Foreword by Dr. Ilham Kadri

We must create the right environment for our people, promote the right leadership capabilities, harness employees’ engagement and incentivize the right behaviors.

Dr. Ilham Kadri

Dr. Ilham Kadri

CEO and Chair of the Executive Committee



The human journey is long and ongoing. Every innovation we now take for granted was once no more than a dream. As our founder, Ernest Solvay once said: "From science, we will derive the progress of mankind."

The nature of progress is changing. More doesn’t always mean better and better doesn’t always mean better for all. We live in an interconnected world, a global ecosystem with an ever-growing population and limited resources. We face critical environmental and social challenges at a scale never seen before. We must do more than come up with new products, services, and inventions. We must do more than invent. We must reinvent.

As this research from Russell Reynolds Associates makes clear, organizations need to go beyond risk and reputational management and focus on harm reduction and value creation. To do that, leaders not only need to communicate a compelling vision with great ambition; they also need to embed sustainability and concrete actions into their strategy, operations, and leadership culture to improve drastically on climate, nature, and people. 

At Solvay we bond people, ideas, and elements to reinvent progress. We are in business to solve critical industrial, social, and environmental challenges through the power of science. Our Solvay One Planet roadmap is an integral part of our strategy. It focuses on three key areas: Climate, Resources, and a Better Life, with concrete goals and measures behind each. As part of that ambition, the Group provides solutions for the planet and society through redesigned innovation. 

We have set the goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in line with the Paris Agreement and the Science-Based Targets (SBT). In 2020 we committed to reduce our emissions by 26% until 2030, an average of 2% per year. Our commitment to Solvay ONE Planet is so strong that our short-term and long-term incentives—including mine—are tied to its success. 

We have committed to reducing the amount of fresh water we use in our manufacturing sites by 25% by 2030, which is equivalent to 30,000 Olympic swimming pools. We set a goal to more than double our sales linked to circularity and increase our sustainable solutions revenues by 2030. And to create a Better Life for our employees and our communities, we this year increased our maternity leave to 16 weeks and extended it to all co-parents regardless of gender or sexual orientation. We also launched Solvay One Dignity, our diversity, equity, and inclusion roadmap to ensure that human dignity always comes first as we thrive, prosper and last. 

As a leader, I am focused on reinventing our business. This is not only a scientific or financial challenge; it is a leadership challenge. We must create the right environment for our people to succeed, develop and promote the right leadership capabilities, harness our employees’ engagement, and incentivize the right behaviors and decisions in line with our values of respect for our people and our planet.

About the Study

The business case for sustainability is undeniable. Leaders who bridge the divides that threaten our global societies will yield significant triple-line dividends.

In a major global survey of C-suite executives, next-gen leaders, and employees, we reveal how leaders can grasp this opportunity:

  • What are the environmental, social, and economic divides that leaders should solve?
  • How ready are leaders to advance the sustainability agenda?
  • What actions should leaders take to deliver lasting value for people, planet, and profit.

The study was conducted with 9,500 employees and next-generation leaders in 11 growth and mature markets from April 16 to May 12, 2021.


Divides and Dividends

Access an unprecedented sustainable leadership study with 9,500 respondents in 11 countries and learn what actions leaders should take to deliver lasting value for people, planet and profit.