Strategy & Management

Expert Statement: Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, Symrise

CO2-Neutral Chemical Industry - The Challenge of an Industry Transformation

10.03.2021 - The European Chemical Industry has set out on an ambitious path to become carbon neutral.

Germany, as one of the major chemical manufacturing nations, has committed to achieve this goal by 2050. But companies need to translate this industry vision into their specific context.
System changes of the scale of CO2 neutrality for a whole industry sector require a new mindset. Major transformations command long lead times and require consistent and persistent follow-through. It is all but clear whether enough value is created to justify the huge investments and how new value generated is distributed among critical players and investors.

CHEManager asked executives and industry experts to share their opinions on this industry transformation, which is a multi-stakeholder challenge and comprises economical, technical, societal and political aspects. We proposed to discuss the following aspects:

  • What is your strategy / timeline to become carbon neutral and what are the key challenges on the path to achieve this goal?
  • What political / regulatory mea­sures are needed to encourage companies to invest in carbon neu­tral technologies?
  • What economical / societal benefits do you expect or hope for by decarbonizing your business?
  • How do you plan to involve external stakeholders critical for achieving CO2 neutrality?


Heinz-Jürgen Bertram: We have set ambitious goals and expect not only to be carbon neutral, but to be climate positive by 2030. As interim goal, we want to reduce our CO2 emissions in terms of value added by 60% by 2025 compared to the base year of 2016. Via the CDP Supply Chain Program, we integrate suppliers into our climate strategy. By now, 89% of our main suppliers have joined, meaning Symrise has far exceeded its Science Based Target (SBT) of 80%. The key challenge is our dynamic growth. As we are growing especially in the emerging markets with rising incomes, we want to offset the impact of rising sales while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions in our value chain. In order to accomplish this, we keep pushing for energy efficiency in our production facilities.