DSM Integrated Annual Report 2021

Progress in Sustainability: People and Planet

At DSM, sustainability is not only our core value and a key responsibility; it is also a key business driver that is fully engrained in our purpose, strategy, business and operations. Our approach for bringing about positive change is to improve, enable and advocate. The below table provides an overview of our progress in terms of our key sustainability metrics:

Progress in Sustainability: People and Planet (graphic)
1 These data are subject to the Non-financial reporting policy.
2 Strengthened to 50% by 2030 in 2021.
3 We estimate that the effect of the underlying cumulative structural improvements in absolute GHG emissions was approximately 23% in 2020, versus the 2016 baseline. The total cumulative absolute reduction was 27%, versus the 2016 baseline.
4 Survey of payroll employees in October 2021, excluding recent acquisitions and divestments.
5 Strengthened from <0.25 in 2021.
6 A new methodology, providing improved transparency and granularity while ensuring reporting against new and future requirements of regulatory authorities will be applied as of January 2022 and will be provided at the publication of the half year results of 2022.
7 For a small percentage of sales (<0.7% of sales) classified as Brighter Living Solutions, the environmental impact is considered ‘best in class’ together with other solutions.

We have leading positions in important ESG indices for investors: we hold a platinum sustainability medal from EcoVadis putting us in the top 1% of our industry, we are ranked among the leaders in our industry by Sustainalytics, have an AAA rating from MSCI, have Prime Status with ISS-ESG, and have a leading position in the rankings of Moody’s ESG (formerly Vigeo Eiris).


On Planet, we accelerated our Science Based Target for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction (scope 1 + 2) from 30% to 50% by 2030 versus baseline 2016. This step-up provides a firm foundation for DSM to achieve net-zero by 2050. Furthermore, we improved the environmental impact of our own operation and remained well on track in terms of our GHG reduction, energy efficiency and purchased renewable electricity targets in 2021.

  • The underlying structural improvement in absolute greenhouse gas reduction from operations in 2021 compared to the 2016 baseline is ~23%, versus our target of 50% by 2030
  • Energy efficiency has improved by 6% compared to full year 2020 versus our >1% average annual ambition.
  • 72% of purchased electricity came from renewable resources compared with 60% in 2020, firmly on course to achieve our interim target of 75% by 2030 in the pursuit of 100%

This progress supports our commitment to a long-term pathway to work toward net-zero GHG emissions across our operations and value chains by 2050. We doubled our internal carbon price from €50 to €100 per ton of CO2eq and signed an additional power purchase agreement whereby all our electricity needs in the US became 100% renewable in 2021. We received a double A rating on our Climate strategy and Water stewardship by CDP, the global non-profit environmental disclosure platform.

We enabled our customers to deliver more sustainable solutions to their (end) consumers Our purpose-led innovation pipeline is fully aligned with our five focus SDGs.

More about our environmental performance can be found in the Planet section.


Our People showed remarkable resilience as we continued to adapt our ways of working to the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances either by supporting remote and hybrid working or by establishing safe working environments in our laboratories and plants. In terms of safety we can be pleased with an improvement in the Frequency Index of DSM Recordable Injuries to 0.22 from 0.24 in 2020, achieving our target level of less than 0.24. We continue to act on our ambition to make our company fully incident- and injury-free. It was also encouraging to see that in such an eventful year, overall employee engagement remained at the high level of 76% and many associated indicators in the Employee Engagement Survey saw an increase. Looking at Inclusion & Diversity, the Executive Committee is now 40% female, the Management Board and Supervisory Board are 50% female, and progress was made on improving the representation of women (23% female executives) and under-represented nationalities at executive level (31%). We developed new ambitious Inclusion and Diversity commitments for the period 2022–2025. More information can be found in the People section.

Brighter Living Solutions

In 2021, 64% of our net sales, including the sales of our discontinued operations, came from products that have a better environmental (ECO+) and/or social (People+) impact than mainstream solutions. We call these our Brighter Living Solutions (BLS). Discontinued operations were included until divestment date, and their exclusion negatively impacts the overall KPI. Positive impact came from the assessment of our newly acquired HMO portfolio, and new significant assessments in our Nutrition business.

The new name for the Carbon Disclosure Project
Carbon price
The price that is paid to emit one ton CO2eq into the atmosphere. DSM implements an internal carbon price of €100/t CO2eq.
Frequency Index (FI)
The Frequency Index is a way to measure safety performance. The number of accidents of a particular category per 100 employees per year. DSM reports frequency indexes in the areas of Lost Workday Cases, Process Safety Incidents and Recordable injuries.
Greenhouse gas
Renewable resource
A natural resource which is replenished by natural processes at a rate comparable to, or faster than, its rate of consumption by humans or other users. The term covers perpetual resources such as solar radiation, tides, winds and hydroelectricity as well as fuels derived from organic matter (bio-based fuels).