Innovations play a key role in aligning Evonik consistently with sustainability. They are also important to leverage sustained growth. In 2021, Evonik’s innovation growth fields generated more than €500 million in additional sales compared with 2015, for example, with sustainable solutions for health, cosmetics, and membranes. That was an increase of a good 40 percent compared with the previous year. Technologies enabling the transportation of medical active ingredients in the body, for example, lipid nanoparticles for mRNA-based vaccines, were particularly successful.
Harald Schwager, deputy chairman of Evonik’s executive board, who is responsible for innovation: “Our innovative capability is a key factor in leveraging profitable and resource-efficient growth.” The good development of our innovation growth fields is clear evidence of this. Our research pays off: Innovations give us access to additional new business.” In the ten-year period to 2025, Evonik aims to generate additional sales of over €1 billion with its innovation growth fields. “I am firmly convinced that we will achieve this goal.”
Schwager wants the success story of the innovation growth fields to continue beyond 2025. “Climate change, population growth, and geopolitical uncertainty are confronting humankind with new and in some cases, unprecedented challenges,” he says. Evonik has therefore refocused Creavis as a strategic innovation unit and business incubator. It develops innovations for key issues of the future—for a hydrogen economy and circularity, efficient and environment-friendly agriculture, and knowledge and data-based business models. Schwager: “The new growth areas at Creavis could develop into innovation growth fields with comparable sales potential.”
Evonik research and development expenses amounted to €464 million in in 2021. The majority is spent on research in the chemical production divisions, with a smaller amount being channeled to Creavis. Relative to sales, the R&D ratio was more than 3 percent in 2021. Worldwide, the Evonik Group has around 2,600 R&D employees.
Evonik’s new chief innovation officer, Ralph Marquardt, aims to strengthen the company’s innovative strength even further in the future. Marquardt, who has a doctorate in chemistry and joined Evonik in 2006, has acquired the necessary experience, for example, through leadership roles in various business areas. Sustainability is his central focus. He is convinced that as a specialty chemicals company Evonik can make a big contribution to a livable future. “Our innovations are essential if we, as a society, want to curb climate change, avoid the use of fossil raw materials, and feed the growing world population,” he says.
In May, Evonik announced that it will be investing more than €3 billion in Next Generation Solutions, in other words, products with superior sustainability benefits, in the period up to 2030. The goal is for them to account for more than 50 percent of sales. In the same period, a further €700 million will be invested in Next Generation Technologies, i.e., the ongoing development of production processes and infrastructure to avoid CO2 emissions. Innovations will be needed to meet the sustainability targets associated with this billion-euro investment program.
By Evonik, Press Release
Craig Arnold is currently the Chief Commercial Officer at Ferroglobe PLC in Madrid, Spain. Prior to this appointment, he had a long-standing career at Dow Inc., where he held various senior management roles, including an Executive Secondment (from Dow Inc.) and Advisor to the CEO at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) in Singapore.
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