Case Study

Creating a sustainability roadmap at Sika: The net zero pledge

20 pages
November 2023
Reference: IMD-7-2497

The case describes how Patricia Heidtman, chief innovation and sustainability officer and member of the executive board at Sika, creates a roadmap for sustainability, including a net zero pledge. Sika deliberately put Patricia – also a trained chemist – in charge, unlike many companies that assign the sustainability agenda to the CFO, the head of PR or legal, or even a designated CSO. Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in developing and producing systems and products for bonding, sealing and damping, as well as reinforcement and protection in the construction and automotive industries. The company had over 27,500 employees and sales of CHF 10.49 billion in 2022. In her role, Patricia faces four main challenges. First, the regulatory environment for a global, publicly listed company like Sika changes fast and significantly, as the measurement standards are still developing. Second, scope 1 and 2 emissions count for only about 2% at Sika; 98% are related to scope 3, which the company does not control directly. Third, Sika has over 100 subsidiaries worldwide, and each market and customer segment is very different, requiring a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. Finally, Sika’s growth trajectory estimates a 300% revenue increase by 2050. Given this growth rate, reducing emissions by 75% would not decrease any emissions in nominal terms. An important step in implementing this commitment across the organization is a series of regional net zero workshops, with the aim of bringing everyone to the same level of understanding, since net zero affects every part of the business in different ways. At the same time, sharing the learnings and obstacles created valuable input for the regional and global pathway to net zero. This input will serve as a foundation for Sika’s 2028 strategy. Through peer discussions instead of top-down mandates, Patricia wanted to create strong alignment between departments and regions on key decarbonization levers.

Learning Objective
  • Crafting a sustainability journey with a net zero pledge for a global specialty chemicals company serving the construction and automotive industries.
  • Developing a sustainability mindset and engaging employees through a bottom-up approach and local workshops.
  • Measuring and estimating scope 3 CO2 emissions through a science-based methodology.
  • Aligning the sustainability strategy with the structure and culture of the firm.
Business to Business, Global Business, Change Management, Measurement, CO2, Emissions, Rating, Climate Change, Climate Action, Chemicals
Global, Switzerland
Sika, Manufacturing, Chemicals
Field Research
© 2023
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
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