Using sustainability principles to guide investment decisions


1. Université Libre de Bruxelles, Solvay Brussels School, Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 42, Brussels, 1050, Belgium
2. SOLVAY S.A. 310, rue de Ransbeek Brussels, 1120, Belgium


Understanding the meaning of sustainable development for any industrial company is essential, both to minimise the potential negative impact on the bottom line and to enable appropriate allocation of resources to capture opportunities in the marketplace.
Investors need then to consider sustainability as much as political stability, market growth, potential returns…
This necessity has driven the development of two in-house methodologies.
The first one, the Sustainability Portfolio Management (SPM) methodology aims at materializing and subsequently implementing strategic decisions to move to a portfolio of businesses which is balanced from a sustainability perspective.
The second one, the Solvay Sustainability Screening Sites (called S3-Site), answers the challenge of improving the long-term viability of existing industrial platforms, by assessing to what extent a given industrial site is well positioned in terms of sustainable performance and so to better define the needed investments.

Sustainability is for many years now a central aspect of Solvay strategy. Since 2002, the strategic “Hanzinelle” meetings of the Solvay group occur every two years in June. Solvay management decides what the main theme of each meeting will be and focuses on analysing and taking decisions concerning this specific theme that will significantly affect the global Solvay strategy.

  • 2002, Hanzinelle I: New enterprise organization model
  • 2004, Hanzinelle II: Growth with geographical deployment
  • 2006, Hanzinelle III: Human Capital
  • 2008, Hanzinelle IV: Sustainable Development.

Following the Hanzinelle IV meeting, the sustainable development was formally implemented in Solvay and the important decisions put in application. As a result, sustainable development became an integral part of each strategic process of the company. This includes detailed analysis and reporting, strategic planning that explicitly considers environmental objectives within the product portfolio management and a number of original frameworks.
"Resource allocation decisions in the chemical industry typically invo ...