Best Sustainable Finance Solution Highly Commended: Solvay

Published: Jul 2019

Photo of Anne Lenaerts, Solvay and Meg Coates.

Photo of Anne Lenaerts, Solvay and Meg Coates.

Anne Lenaerts

Treasurer, Funding Officer


Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Its lightweight materials promote cleaner mobility, its formulations optimise the use of resources, and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality.

€2bn revolving credit facility helps Solvay’s five Sustainable Development Goals by 2025

The challenge

In September 2018 the company announced a commitment to cut greenhouse gases from its own operations by one million tonnes by 2025 relative to 2017 levels, thereby decoupling for the first time its new targets from its earnings growth. The Group intends to achieve this reduction by further improving energy efficiency, energy mix and by investing in clean technologies.

The solution

In January 2019, using a syndicate of nine banks, Solvay announced that it had agreed new terms for an existing €2bn revolving credit facility, linking the cost of credit to a reduction in greenhouse gases.

The banks which participated in the revolving credit facility were BNP Paribas Fortis, Citi, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, HSBC, ING, J.P. Morgan, KBC Bank and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

The revolving credit facility is intended for general business purposes and matures in 2023, with the possibility to extend it to 2024.

“We seek to integrate sustainability into all key aspects of our business, including financing. Associating Solvay’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target to the cost of credit is a logical step. The successful teaming up with our banks shows that the way towards more sustainability is a collective effort.”

Ilham Kadri, CEO, Solvay

Best practice and innovation

For the first time, Solvay has linked the cost of the €2bn revolving credit facility to its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction commitments in absolute terms; all part of the company’s sustainable development goals by 2025:

  • Contributing to society.

    • Involve employees in societal actions.

  • Innovating through sustainable solutions.

    • Increase of sustainable solutions.

  • Acting responsibly.

    • Reduce the number of accidents.

    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    • Increase people engagement.

Key benefits

  • Integrating sustainability across all key aspects of the business, including financing, translates into the logical step of associating Solvay’s ambitious greenhouse gas emissions target to the cost of credit.

  • The successful teaming up, both internally (treasury, sustainable development and legal) and externally with partnering banks, demonstrates collaborative effort is the way towards more sustainability.

  • Solvay’s banking partners acknowledge the merit of this positive incentive, reflecting Solvay’s ambitious objective of enhancing its bottom line as the company delivers on reducing its greenhouse gases emissions.

“For the first time Solvay has committed to cut greenhouse gases from its operations by one million tonnes by 2025 relative to 2017 levels, thereby decoupling the new targets from earnings growth. The Positive Incentive Scheme reflects clearly the support of Solvay’s banking partners who acknowledge Solvay’s efforts while enhancing the Group’s bottom line. This successful venture towards more sustainability is the result of a truly collective effort between Solvay’s treasury, sustainable development and legal teams in close collaboration with partnering banks,” concluded Anne Lenaerts, Treasurer, Funding Officer, Solvay.

“We are proud of this achievement and we intend to continue to invest actively in sustainable development.”

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