Locations / Sites

Sustainability Management

Goals for 2022

  • Launch Group Strategy 2030 with sustainability at its core
  • Engage the Borealis organisation in the roll-out of the Group Strategy 2030 with specific focus on sustainability
  • Elevate sustainability on the Group’s agenda by setting up the organisation appropriately
  • Assess alignment with the EU Taxonomy and establish the required competence
  • Establish a central competence centre for life cycle analysis (LCA)

Key Achievements of 2022

  • Group Strategy 2030 approved by Borealis Executive and Supervisory Boards and published in June 2022, including ambitious targets on emission reductions and stepping up the circular economy
  • Conducted internal conferences with Borealis leaders to engage on the strategy roll-out, followed by division and business unit/function specific workshops
  • Carved out the Sustainability & Public Affairs team from Strategy & Group Development, with the team reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer from 1 January 2022
  • Assessed Borealis’ key activities against the EU Taxonomy criteria and created an EU Taxonomy Project Manager role, to build up competence and embed the requirements in Borealis’ processes where needed
  • Established the role of LCA Expert, to harmonise and coordinate LCAs and ensure continuous improvement of the methodologies applied


Borealis is committed to building a prosperous and sustainable future for all, by placing sustainability at the core of everything it does. This is expressed clearly in the Group’s purpose statement “Re-inventing Essentials for Sustainable Living”, a spirit shared across the OMV Group of companies.

Improving Borealis’ sustainability performance will enable the Group to achieve its purpose, while at the same time ensuring growth and building on Borealis’ robust foundations of safety, people and culture, innovation and technology, and performance excellence.

In 2022, Borealis launched its new Group Strategy 2030 with sustainability at its core, and set ambitious targets for reducing its impact on climate change, transforming towards a circular business, and continuously enhancing its health and safety performance.


Sustainability is an integral part of the Borealis Group Strategy and the OMV Group Strategy. The Borealis Executive Board is Borealis’ highest governance body for sustainability. The Executive Board has delegated the routine management of social, environmental and economic issues to senior leaders in their respective functions and business divisions.

The Borealis Sustainability Function is led by the Director Sustainability & Public Affairs, who reports directly to the CEO. The Function leads the development of the Group’s Sustainability Strategy, and supports Borealis’ leaders with developing sustainability-driven roadmaps and activities and implementing them through capability building, expertise, consultancy and dedicated methodologies and tools. For key topics, such as energy and climate or microplastics, the Group has established committees or issue teams.

Each Group function reports on sustainability issues to the respective Executive Board member, including reporting on progress with activity implementation and related targets, seeking approval of budget and activity plans, as well as reporting key concerns, risks and opportunities.

For more details, please refer to the full Combined Annual Report 2022.

Stakeholder Engagement

As a responsible company that aims to lead the transformation towards circularity and climate neutrality, it is essential for Borealis to create a constructive and respectful dialogue with internal and external stakeholders. Only by doing so will Borealis achieve its vision and succeed in implementing its Group Strategy 2030, including its related sustainability goals.

Borealis therefore places great importance on regular exchanges with stakeholders, to learn about their views and concerns, listen to their expectations of Borealis, and communicate about the Group’s activities in a transparent and informed manner. This helps Borealis to mitigate potential risks or leverage opportunities for co-operation in a timely way and to reflect the insights in the Group’s materiality assessment.

Results from the Materiality Assessment 2019

Borealis’ business activities and sustainability issues involve a diverse and complex range of stakeholders at a global, national and regional level, with different interests and concerns. The Group therefore uses a broad range of engagement channels, driven by Borealis’ respective functional departments.

Mapping and prioritising Borealis’ stakeholders is a continuous and dynamic process. Borealis regularly runs stakeholder mapping and related issue, risk and opportunity assessments at Group level and at all of its major locations. The Borealis Management System details the processes for the Group’s materiality and stakeholder assessments and its communityrelated issue and risk management. These processes were updated in 2020 to comply with the requirements of ISO 50001 and ISO 45001.

At the same time, individual departments carry out stakeholder and issue mappings for specific market and application segments. The output is a stakeholder map that indicates the importance of the stakeholder to Borealis (low/medium/high).

At Group level, stakeholder mapping and engagement is the responsibility of the respective business areas, such as Procurement, People & Culture, Innovation and Public Affairs. At a local level, this is the responsibility of Location Leaders.

The Group’s next materiality assessment is planned for 2023 and Borealis intends to roll out an improved systematic stakeholder mapping and engagement process in preparation for this.

Determining Material Sustainability Topics

To integrate stakeholder views and concerns and develop its sustainability roadmap, Borealis regularly conducts sustainability materiality assessments, in compliance with the legal requirements related to the disclosure of non-financial information in Austria (Nachhaltigkeitsund Diversitätsverbesserungsgesetz; NaDiVeG), as well as Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.

The first systematic assessment of this kind was carried out in 2013, followed by a refresh in 2019 which mainly reconfirmed the previous results. The assessment is repeated at regular intervals and a follow-up assessment was planned for 2022. Due to resource constraints, the need to prioritise supporting the development of the new Group Strategy and the need to meet the new requirements imposed by GRI 2021, this project has been postponed to 2023. In the interim, Borealis has cross-referenced the material topics from the 2019 assessment with the required topics in the GRI 2021 Oil & Gas Sector standard and ensured all the corresponding requirements have been included in this report. No changes have been made to the list of material topics during 2022.

In the materiality assessment carried out in 2019, 17 sustainability aspects that are relevant for the chemical industry were assessed to understand their economic, environmental and social impact (both on Borealis and by Borealis). Relevant internal and external stakeholder groups were interviewed or assessed via desktop research, including customers, suppliers, brand owners, employees, NGOs, regulators and investors. The assessment was conducted with an external consultant, to maintain an objective and independent view.

The process consisted of four phases:

  1. Defining & Collecting
  2. Analysing & Comparing
  3. Integrating & Validating
  4. Concluding & Accelerating

For each topic, the Group defined four levels of response:

  • Focus: core issues for Borealis
  • Monitor: important sustainability issues to monitor
  • Local: issues that are to be managed at local level
  • License to operate: issues that are considered necessary for the Group to manage on a day-to-day basis

The following four materiality topics were identified as being the most important to Borealis and its stakeholders, and were subsequently acknowledged by the Executive Board and defined as “Core focus areas for sustainability acceleration”:

  1. Climate Change is the most highly rated topic, in terms of Borealis’ impact on climate change and the importance to all stakeholders.
  2. Circular Economy is one of the main drivers transforming plastics and chemicals industry business models and increasing their sustainability. It provides Borealis with opportunities to differentiate itself from other companies in the industry.
  3. Plastic Waste & Management is an issue of high importance for Borealis, at both corporate and operational level. Proactive engagement by Borealis reaffirms its commitment to zero plastics leakage into the environment.
  4. Product Sustainability and Product Safety are key drivers for developing and improving the sustainability of Borealis’ products, to minimise stress on the environment and protect public health.

In addition, three topics have been designated as “monitor elements”. These are sustainability topics for Borealis, which the Group must monitor and continuously improve:

  1. Responsible Sourcing: Seeking responsible procurement is key to suppliers’ adherence to Borealis’ ethical standards, supplying sustainable raw materials and renewable energy as well as to the Group’s ability to accelerate the transformation towards a circular economy and carbon neutrality.
  2. Innovation Management: Innovation is at the heart of Borealis, providing the Group with opportunities to further differentiate itself from its industry peers, in respect of technological capabilities and research and development investments that lead to innovative and sustainable solutions.
  3. Digital Transformation: Increasing digitalisation will be a transformational enabler for Borealis to deliver its strategy to 2030. Digitalisation will increase productivity, improve the customer experience and, in particular, accelerate the transformation towards a circular economy and CO2 neutrality for the Group.

Air quality and water management were identified as “local issues” which require attention at an operational level, in conjunction with national authorities, laws and regulations, while all the topics categorised under “license to operate” are fully integrated into Borealis’ corporate culture and management processes and do not require specific additional focus at Group level.

Sustainability Framework and Targets

Following the 2019 materiality assessment, Borealis’ Sustainability Framework is built around three focus areas. These are: Health & Safety, Circular Economy and Energy & Climate. The fourth pillar, Growth, is seen as enabling prosperity for Borealis and society and supports implementation of the Group’s plans in the three focus areas. To ensure the realisation of the Group’s strategy and its sustainability ambitions, Borealis has set the following long-term goals, in addition to the goals it defined and communicated earlier.

Borealis’ Strategic Sustainability Framework

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goals

Borealis aims to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions from 5.1 million tonnes (base year 2019) to less than 2 million tonnes by 2030. The emission reduction portfolio includes increased use of electricity from renewable sources throughout the decade, as well as carbon capture projects, which will come on stream in the second half of this decade. The reduction target also includes the announced divestment of Borealis’ nitrogen business, which comprises fertilizers, technical nitrogen products and melamine.

Circular Economy Goals

In 2019, Borealis processed around 64 kilotonnes of circular products in Europe. By 2025, Borealis is targeting a capacity increase of circular product solutions to 6001) kilotonnes. These include recycled and renewable polymers and chemicals, as well as renewable hydrocarbons. By 2030, the capacity of circular products and solutions is set to reach 1.82) million tonnes globally, turning today’s plastic waste into a valuable resource to be reused. Moving from a linear towards a circular economy will also significantly reduce the Group’s Scope 33) greenhouse gas emissions.

1) 2) Global capacities including non-consolidated Joint Ventures (Borouge) // 3) Scope 3 are indirect GHG emissions that are a consequence of company activities but occur from sources outside or not controlled by the company.

Energy Consumption Goals

In 2022, around 28% of the electricity Borealis used in its own operations was derived from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power. By 2025, the share of renewables in the electricity mix will increase to 40%. By 2030, 100% of the electricity used in Borealis’ Polyolefins and Hydrocarbons operations will be of renewable origin. Furthermore, the Group aims to achieve zero non-emerging flaring, and continues to strive towards zero loss of plastic pellets from its operations.

Health & Safety Goals

Borealis will continue to work towards its Goal Zero targets of achieving zero work-related and process safety incidents or accidents. In addition, the Group strives to proactively substitute substances of concern.

Group Scorecard: Incentivising the Organisation to Drive Sustainability

In 2020, a sustainability KPI was added to the Group Performance Scorecard, reinforcing the importance of sustainability performance to Borealis’ successful development and growth. In 2022, this KPI was further strengthened and refined, to fit the new Group Strategy 2030. It consists of GHG emission reduction (addressing Scope 1), renewable energy sourced (addressing Scope 2) and circular volumes produced (addressing Scope 3). Sustainability is also reflected in scorecards for the various business groups. For the Polyolefins business, the scorecard includes occupational and process safety, as well as the delivery of the circular economy strategy. For the Hydrocarbons & Energy business, the scorecard includes renewable electricity sourcing, safety incidents including supply chain, and delivering on circular economy milestones. For Fertilizers, Melamine, and Technical Nitrogen Products, the scorecard includes occupational and process safety incidents.

A set of sustainability-related KPIs was also integrated into the Bonus Incentive Plan (BIP) where a sustainability KPI is one of ten KPIs on the Group scorecard, and the Long Term Incentive Plan (LTIP). For the LTIP, the relative weighting of sustainability aspects was significantly increased in 2022, from 10% in the 2021–23 plan to 30% in the 2022–24 plan, to incentivise Borealis’ leaders to drive the transformation towards sustainability. In addition to circular products sold, renewable electricity sold, reduction of GHG emissions, diversity was added as a KPI to the LTIP.

Sustainability Rating

In 2014, Borealis participated for the first time in the EcoVadis annual sustainability assessment. EcoVadis is a global platform that uses one of the most accepted methodologies for assessing a company’s sustainability, providing trusted business sustainability ratings and helping companies to evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability performance, including their customers and suppliers. In 2022, Borealis received a scorecard rating of 77 points. However, due to the incident in Kallo, Belgium, EcoVadis re-evaluated its rating and consequently Borealis lost its Platinum status.


In 2023, Borealis will continue to reinforce its commitment to supporting the Group’s sustainable development. In addition, Borealis will further enhance the implementation of its Group Strategy 2030 with a particular focus on sustainability by:

  • refreshing the Materiality Assessment and Matrix;
  • finetuning the roadmaps for strategy implementation (in particular Scope 1 and 2 emission reduction and the increased production capacity for circular volumes);
  • further assessing opportunities to reduce Scope 3 emissions;
  • developing the Group’s approach to future non-financial reporting requirements, to ensure conformity with EU requirements and prepare to move from a combined to an integrated Annual Report; and
  • amplifying public affairs advocacy, to support the increase of recycled plastics in packaging; and
  • implementing new elements potentially being introduced to the EU Taxonomy;
  • preparing for the implementation of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and European Sustainability Reporting Standards, which are mandatory from the 2024 reporting year; and
  • establishing a biodiversity management framework, together with OMV Group, and enhancing knowledge and awareness of this topic in the organisation.

Combined Annual Report 2022 (PDF)

English and German Version available

Download full version

This online report contains only highlights and excerpts from Borealis’ Combined Annual Report 2022. Only the entire report is legally binding and it must be read in full to gain a comprehensive understanding of Borealis’ performance and activities in 2022. A copy of the Combined Annual Report 2022 can be downloaded here.