CIA > Sustainability


  Contact the team


For Sustainability related enquiries, please contact:


Charis McInnes 


Be part of it 

Members are invited to get involved with the Sustainability Steering Group 

For further information, or to express an interest in joining, please contact the team above.

CIA's Vision of Sustainability

Our vision builds upon the CIA's historic commitment to sustainable development which dates back over 20 years, to 2001. One of CIA's top priorities is to contribute towards a more sustainable future. Therefore, we take care to regularly revise our sustainability vision and sustainability goals to ensure they align with environmental, geopolitical and technological advancements that affect the UK chemical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the global agenda for sustainable development. 

In the latter half of 2022 we updated our materiality assessment to better understand the material aspects most important to our members and their various stakeholders and guide discussions with members. Many themes from our 2017 version remain highly significant and thus the foundations of our sustainability vision - sustainable growth and innovation, low carbon, circular economy, responsibility and stewardship, and people and community - remain unchanged. Nonetheless, several new subtopics have emerged, notably green finance, digitalisation, and modern slavery. Our sustainability vision has been updated accordingly and can be viewed below. To ensure our vision is not only pertinent to the UK chemical and pharmaceutical industries but also globally relevant, we have correlated our vision to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This collective approach is therefore developed in line with the priorities of our member organisations and the Global Goals. 


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Below is a snapshot of the UK chemical industry, which outlines some of the progress, contributions and challenges that lie ahead. This information is drawn from a range of sources including the Office for National Statistics, surveys, the European Patent Office, the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory.

The metrics below have been mapped to relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and, where possible, also to corresponding specific SDG targets to demonstrate areas of potential contribution to the Global Goals


Sustainable growth and innovation




1. R&D expenditure:     

SDG Target 9.5:

In 2019, UK businesses invested £5.7 billion into chemical and pharmaceutical R&D, 34% of total manufacturing R&D investment and 22% of total UK business expenditure.
2. GVA

SDG Target 9.2:

In 2019, the UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry had a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £25.8 billion up 2.4% compared with 2018
3. Patents:

SDG Target 8.2:  
Between 2010-2019, 28% of UK patents granted for European-wide application were in the field of chemistry.
4. Productivity:       

SDG Target 8.2:                
The 2019 UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry has a GVA per employee 82% greater than the manufacturing average and 92% higher than the working economy. 






Low carbon, circular economy



5. GHG emissions & energy efficiency: 

SDG Target 7.3:
Direct GHG emissions (scope 1) from the UK chemical and pharmaceutical sector decreased by 82% over the period 1990-2018, which is made more pronounced when considering that production increased by 40%.
6. Waste recovered:

SDG Target 12.5:
The proportion of England’s chemical industry waste sent for recovery more than doubled in the 15 years since 2004, rising from 19% to 47%. 
7. Resource efficiency:

SDG Target 8.4:

SDG Target 12.5:
In 2019, 73% of member sites set at least one target related to resource efficiency and an average of 4.8 targets set across all manufacturing sites, increasing from 4.5 in 2018.





Responsibility and stewardship


8. Lost time accident rate:       

SDG Target 8.8:
CIA members - supported by Responsible Care - have reduced the rate of lost time accidents by almost 78% in the period 1992-2019. 
9. Emissions to air:

SDG Target 3.9:

SDG Target 12.4:
The UK chemical sector reduced emissions to air by an average of 87% between 1990-2019, across the five main National Emissions Ceilings (ammonia, nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, non-methane volatile organic compounds and particulate matter). 
10. Hazardous waste:                                   

SDG Target 3.9:
Chemical industry hazardous waste produced in England decreased by 14% between 2013 and 2019, although there was a slight increase since 2004. 






People and community



11. Gender diversity: 

SDG Target 8.5:

The chemical and pharmaceutical industry’s workforce is over 30% female, which outperforms manufacturing in general by around 8%.
12. Employment:

SDG Target 8.5:

SDG Target 9.2:

The UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry directly employs over 150,000 people with two thirds working in the chemical industry and the remain third in pharmaceuticals.

Figures correct as at May 2021







Related external resources:

Related CIA resources (updates to the below are available to members):