3.7).

PURASORB resorbable polymers are used in resorbable orthopedic devices and implants, which, in turn, are used in treating a wide range of injuries to the musculoskeletal system in areas like sports medicine, trauma, and spinal surgery. This contributes to the treatment of non-communicable diseases (SDG 3.4). The biodegradability of the orthopedic devices reduces the need for follow-up surgeries. Surgery always includes a health (infection) risk for the patient, so these products also contribute to SDG 3.3. Further, fewer follow-up surgeries reduces healthcare costs (SDG 3.8).

Health and nutrition

Preserve health by providing food ingredients with nutritional benefits

PURACAL and Gluconal are used for mineral fortification in food products, which contributes to achieving the recommended daily intake of minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc.) and helps to prevent certain non-communicable diseases (SDG 3.4).

PuraQArome and PURASAL HiPure P enable the creation of low-sodium food products without compromising product quality. This has beneficial health effects for the consumer, as it reduces illness from certain non-communicable diseases and therefore contributes to SDG 3.4.

Marine biodiversity

Ensure sustainable food production by protecting marine ecosystems

AlgaPrime DHA is a micro-algae-based omega-3 that reduces reliance on forage fish for fish oil in aquaculture feed. This contributes to SDG 14.2 by protecting marine ecosystems, to SDG 14.4 by preventing overfishing, and to SDG 2.4 by supporting the transition to a sustainable food system.

Biobased economy

Enable the transition to a biobased economy using renewable biological resources sustainably to produce food and materials

Corbion’s products can replace synthetic chemicals with fermentation-based products derived from agricultural raw materials. This contributes to the sustainable management of natural resources (SDG 12.2) due to the reduced use of fossil-based raw materials.

Less hazardous chemicals

Reduce the risks associated with producing and using chemicals

Corbion's PURASOLV solvents are not included in the SVHC (substances of very high concern) list from ECHA (European Chemicals Agency), nor are they in the SIN (Substitute it now) list from ChemSec (International Chemical Secretariat). PURASOLV can be used as non-toxic replacements for potentially unsafe solvents, such as NMP, DMAc, DMF, xylene, toluene, isophorone and chlorinated solvents (solvents that are restricted substances under REACH but can be used in agrochemical applications outside the EU). This contributes to SDG 3.9 and SDG 12.4

For each of the identified impact areas, internal and external documentation has been collected and reviewed by relevant Corbion Competence Leads and other experts to confirm that there is sufficient evidence supporting the impact of a product or product group. The supporting documentation included academic publications, R&D studies by external laboratories, internal test results, customer feedback, examples of commercial application, certifications and patents. We left out products for which we do not yet have sufficient evidence to claim a positive contribution to the impact category.

Corbion’s products are used in a number of different industries, and their ability to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals depends on the sector in which they are applied. For products we supply to the confectionery and sweet goods sub-markets, we do not claim positive impacts in the “health benefits” and “food waste reduction” categories. We also do not claim positive impacts for our products used in the oil and gas sector, since they cannot solve or eliminate the negative environmental impacts in this sector. The sector itself, which is based on finite resources, is in conflict with some of the SDGs (for example, SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production, and SDG 13 Climate action).

To determine the Corbion revenue contribution to preserving food and food production, health, and the planet, the entire Corbion product portfolio was mapped against the identified impact areas which are linked to these three themes. A similar approach was followed to determine the contribution of Corbion’s innovation portfolio to these three areas. In these calculations, preserving the planet includes impacts related to SDG 12, SDG 13, and SDG 14. In 2021, 60% of our global sales and 100% of our innovation projects contributed to preserving food and food production, health, and/or the planet.

EU Taxonomy

 

Code(s)

Absolute turnover1 (mln €)

Proportion of turnover

Taxonomy- eligible activities

   

Manufacture of other low carbon technologies

3.6

30.2

3%

Manufacture of organic basic chemicals

3.14

796.8

74%

Turnover of Taxonomy- eligible activities

 

827

77%

Turnover of Taxonomy-non-eligible activities

 

243.8

23%

Total turnover

 

1070.8

 
  • 1 Reported as 'Net sales' in the consolidated income statement
 

Code(s)

Absolute capex1 (mln €)

Proportion of capex

Taxonomy- eligible activities

   

Manufacture of other low carbon technologies

3.6

1.1

1%

Manufacture of organic basic chemicals

3.14

135.5

75%

Capex of Taxonomy- eligible activities

 

136.6

76%

Capex of Taxonomy-non-eligible activities

 

43.6

24%

Total capex

 

180.2

 
  • 1 Reported under the capital expenditure and acquisition of group companies sections of Property, plant, and equipment, Leases, and Intangible fixed assets
 

Code(s)

Absolute opex1 (mln €)

Proportion of opex

Taxonomy- eligible activities

   

Manufacture of other low carbon technologies

3.6

9.5

11%

Manufacture of organic basic chemicals

3.14

29.7

33%

Opex of Taxonomy- eligible activities

 

39.2

44%

Opex of Taxonomy-non-eligible activities

 

49.8

56%

Total Opex

 

89.0

 
  • 1 All maintenance costs, rent and leases (excluding depreciation and impairment, including short-term leases) and R&D expenses (excluding amortization and impairment). These costs are part of the costs reported in the consolidated income statement lines Cost of sales, Research and development costs, and General and administrative expenses.

The tables above show information required under Regulation (EU) 2020/852 for which further regulations are currently still under development. As an example, the Taxonomy Regulations establishes six environmental objectives of which at reporting date only two environmental objectives (Climate change mitigation and Climate change adaptions) have been finalized. The disclosure therefore potentially does not provide a full overview of Corbion’s eligible activities as the four other environmental objectives are not yet considered. In future reporting years, other EU Taxonomy objectives need to be considered, which could potentially result in additional economic activities being considered as eligible.

For this reporting period, Corbion considers the following economic activities to be eligible under the act:

  • Manufacture of other low carbon technologies (3.6) - AlgaPrime DHA enables life-cycle GHG emission savings in the manufacture of aquaculture feed by offering an alternative to fish oil. The manufacturing of AlgaPrime DHA is therefore considered eligible.

  • Manufacture of organic basic chemicals (3.14) – according to Annex 1 of the Delegated act, this activity includes a number of specific chemicals and a category other chemicals (NACE 20.14). Corbion's business activities related to the manufacturing of organic acids, derivatives and emulsifiers can, in our view, be associated with NACE code C20.14 and are therefore considered eligible.

Under the current definitions of the EU Taxonomy, the manufacturing of functional blends for application in food, which is about 22% of Corbion's turnover, is not considered eligible.

Compared to Corbion's SDG assessment, which determines the alignment of Corbion's activities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the EU Taxonomy excludes the contribution of food waste reduction to climate change mitigation. According to UNEP (UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2021), 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed. Corbion considers its solutions for shelf-life extension therefore to contribute to Preserving the planet, more specifically to SDG 12.3. In addition, the EU Taxonomy currently only considers environmental objectives. Corbion's SDG assessment also considers social objectives, specifically activities that contribute to SDG 2 Zero hunger, and to SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing. In total, 24% of the non-eligible turnover and 70% of the eligible turnover is contributing to the SDGs according to Corbion's SDG assessment.