Annual Report 2023

Environmental Impact of Own Operations

Strategy and Governance

It goes without saying that, in line with our commitment to sustainable development, we always keep an eye on the environmental impact of our own operations. In accordance with our vision of becoming fully circular and our “Sustainable Future” strategy, we try to close material cycles and reduce our impact on the environment and society.

Our Group-wide risk management addresses relevant opportunities and risks in connection with the environmental impact of our operations. In addition, the environmental impacts associated with our business activities are an integral part of our integrated Health, Safety, Environment, Energy and Quality (HSEQ) management system. Responsibility for this has been assigned to the head of the corporate Group Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) function, who assesses the environmental management process annually with the Chief Technology Officer (CTO). This ensures that our overall impact on the environment and society is kept to a minimum.

Policies and Actions

Our corporate Health, Safety, Environment and Energy, and Quality (HSEQ) policy commits us to work continuously on reducing environmental impacts resulting from our activities, products, and services. This ensures that resource-conserving processes help to protect the environment and cut costs. Additionally, all of our plants are subject to permits that define minimum requirements for the operation of the plants in line with local legislation. Nevertheless, unintended releases may impact human health and the environment. The sites are responsible for compliance with the thresholds and must take measures to ensure that impacts on the environment and society remain within permissible limits.

Covestro supports initiatives such as Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), which aims to prevent plastic particles from entering waterways and oceans. We have introduced global measures to minimize the loss of plastic pellets on the way from production to the finished product at our customers’ locations.


We record our emissions into the air and water for all consolidated companies. Since these metrics are calculated only at the end of the year, they include the group of companies consolidated as it stands at year-end. In this process, we incorporate data from all environmentally relevant Covestro sites, i.e., all production sites and relevant administrative sites. The sites also use this data to fulfill their official reporting obligations. In order to comply with publication deadlines, the sites estimate the environmental data for the final weeks of the current fiscal year on the basis of established estimation methodologies that ensure accurate reporting of data as close as possible to the actual figures for the year. If, however, in the course of the following year, we become aware of material deviations based on internally defined thresholds, the figures in question are corrected retroactively. This was not required in fiscal 2023 for the preceding fiscal year 2022.

Emissions into Air

In addition to GHGs, Covestro’s business activities result in other emissions into the air.

These other emissions into the air stem mainly from burning fossil fuels in order to generate electricity and steam. Emissions into the air are also recorded and analyzed as part of determining the Group’s environmental impact.

Other important direct air emissions













1,000 metric tons p.a.


1,000 metric tons p.a.
















Particulate matter
















Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC).


Ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

Emissions into Water

Our goal is to minimize emissions into water that depend largely on our production volumes and the current product portfolio, as much as possible.

Emissions into water













1,000 metric tons p.a.


1,000 metric tons p.a.
















Heavy metals





Inorganic salts






Chemical oxygen demand (COD), calculated based on total organic carbon (TOC) values: 1.53 (TOC × 3 = COD).

Since the year 2021, Covestro has been involved in the collaborative “RIKovery” project, which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and drives salt water recycling activities. Over the three-year project term, Covestro is working with additional industrial, plant engineering, and research partners to achieve goals including taking the next technological step to increase the circular usage of process wastewater. The goal is to further increase concentrations and reduce the amount of energy required so that even more salt and water can be recovered. The process was successfully piloted at the Leverkusen (Germany) site in the year 2023. The design of an industrial-scale plant and a financial assessment of the technical and environmental aspects are currently under way to allow us to evaluate the technology’s potential in the overall context.

HSEQ/Health, Safety, Environment, Energy, and Quality
A commonly used abbreviation for health, safety, environment, energy, and quality.

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