2020 was a challenging year. This applies to each and every one of us, in society and politics, and equally to us as a company. The global pandemic has temporarily pushed the issues of sustainability and climate protection into the background. Values and standards have shifted. The world of work has changed faster than could ever have been predicted.
This turn of events in 2020, with its international context, could not have been predicted by CHT. The pandemic has brought short-term and profound changes and has demanded a lot from our company and our employees. Because we all responded to changing circumstances with determination and consistency, we were able to meet our commitments to our customers. We quickly overcame initial uncertainties and adapted to changing situations. By temporarily producing disinfectants we were able to make an important contribution to the pandemic management. Our far-reaching home office arrangements have enabled our employees to protect themselves and also respond quickly to changes in their family and personal environment. The introduction of comprehensive hygiene concepts enabled production to be maintained throughout. Nevertheless, the impact of the pandemic also affected us economically. A decline in the volume of orders was clearly noticeable. In the course of the year, however, there was an initial recovery as a result of the start of production in customer markets. However, the positive outlook is clouded somewhat by rising prices on the raw material and procurement markets.
We used our strengths in this challenging environment and continued to consistently follow our sustainability and growth goals despite the pandemic.
In 2020, we began to implement our Strategy 2025. We consistently pursue our path as a partner and as a leading reference for sustainable chemical solutions. For this purpose we have intensively dealt with seminal megatrends and their resulting challenges for the global economy as well as the question of how we as the CHT Group can contribute to a sustainable future. Out of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs), we have identified 11 where we see the greatest relevance and the strongest contribution for and of the CHT Group. In order to master global challenges, our society needs innovations from the chemical industry more than ever. Many of our innovations contribute to achieving the sustainability goals of the United Nations. Innovation and sustainability are inextricably linked at CHT.
These goals set the framework for our sustainable management on an economic, ecological and social level. We want to continue to increase our sales and earnings significantly in the future with new and improved products – especially with the ECO Range products which make a special contribution to sustainability in the value chain. CHT is the first company than can supply products along the entire textile process chain in accordance with the Material Health criterion of the Cradle-to-Cradle approach. Climate protection and the circular economy are not only important topics in politics and society. We make our contribution to lower CO2 emissions. We are currently creating the conditions to measure and track the reduction goals set in the framework of our Strategy 2025. With the “Green Deal”, the EU Commission is pursuing ambitious climate targets, and we are actively involved in their implementation within the framework of the VCI initiative “chemistry4climate”. However, the realization of these climate goals through the industry requires a significant change in the framework conditions by policy makers. Only in this way can industry remain competitive in this transformation.
In particular, we need better promotion of future technologies and a competitive, secure and affordable energy supply in Germany and Europe.
In the current year of 2021, still facing a menacing pandemic, we must stand our ground worldwide in a difficult environment. Despite considerable headwinds and changes in the procurement and sales markets, we expect a successful year in line with our long-term forecast. Our global team will be committed to achieving the best possible result for 2021. In the Sustainability Report 2020 we present the CHT contribution to sustainable and responsible action and give you an outlook on how we will continue to shape this in the future.
Dr. Bernhard Hettich | CTO
Dr. Frank Naumann | CEO
Axel Breitling | CFO