SABIC releases 2022 Sustainability Report

01 June 2023

SABIC, a global leader in the chemicals industry, has released its 2022 Sustainability Report, highlighting the company’s continued efforts in driving sustainability through collaboration and innovation.

Titled “Sustainable Growth for a Better World,” the report details the progress SABIC made in 2022 toward key commitments, including advancing the circular economy, ensuring responsible chemicals management and increasing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosures. The report reaffirms the company’s progress toward its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, bolstered by its continued commitment to investing in innovation and circularity despite significant economic headwinds.

Abdulrahman Al-Fageeh, SABIC CEO said, “Megatrends that have been unfolding slowly are now emerging as forces of change, affecting our industry in new ways. At SABIC, our future depends on our ability to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customers and communities. Given the pace of change and the challenges in our world, we redoubled efforts to drive innovation and collaboration in 2022 in order to maximise our contributions across the wider value chain, industry and beyond.”

He added, “SABIC is undergoing a complex transformation to ensure sustainability is at the core of everything we do, from our portfolio to our people. While we see challenges on the horizon, we remain both focused on this exciting phase of sustainability ahead and confident that SABIC is well positioned to lead the industry forward.”

Innovation for growth

2022 was marked by SABIC’s continued commitment to sustainability-driven innovation to fuel growth. Its petrochemicals and agri-nutrients business tapped feedstock optimisation to increase flexibility and competitiveness, prioritising segment-driven and process innovation to enhance its growth opportunities, as well as its reliability, capabilities and cost efficiencies. In its Specialties business, technology proved pivotal to creating a competitive edge and differentiation through unique market solutions.

This approach enabled SABIC to debut a series of new offerings in 2022, including BLUEHERO™, an expanding ecosystem of materials, solutions, expertise and programmes to help improve structural battery components to accelerate the world’s energy transition to electric power and address the global challenge of climate change.

The new innovative solutions created by SABIC garnered various accolades in 2022. For the second consecutive year, the company was named a winner of the R&D 100 Award for three of its Specialties solutions. SABIC also received two silver and three bronze Edison Awards, including one for its collaboration with Microsoft to create its first consumer electronic product – the Microsoft Ocean Plastic Mouse – with an exterior shell containing 20% recycled ocean plastic.

Recognising the breadth of environmental challenges facing the industry, SABIC also scaled up its efforts to uncover breakthrough solutions by joining forces with others across the value chain. SABIC launched new collaborations, including a partnership with BASF and Linde to build the world’s first demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces. This new technology has the potential to reduce the CO2 emissions of one of the most energy-intensive production processes in the chemical industry by at least 90% by using electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas. This breakthrough solution is also being assessed to support the decarbonisation of olefin crackers under SABIC’s First Adopter Program, which charts the course for full commercial scale operation of the electrical cracking furnace at manufacturing sites within the next few years.

Other collaborations SABIC started in 2022 include a pilot project with technology company Finboot; advanced recycling pioneer Plastic Energy; and packaging specialist Intraplás. The collaboration explores the use of blockchain technology in supporting end-to-end digital traceability of circular feedstock in customer products.

Driving circularity will remain a key priority for SABIC in 2023, with plans already in motion to significantly upscale volumes of its TRUCIRCLE™ circular materials globally. Earlier this year, SABIC unveiled its new target to process one million metric tonnes of TRUCIRCLE™ circular materials annually by 2030. The company’s efforts seek to help prevent valuable used plastic from becoming waste, while giving manufacturers and customers wider access to more sustainable products, including certified circular products from advanced recycling, certified renewable products, mechanical recycled polymers, ocean bound plastic solutions and more.

Progress in the path to carbon neutrality

In line with its Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, the 2022 report also highlights progress made against SABIC’s plans to decarbonise all owned operations across five pathways – energy efficiency; renewable energy; electrification; carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS); and green/blue hydrogen.

The report affirms that SABIC continued to lower its intensity-based performance in 2022, although its absolute emissions increased by 2% compared to 2021, as a rise in production led to a proportional increase in Scope 1 emissions. However, the company is set to make major headway on projects tied to energy efficiency, renewable energy, initial electrification and CCUS in the coming years, keeping it on track to meet its interim target of a 20% reduction of absolute greenhouse emissions (Scope 1 and 2) by 2030. For example, SABIC’s polycarbonate plant in Cartagena, Spain, is set to become the world’s first large-scale chemical plant to run on 100% renewable power in 2024 and reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 70KT.

Meanwhile, the other two pathways in SABIC’s Carbon Neutrality Roadmap – electrification and green/blue hydrogen – remain essential to the company’s long-term plan to become carbon neutral by 2050.  Besides SABIC’s joint development of an electric cracking furnace the company is forging industrial strategic partnerships for hydrogen hub development and off-taker agreements.

Strengthening social impact

Even in an economically turbulent year, SABIC continued to invest in communities around the world. In 2022, the company put US$28.9M toward 124 global CSR programmes in 20 countries that benefited more than 160,000 people.

The company also garnered recognition for its human resources management, as well as its commitment to adopting the highest ESG standards and implementing a new ESG governance structure. At the Saudi Capital Market Awards 2022, SABIC picked up the Best ESG and Best Investor Relations Program awards, affirming the company’s latest efforts to build on its strong economic and environmental sustainability foundations and continued focus on increasing ESG disclosures.

SABIC has significantly widened its disclosures in recent years, particularly on matters tied to governance, as detailed in its 2022 Annual Report. Reporting on the company’s environmental footprint has also grown to encompass water withdrawal, water discharge and water consumption accounting across manufacturing sites. To advance its efforts on water further, SABIC also filled the full CDP Water Security Questionnaire for the first time in 2022, earning a robust B- rating, up from a C rating the year prior.

< Previous article

AkzoNobel launches bisphenol-free internal coating for beverage can ends

Next article >

PPG sets science-based 2030 decarbonisation targets and reports 2022 sustainability progress