Sustainability at Sika: Results 2019

More Value - Less Impact

Sika takes a long-term perspective on the development of its business. Through its products, systems, and solutions, Sika seeks to generate benefits for stakeholders that outweigh the negative consequences of the production process and resource consumption. An effective strategy, trust in the company, and the dedication of all employees are the pillars of Sika’s success.

The Sika journey to global leadership is founded on the company’s entrepreneurial philosophy and the Sika Spirit, which is a synonym for the strong set of five values and principles that make up the DNA and culture of the company: customer first, courage for innovation, sustainability & integrity, empowerment & respect, and manage for results.

2019 has been a year of transition: The new Sustainability Strategy 2023 was developed and communicated together with the Sika Growth Strategy 2023 on October 3, 2019 in connection with the Capital Markets Day in Zurich. In the year under review, Sika continued to report according to the “More Value – Less Impact” KPI’s of the recent years.

Due to the size of the acquired company Parex, the integration had a substantial impact on the monitored KPI’s. The 2019 figures include the acquired Parex activities as from June 1 (seven months). The sustainability related performance of the year 2019 is going to be the baseline for the Sustainability Strategy

More Value — Less Impact Results 2019 (Overview)

Sustainable Solutions

In 2019, the focus was to work on the development of the new Sustainability Strategy 2023, which builds upon the previous strategy and sets new enhanced targets for sustainable solutions. Sika started the ongoing process of developing a Sustainable Portfolio Management (SPM) methodology, a new sustainability assessment methodology which addresses relevant sustainability indicators and which forms part of the official Sika product development process, replacing the existing framework.

The methodology will be used to assess sustainability-related risks and opportunities and performance categories of product-technology combinations in the defined market segments where Sika is active, combining both performance and sustainability into a single concept. This will lead to a deeper understanding of the sustainability performance of Sika’s product and solutions portfolio, with a focus on new developments.

Over the coming years, Sika plans to apply the concept across its product portfolios, to evaluate new product innovations and identify mitigation actions for exiting products by reference to innovation priorities, and portfolio actions, and to disclose the progress qualitatively.

On local level, the larger countries in EMEA, Americas and Asia/Pacific further developed and implemented product sustainability roadmap activities in the year under review. As a result of the regional Sustainability Academy programs in the past, the scope of the roadmap activities in the year under review could be extended.

The Sustainability Academy programs play an important role in involving additional national subsidiaries and increasing the future number of projects and activities.

Customers, as well as stricter building and construction standards, increasingly demand that companies declare the environmental performance or environmental impact of their products in a transparent manner. This calls for sound data and knowledge about the impacts of product manufacturing and application, and of the added value of finished products in their application
and use.

In 2019, as in the years before, Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) activities in European markets as well as active involvement in association work in Europe have been key activities for Sika. Sika’s existing EPD reference database for its products and systems has been expanded, focusing on locally
produced products such as cementitious mortars and floors. Providing information on the environmental performance of Sika solutions improves the customers’ basis for decision making when it comes to product selection.

With the comprehensive product portfolio and the know-how built up over the years, more and more local Sika companies are involved in projects according to international green building schemes. Such schemes include the US Green Building Council’s LEED program, the British Research Establishment’s BREEAM scheme and the German Sustainable Building Council’s DGNB program. These programs award credits for buildings incorporating products with EPDs, low VOC and odor levels, recycled content and material disclosure, amongst other criteria.

In 2019, the existing LEED product portfolio was broadened and the DGNB guidelines and associated training documents were developed to support countries in the acquisition of projects. With the increasing number of green building projects in commercial and public construction, the fact that

Sika has a product portfolio that contributes to multiple green building requirements means that it is well prepared to assist customers in selecting the best solutions.

Local Communities / Society

In 2019, Sika sponsored 148 projects (previous year: 128 projects). This equates to a year-on-year increase of 15.6%. The projects are classified as “social”, “ecological”, “scientific”, and “sports and cultural”. They relate to Community Engagement with the purpose to support local neighborhoods.


The main goals are to support communities in infrastructure development for social projects, to promote education and training for children and young adults, and to run water related and environmental projects to respond to the climate change. Sika also seeks to promote on-the-ground self-help. Sika endeavors to provide intelligent support for projects through the application of company-specific expertise, voluntary work by its employees, and long-term collaboration with partners.

Support of children and young people: Projects sponsored by Sika in the year under review include initiatives such as the continued collaboration with the non-profit organization Operation Smile in Vietnam and Thailand. Sika has supported the activities of Operation Smile in Vietnam since 2010, and in Thailand since 2014. Thanks to the assistance of committed volunteers, the organization has, since 1989, arranged surgery for some 240,000 children and youths with cleft lips and palates or similar facial disfigurements. Likewise, in 2019 Sika continued the support of children’s homes throughout the world.

Education and schooling: Another focus is to support schools. In China, Sika supports the Library Project, a nationwide initiative to sponsor libraries in public schools. Between 2015 and 2019 the Sika team helped to create reading rooms and corners in 86 schools, donating more than 70,000 books and providing comfortable and safer learning environments for more than 18,000 children. In 2019, Sika also continued its support of a new school for girls and young women in Madagascar. Sika Tanzania is supporting “ProjeKt Inspire”, a youth-related initiative, aimed at opening career options to younger generations. 

Improving the lives of people with disabilities: In the year under review, Sika increased its engagement for improving the lives of people with physical or intellectual disabilities. In 2019, for example, the team from Sika Spain organized a volunteering program which focuses on improving the living conditions of people with intellectual disabilities and on unemployment aid. Furthermore, at Sika’s facility in Gournay-en-Bray, France, a partnership with the local governmental initiative “ESAT” (“Centre d’Aide par le Travail”) supports the professional reinsertion of disabled people. Sika aims to vigorously support volunteering work in relation to social activities and personal development. In the year under review, 75 Sika employees in Switzerland were participating at two community projects in Zurich covering biodiversity and waste management. Volunteering work was carried out by Sika teams in all regions.


The focus of Sika’s environmental engagement is on water, building, infrastructure, and renewable energy projects. The main sponsorship partner in this field is the Global Nature Fund (GNF). Sika has supported the GNF and its international Living Lakes environmental program since 2004. Made up of over 100 partner organizations from various lake regions across the globe, the Living Lakes network aims to promote sustainable development and the protection of drinking water, lakes, and wetlands.

In 2019, Sika sponsored projects to ensure drinking water in Africa. Furthermore, community development projects were planned and implemented in Colombia and India. The construction of a social center for women is an example of a communitarian participation process and serves as a catalyst for the empowerment of women in rural areas of Colombia. In India the focus of the project was to enable farmers to establish organic horticulture.


As project sponsor, Sika engages in the cooperation with the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich), the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), the ESPCI ParisTech (School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry of the City of Paris, France), the University of Burgundy (France), Princeton University (USA), the Beijing University of Chemical Technology (PRC), the University of Tokyo (Japan), and similar institutions across the globe. Sika’s local subsidiaries cooperate with research institutes and provide mutual support. Further cooperations are described in the chapter, “Products & Innovations”, pp. 30. 2019 was the tenth year in which the Sika Master Award was presented to the authors of three outstanding master thesis in the field of civil engineering, based on the recommendation of ETH’s Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering. Sika also participates in ETH Zurich’s Partnership Council of Sustainable Construction. This interdisciplinary forum promotes dialog on current research topics, provides resources, supports knowledge transfer, and encourages the launch of joint research projects in the field of sustainable construction.


Sika supports sports and cultural projects throughout the world. In the year under review, the focus of sponsorship in Switzerland has been on the EV Zug ice hockey club and on the support of the organization of the Federal Swiss Wrestling & Alpine Festival in Zug, Switzerland. During three days in August, an audience of 420,000 watched around 200 wrestlers from all over Switzerland battling it out for the crown and wreath.


Due to the lower energy intensity of the acquired Parex company, energy consumption per ton sold has further decreased in the year under review. Energy consumption per ton sold was 363 megajoules (previous year: 424 megajoules), which leads to a reduction of 14.4% compared to the previous year.

Sika continued to replace lighting solutions with the latest LED technology. This technology has led to substantial energy savings of up to 70% of total lighting electricity consumption in those locations where the technology was implemented. Furthermore, shorter batch time in production led to a higher output of existing production lines, resulting in increased energy efficiency. The replacement of technical equipment focuses on new energy-efficient installations, such as motors, air conditioning, heating/cooling, and pressurized air systems. Further activities encompass energy-efficient operation of electric motors with frequency converter, leakage detection and fixation of air losses in pressurized air systems, and energy-efficient cooling of process water with use of cooling tower and optimized logistics.

The modernization of the vehicle fleet also resulted in fuel reduction. Energy audits and participation at energy networks promoted energy awareness throughout the company. A particular focus has been set on sand drying. A process optimization guideline was set up in 2019, which will be used on a global scale starting in 2020, this will lead up to 30% energy savings.  

CO2 Emissions

According to the latest conversion factors published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), total CO2 emissions caused by purchased electricity in 2019 summed up to 243,000 tons (Scope 1, 2 and 3). Compared to 2018 (191,000 tons) this result is significantly higher due to the size of the acquired Parex company and other acquisitions which were integrated in the reporting for the first time (Index, King Packaged Materials, Faist). The integration had a substantial positive impact on CO2 emissions per ton sold, which decreased from 31 kg CO2 per ton sold (2018) to 27 kg CO2 per ton sold in 2019.

CO2 EMISSIONS (DIRECT): CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels by all Sika companies, and by its own vehicles, are calculated based on the reported fuel quantities. In 2019, CO2 emissions from the use of primary energy sources amounted to approximately 88,000 tons (previous year: 48,000).

CO2 EMISSIONS (INDIRECT): CO2 emissions from electricity consumption and leased vehicles, as well as business travel, are derived from the reported energy quantities. In 2019, CO2 emissions caused by electricity consumption amounted to 124,000 tons (previous year: 109,000 tons). Leased vehicles and business travel caused additional CO2 emissions of 16,000 tons and 15,000 tons respectively (previous year: 20,000 tons and 14,000 tons).

Water & Waste

In 2019, Sika used approximately 2.7 million cubic meters of water (previous year: 1.8 million cubic meters). The water consumption per ton sold was around 0.34 cubic meters (previous year: 0.39 cubic meters). This decrease is mainly caused by acquisitions processed in 2018 and 2019, which were taken into account in 2019. Sika aims to boost the sustainability performance of its production sites by reducing water consumption and treating water locally. The company implements measures to reduce consumption, or to re-use water, particularly in geographic regions where water is scarce. Efficient production means closed-loop cooling, and switching from public to surface and ground water, reducing the amount of drinking water used in production. By reusing wastewater, Sika aims to reduce its water consumption on a larger scale.


With an increased production volume, the company generated some 112,000 tons of waste (previous year: 84,000 tons). This corresponds to 14.1 kilograms of waste per ton sold (previous year: 18.1 kilograms per ton sold), or a decrease of 22.0%. Overall, Sika could reduce the amount of waste per ton sold by putting in place activities such as the optimization of the production planning, streamlining the production process layout, and the reuse of production waste.

In addition, water from cleaning processes (tanks, bulk delivery trucks, and gas scrubbers) was reused. Furthermore, filter dust from dosing and bagging stations was recycled into similar products in mortar production. Innovative warehouse management was also put in place to reduce the quantity of expired products. With regards to circular economy initiatives, Sika has been working on a project to recycle waste from polyurethane adhesive to be used as raw material in membrane production.

Occupational Health & Safety

Sika’s goal is to ensure every employee feels comfortable and protected in the workplace. The number of occupational accidents (lost working days >1) decreased by 8.2% in 2019 compared to 2018. In the year under review, 9.55 occupational accidents per 1,000 employees were recorded (previous year: 10.4).

In 2019, injuries caused absences, on average, of 21.5 days (previous year: 18.4 days). There has been one fatality on the premises of an acquired Sika company. The increase in total number of lost days due to injuries mainly can be explained by the figures from acquisitions. In 2019, Sika has established and strengthened the regional and area EHS structure by identifying reference Sika EHS Managers.

A further measure has been the planning of a worldwide occupational safety program that will be launched in 2020.