Resources & Circularity

Improving our resource efficiency

Improving our performance

By using resources more efficiently and replacing fossil-based materials with more renewable ones we are demonstrating that it’s possible to build a more circular world.

More efficient use of resources

The focus of our resource efficiency efforts are in three key areas:

  • sourcing of renewable raw materials.
  • management of the waste we generate.
  • taking good care of the water we use.

Renewable sourcing

Renewable resources are essential for securing resource availability into the future and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by putting carbon back 'in the loop'. 

That is why we are accelerating our efforts to replace fossil-based materials with regenerative, renewable (bio-based), as well as secondary (recycled) materials. In 2020, our spend on renewable raw materials increased to 15.2% from 14.7% in 2019.

Waste

Today at DSM we recycle 85% of our waste, which is in line with our ambition to recycle 80-90% in 2020. We also pay attention to reducing our total amount of process-related waste. In 2020, our total efficiency improvement on process-related waste was 6.3%.Not only that, we view waste as a valuable resource, and aim to get more value from it through improvement projects wherever possible. For example,  the waste reduction program at our manufacturing facility in Dalry (United Kingdom), where calcium was used to restore and rebuild soil profiles.

Water stewardship

Why going with the flow is no longer enough

Within 10 years, half the world’s people will be victims of water stress; suffering from insufficient quality or quantity of water. As one of our most precious natural resources, water needs to be managed responsibly – which is why we’ve stepped up our water stewardship worldwide through a series of initiatives that are tackling water stress at the local, site level. The goal: by 2030 we intend to achieve a 10% efficiency improvement on water intake in our water-stressed sites – the equivalent of supplying 10,000 households each year.

Why water?

At DSM, our purpose is to create brighter lives for all through a strategy that delivers on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), not least: SDG 6 clean water & sanitation and SDG 12 responsible consumption & production.

Water has always been an important topic for DSM – which is why we are a signatory of the CEO Water Mandate, a UN Global Compact initiative, committed to continuous progress on water management. The reason is simple: addressing this growing challenge is essential: economically, environmentally - and socially.

  • Economically
    In 2019 alone, floods cost the global economy $45.9 billion and 4,500 lives (because for many people, the challenge is too much water).
  • Environmentally
    In the past 40 years, freshwater species have decreased by 83%, largely as a result of water pollution and scarcity.
  • Socially
    Today, 1 in 3 people are forced to drink unsafe water and within 10 years some 700 million people could be forced to migrate due to water stress.

Our progress so far

Although not working in the most water-intensive sector, we are still dependent on clean, fresh water for our production and utilities around the world: for use in everything from heating and steaming; to cooling; to turning raw materials into our products; to cleaning (and of course, for drinking and washing).

Which is why we have an established process of conducting water risk assessments, covering 100% of our sites in water stressed areas, as well as those with the greatest water usage. Because every site faces its own unique water challenges based on the local environment, we decided to apply a context-based approach to tackling water stress – identifying some 39 high-risk actions at the local level. By 2020 we had solved 97% of these actions.

Having proved that better water stewardship really can make a difference, we were awarded an improved A- Water Security rating from CDP - the environmental disclosure system, regarded as the international gold standard.

Our long-term commitment

But of course, there’s more work to do. Because climate change is expected to accelerate water stress, we have decided to put even more effort into this area - which includes creating climate-related projections. As a result, we have now updated our water stress mapping of global DSM locations and identified 22 DSM sites, covering 44% of DSM's total water withdrawal (excluding once-through cooling water).

Furthermore, we have committed to a contextual water reduction target to tackle water stress at these sites:

By 2030 we intend to achieve a 10% efficiency improvement on water intake in our water-stressed sites: the equivalent of supplying 10,000 households each year or one billion liters annually.

How will we achieve this?

We’ve identified several actions and improvements that can be applied across multiple sites to make this a commitment a reality – for example, modernizing our cooling systems; re-using steam condensate from our operations; and stepping up the management of leakages. The really good news?

These improvements deliver the added benefit of reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and tackling climate change. For example, in Jiangshan (Jiangsu Province, China), the installation of a membrane filtration system, has significantly reduced the amount of steam needed.

It doesn’t end there. We will use new water treatment techniques to help us re-use and recycle the water used in production facilities; and of course, we will continue to raise awareness with DSM people on the value of water – and how to avoid wasting it.

Working with our partners

Ultimately, our approach to water stewardship is no different to the other major societal challenges we strive to tackle at DSM: we cannot do it alone.

Water is not generally a major ingredient in our products; but for our value chain partners it’s a different story. Our customers in the pharma, feed, automotive and cosmetics industries use water intensively (as does the agriculture industry - an indirect but incredibly important part of our value chain).

Which is why we will be working with these partners more closely than ever in the months and years ahead to determine how we can reduce water stress together. We all need water. Our goal is to ensure safe, available water for all.

Read more

  • Enabling a circular world

    Reduce, Replace, Extend, Enable & Recover. How we are safeguarding current and future natural resources and unlocking more value from those we use.

  • Brighter Living Solutions

    DSM’s Brighter Living Solutions are profitable products and innovations that have a measurably better impact on the planet and people.

  • Our operations

    DSM takes its global environmental and social responsibilities seriously. This goes beyond our own operations to that of our suppliers, customers, and end-users.