The chemical industry

Hauts-de-France is France’s No. 3 region for chemicals by number of industry jobs. We’ve developed outstanding sites to host businesses, specialized education and training programs to hone skills, and the innovation capacity you need to develop new products and processes and scale them up.

The chemical industry

Hauts-de-France is France’s No. 3 region for chemicals by number of industry jobs. We’ve developed outstanding sites to host businesses, specialized education and training programs to hone skills, and the innovation capacity you need to develop new products and processes and scale them up.

Oil industry

Chemicals—a leading sector in Hauts-de-France

The chemical industry is a key player in the French economy, and one of its most innovative sectors. Chemicals are the country’s 2nd-largest export industry, driven by fragrances, cosmetics and cleaning products. France ranks:

  • 7th worldwide in chemical production
  • 2nd in Europe in the field (behind Germany)

Hauts-de-France is among the top French regions for chemical industry products, with a long industrial legacy.

Hauts-de-France: No. 3 region for chemicals in France

Chemical companies here are much larger than the national average, giving our region the 3rd-highest number of industry employees in France:

  • 17,000 jobs in all
  • over 400 chemical companies, including 200 headquartered here
  • 18% of France’s 2018 chemical exports were made in Hauts-de-France (Source: Hauts de France Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
  • No. 2 region for registered Seveso sites, with 156 in all
scientific Manipulation

Players in commodity chemicals, fine chemicals and specialty chemicals

The region’s industrial ecosystem in chemicals is widely diversified, with innovative, fast-moving SMEs operating alongside large French and international groups. These businesses work together, drawing on synergies to improve production and innovation capacity all along the supply chain.

Major producers of commodity, fine and specialty chemicals


Cosmetics production

Cosmetics production in France and worldwide

Fast facts from FEBEA [Fédération des entreprises de la beauté), the French trade association for the cosmetics industry:

  • France holds 25% of global market share for cosmetics, making it the world’s largest national producer.
  • 80% of the world’s luxury and beauty products are made in France.
  • some 75% of French cosmetics exports are beauty-care products (43.3%) and fragrances (31%).

Cosmetics production in Hauts-de-France

Did you know that Hauts-de-France is among the major cosmetic-producing regions in France?

Hauts-de-France ranks third in French cosmetics with:

  • Nearly 4,300 employees (10% of the total French cosmetics workforce)
  • 4 world leaders–L’Oréal, Chanel, LVMH and Colgate Palmolive
  • 70% of French fragrance production
  • 26% of French exports (national export leader)
  • Leading producer of fragrance bottles and luxury cosmetics
Test tube with plants

Green chemistry

As environmental standards rise, businesses are revisiting their operations and adopting more eco-friendly practices–and that makes biobased chemistry the way of the future.

Hauts-de-France is the leader in biomass development, with some of the country’s most vibrant players in bioeconomics and biobased chemistry.

Chemical applications in Hauts-de-France

Many businesses view our region as a springboard for growing their markets in the rest of the world—and it is—but there are attractive opportunities within France as well.

Hauts-de-France is a leader in chemical applications used in many client industries:

  • Automotive
  • Agrifood
  • Healthcare
  • Materials
  • Cosmetics

Close-up: Plug-and-play chemical parks

Integrated chemical parks in Hauts-de-France offer many advantages:

  • reduced investment costs
  • shared services
  • convenient road, rail and water transportation
  • accessibility and more

The region has 2 major sites in operation: Lamotte Industrial Park and Industrial City Dunkerque. And today other large industrial chemical sites are preparing to welcome and host new businesses.

Large, skilled labor pool

No. 2 region for higher education in France: Hauts-de-France is a young, densely populated region. You’ll find ambitious, hardworking candidates within easy reach, from PhDs to chemical technicians—just what you need to start operations immediately, drawing on a workforce trained for tomorrow’s professions.

Fast facts—Haut-de-France

  • 6 million inhabitants
  • 33% of the population is under 25
  • 2nd-highest population density in France
  • Top region for professional development and training in France
  • 10% of French engineering graduates are educated in the region
Scientific manipulation

Chemical training

Four renowned institutions train your future chemists and chemical engineers:

UTC is a public engineering school for 4,400 students, with chemistry programs in 3 areas:

  • Biotechnology of natural resources
  • Engineering of formulated products
  • Development processes for renewable resources

ESCOM logo

ESCOM is an elite chemical engineering school with over 600 students. Founded in 1957 and recognized by the French State, it offers programs of study in 6 key areas of organic and inorganic chemistry

  • Chemical engineering
  • Formulation
  • Fine chemicals
  • Materials science
  • Management and industrial marketing
  • Quality, health and safety, toxicology

An elite school of chemistry based in Lille, ENSCL has been educating chemists for 125 years, producing graduates who are highly qualified in 3 areas:

  • Formulation chemistry
  • Industrial chemistry and sustainable processes
  • Materials optimization and reliability


UPJV offers a wide range of multidisciplinary undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as specialty training in undergraduate majors such as Bioindustries and Biotechnologies and Biorefining from Plant to Product.

Competitive operating costs

From salaries to rents, land and more, Hauts-de-France offers truly competitive conditions for your operating budget.

Competitive payroll costs

Looking for a location with a pool of available, qualified talent and reasonable salary costs?

Hauts-de-France is highly competitive when compared with other French and European locations.

Annual salaries for qualified workers

Source: EY / NFI 2020

Available land and affordable buildings

Northern France has an abundant supply of land. You’ll find rural sites at very competitive prices (€5-€10/sq m/year). If you prefer to use existing buildings, compare these rents for a 5000+ sq m site.

Rent €/sq m/year for an industrial site
over 5,000 sq m

Source: EY / NFI 2020