Covestro Group at a Glance


Purpose and Vision

Advancing climate change, the growing global population, increasing urbanization, and new forms of mobility are enormous global challenges. Covestro faces these challenges, thus bringing together economic success and sustainability. The goal is to realize Covestro’s purpose: “to make the world a brighter place.”

Our aim is to provide solutions to global challenges with our high-performance polymer materials. In pursuing it, we rely on technologies that reduce energy usage and emissions in our production processes. The products and solutions we develop are replacing traditional materials such as glass and metal, which are manufactured less sustainably or have a less sustainable life cycle. We are convinced that our long-term strategy of pursuing a will bring us closer to achieving our purpose.

Building on our purpose, the implementation of our vision is the foundation of our Group strategy: We will be fully circular. This vision sets a clear direction for our company’s future development.

Purpose, vision, and strategy

Purpose, Vision, and Strategy (graphic)

Our corporate values and corporate culture as embodied by our employees are major factors in putting our purpose, vision, and strategy into action.

Group Strategy

Strategic Goals and Activities

Our overarching goals derived from our purpose and our vision set the course for our Group’s Sustainable Future strategy. This incorporates the changing external and internal dynamics, such as shifts in climate policy, in markets, and in digital transformation, and reflects the new influence of our vision. Our Group strategy comprises three strategic chapters: We want to “Become the best of who we are,” while we “Drive sustainable growth,” and “Become fully circular.” Our strategy is based on a solid foundation; its implementation is being enabled by the acceleration of Covestro’s digital transformation and expansion of our “We Are 1” culture.

The Group’s Sustainable Future strategy

The Group’s Sustainable Future strategy (graphic)

“Become the Best of Who We Are”

“Become the best of who we are” is the first strategic chapter to transform our company in the best possible way to exploit its full potential, thus creating the basis for sustainable and profitable growth. The first strategic chapter is driven by a clear understanding of our business: We deliver a broad portfolio of standard and specialty products and, at the same time, stand out with our strong innovation, research, and development capability. We want to focus even more on the factors that make our core business a success.

Our customers are our top priority in this process. We optimize processes that make our customers successful, improve workflows within our organization, and concentrate entirely on the needs of our customers. Depending on each customer’s focus, we deliver high-quality standard products fast, or assist our customers with our technical expertise in improving or developing (specialty) products.

Last year, we launched the LEAP global transformation program to implement the first strategic chapter. This program realigns structures, processes, and control mechanisms to position our company to the best extent possible. The measures under the transformation program began in fiscal 2021 and implementation will be completed by the end of the year 2023. As of July 1, 2021, we restructured our organization, workflows, and responsibilities. This includes structuring our business into standard products on the one hand and specialty products on the other. Furthermore, the program aims to bundle central aspects of certain areas of competence across the company, with the primary objective of profitably furthering our business with a view to sustainability and the circular economy.

Another important core element of the first strategic chapter is the Customer Centricity concept, with which we intend to focus even more on the needs of our customers. At Covestro, Customer Centricity is based on three pillars: 

  • Knowing the Customer: We need to know our customers so well that we understand exactly what added value we can provide for their business activities.
  • Thinking Customer First: Every single function in our organization must be focused on what our customers need.
  • Co-Creating Customer Value: We must join forces with our customers to create added-value in the marketplace.

“Drive Sustainable Growth”

“Driving sustainable growth” – and therefore bringing together sustainability and economic success – is part of the second strategic chapter of our Group strategy. To ensure that our portfolio is fit for the future, we intend to invest in market segments that are attractive and sustainable for the long term. In the future, we will orient all activities that promote organic and inorganic growth, i.e., investments, acquisitions, research and development (R&D) activities, and our strategic venture capital initiative (Covestro Venture Capital, COVeC), even more strongly toward sustainability.

The most important elements for driving this development include managing and steering the product portfolio toward greater sustainability and circularity. Covestro is building a future-proof, innovative, and sustainable product portfolio using the Product Sustainability Assessment (PSA) based on the methodology developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). This process entails identifying changes in the regulatory and market environment early on with the help of the PSA and considering these as part of the decision-making processes and the Group’s strategy. Covestro conducted a pilot project for this purpose in the reporting year and is currently reviewing the PSA methodology, for example, to integrate circularity into the system. The majority of our new products are already aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (). In the interest of accelerating the development of our circular product portfolio, we decided in the reporting year to allocate a significant portion of our investment budget to projects in this area in the future. We plan to devote up to €1 billion of our capital expenditure over the next 10 years to projects promoting a circular economy.

In order to generate value with the capital invested, we are analyzing and managing our investment portfolio according to profitability and sustainability criteria. We support investment projects with a (ROCE) above certain thresholds that generate the lowest possible greenhouse gas emissions or even bring about a reduction.

We plan to build plants faster and more cost-effectively in future to increase the efficient use of our investment capital without sacrificing the reliability or safety of our facilities. For this reason, we will expand our global network of partners specializing in plant construction, equipment, and services; optimize in-house processes and the use of resources; and increasingly apply a blueprint approach – i.e., we want to use completed construction projects as a template for future projects.

With the acquisition of the Resins & Functional Materials (RFM) business of Koninklijke DSM N.V., Heerlen (Netherlands), in fiscal 2021, Covestro is expanding its sustainable business units to implement its long-term strategy. The acquisition and integration of RFM makes Covestro one of the world’s leading suppliers of sustainable coating resins.

“Become Fully Circular”

The third strategic chapter comprises measures to allow Covestro to “become fully circular.” As part of that, we intend to accelerate transformation to a climate-neutral and resource-conserving economy. We see this orientation as an opportunity for Covestro to add solutions to global challenges – our circular products – along the entire value chain. Implementation of the third strategic chapter, and thus our vision, is driven by our global strategy program “Circular Economy.” This program has consolidated and driven the implementation of circular economy activities at Covestro in a comprehensive global structure since fiscal 2019. In addition to management of the implementation of activities aimed at achieving a , the program covers strategic issues such as alternative raw materials, marketing products based on these raw materials, and using recycling to develop sources for raw materials. Moreover, Covestro launched a global climate program in the reporting year, which aims to coordinate the transformation of production facilities to achieve climate neutrality.

Limited natural resources and advancing climate change are two key arguments for driving circular economy. Our activities aim to close material and carbon loops, and thus achieve climate neutrality and reduce the use of resources in the company itself, and in upstream and downstream stages of the value chain. Our goal is clear: In the future, we want to produce 100% of our products from alternative raw materials. Eventually, we aim to produce polymers without using fossil-based raw materials like crude oil. By realigning our production processes, we will be able to use raw materials, for example, derived from sustainable biomass, CO2 or recycled materials, or obtained using green hydrogen from electrolysis. In the reporting year, we purchased circular raw materials totaling over 20,000 t and incorporated them into our production processes.

Completely climate-neutral production processes also require a rigorous stepwise transition of the electricity supply to renewable energies at competitive prices while maintaining a secure supply. In the future, we aim to obtain 100% of the electricity required by all of our sites from renewable sources of energy. We are pursuing this goal by arranging long-term supply contracts for electricity from renewable energy sources, such as the one at our Antwerp (Belgium) site.

We also want to drive the circular economy by developing and using innovative recycling options. In this context, we consider chemical recycling particularly promising as an effective tool for reclaiming considerable quantities of feedstocks for reuse. It is suitable primarily for materials and waste that cannot be mechanically recycled due to their properties or when the recycling process must produce like-new materials.

We are aware that shifting our production activities and our product portfolio to circular economy is a major, long-term undertaking that we cannot accomplish alone. For this reason, we will increasingly work on establishing collaborative partnerships and networks with our customers, suppliers, research institutes, and other solution providers throughout the value cycle.

Digitalization and Corporate Culture

Our Sustainable Future strategy rests on a solid foundation, with digitalization and our “We Are 1” corporate culture as key elements. We are focused on tackling digital transformation and the associated opportunities by implementing an extensive range of measures along the entire value chain, in the corporate functions, and at all points of contact with our customers. This involves Covestro promoting the use of digital technologies and leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence. At the same time, Covestro encourages an open climate at work that spurs employees to question existing concepts and develop new approaches for our business.

The digital transformation of our business aims to generate competitive advantages for Covestro. This includes expanding our digital R&D activities and collaborations with major corporations such as Google. Insights provided by data science additionally support the divisions in profitably deploying algorithms and machine learning. A team of specialists drive the development and implementation of our digital products and business models.

We have embedded our “We Are 1” corporate culture firmly in our company to fully leverage internal potential and meet our corporate goals. The key here is our employees who bring this culture to life. We work consistently on developing our culture and simplifying implementation by deriving specific measures from our four cultural dimensions.

Segment Strategy

Performance Materials Segment Strategy

The Performance Materials segment comprises mainly polyurethanes and polycarbonates product groups. The segment’s standardized products are sold to outside customers and used by the Solutions & Specialties segment. The Performance Materials segment exclusively manufactures standardized products, aiming mainly to increase efficiency through cost management as well as process innovations.

In the years to come, demand for polyurethanes is expected to grow sharply. We manufacture the required precursors for flexible and rigid foams. Strategically important sectors include the construction industry and the furniture industry, where we already occupy a strong position. We intend to grow with the market in both industries. Worldwide efforts toward meeting the SDGs are also reflected in the short- and long-term demand for our products. For instance, growing calls for energy-efficient living space are expected to increase long-term demand for particularly effective insulation solutions in the construction industry.

The market for standardized polycarbonates is anticipated to grow only minimally in the coming years because of a lack of impetus for increased demand from sectors such as the construction and consumer goods industries. In the future, the majority of our polycarbonate volume will be passed on to the Solutions & Specialties segment for further processing and sale in high-growth markets.

The Performance Materials segment is home to most of our production facilities, and as such, is key to implementing our circularity strategy. The focus here is on steps such as continually optimizing our production facilities, procuring alternative raw materials, and developing sustainable product solutions, e.g., for (MDI) and toluylene diisocyanate (). The use of alternative raw materials enables us to produce these diisocyanates with a smaller carbon footprint, which is demonstrated and certified by way of mass balancing and the ISCC PLUS certification for end products.

Many of the precursors produced by the Performance Materials segment are further processed in the Solutions & Specialties segment or sold with additional, customer-focused services. Intersegment transactions are conducted at arm’s length and reported separately as intersegment sales.

Solutions & Specialties Segment Strategy

The Solutions & Specialties segment covers a broad range of specialty products and customer-specific solutions in the following business entities: specialty polycarbonates (Engineering Plastics), precursors for coatings and adhesives (Coatings & Adhesives), polyurethane specialties and solutions (Tailored Urethanes), Thermoplastic Polyurethane, high-quality films (Specialty Films), and specialty elastomers (Elastomers). Covestro projects above-average growth in this area, above all in the Engineering Plastics and Specialty Films business entities.

We continually update our product portfolio to generate further growth in the Solutions & Specialties segment with a particular focus on sophisticated solutions for which there is strong demand in promising applications. These include smart homes, medical technology, holography, and materials for electric vehicles and wind turbines.

The continual development of innovative products and applications with significant customer benefit is therefore a core element of the segment’s strategy. Other crucial factors for the success of our growth strategy in this segment are the respect and appreciation of our customers for our strong technological competence, standing apart from the competition based on our global leadership in consulting on application technology and carrying out complicated projects for customers, our expertise in chemical formulations and compounding, the efficient expansion of our capacities, customer-focused product development, and the continual improvement of our customer-centric pull supply chain.

Circular economy
A regenerative economic system in which resource input, waste production, emissions, and energy consumption are minimized based on long-lasting and closed material and energy cycles.
The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were ratified by all UN member states and entered into force on January 1, 2016. Their objective is to combat global poverty, protect the planet, and secure peace and prosperity for all.
ROCE/return on capital employed
Ratio of operating result after imputed income taxes to the capital employed
Circular economy
A regenerative economic system in which resource input, waste production, emissions, and energy consumption are minimized based on long-lasting and closed material and energy cycles.
MDI/diphenylmethane diisocyanate
A chemical compound from the class of aromatic isocyanates, primarily used in polyurethane foams
TDI/toluylene diisocyanate
A chemical compound from the class of aromatic isocyanates, primarily used in polyurethane foams and coating systems