Heritage is something we inherit. Legacy is something we pass down to generations to come.

Solvay is a science company whose technologies bring benefits to many aspects of daily life. Our purpose is to bond people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress. The Group's innovative solutions contribute to safer, cleaner, and more sustainable products found in homes, food and consumer goods, planes, cars, batteries, smart devices, health care applications, water and air purification systems. We seek to create sustainable shared value for all through our One Planet program, an initiative crafted around three pillars: protecting the climate, preserving resources and fostering better life. Founded in 1863, the Group ranks among the world’s top three companies for the vast majority of its activities. In 2023, Solvay celebrates its 160th anniversary.

Ernest Solvay, a Belgian self-taught Chemist, discovered a new process for manufacturing sodium carbonate by combining a few main-stream chemicals in an innovative twist. This process, still in use to this date, is the origin of the eponymous Chemical conglomerate. With 99 sites spanning 61 countries, Solvay produces and sells diversified technologically advanced chemicals supporting growing needs in a Sustainable manner.

Ernest Solvay was a bit like the Steve Jobs of his days, developing his inventions from home, with a poor health, limited resources and the support of his family. When success gradually materialized, besides creating one of the earliest multinational company in the world, he made other major innovations, breaking grounds in social development. Supplemental health and protection initiatives formed a key part of Solvay’s social policy. Since 1878, medical centers and hospitals built near the plants provided free services to workers and their families for general medical needs, surgery, home nursing, maternity, dentistry, and so on. Solvay also covered the medication costs of qualified workers and paid half their salary during lost time due to sickness. Accident victims received reimbursement for damages. The first pension fund was created in 1879–1880. He also provided housing, paid vacations, day care, primary schools and summer camps for children. Solvay also granted scholarships to its most gifted workers. All this in the 19th century when aggressive capitalism was still the norm, decades before some of it was gradually legalized. His interest for scientific progress lead to a wealth of support to dozens of scientists. Many have heard of the first Conseil de Physique held in Brussels in 1911, where the most prominent chemists and physicists of the day congregated, starred with Marie Curie and Einstein as a rookie, fathering the Quantum theory. These annual events have been organized regularly up to today. It's almost impossible to imagine how it was possible to establish, organize and realize all this back then without the help of data crunching equipment, email, mobile telecommunication, travelling only by boat and slow trains...


Solvay's global industrial group lost more than half of its capacity when it was confiscated in Russia in 1917 with the Bolshevik revolution. Another major chunk was nationalized by Hitler before the Second World War. All setbacks which have been sorted out with patience, allowing Solvay Group to recover Bernburg soda ash in the 90s, our largest plant in former Eastern Germany, almost unchanged from its state when it was lost 60 years earlier...

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