"The world is becoming more aware that it is not just a choice to move into this industry, but a necessity."
Neste is on the Global 100 list for the top 100 most sustainable companies in the world. It is a Finnish, state-owned business that first began its journey as a refinery company for oil products before it decided to change strategy between 2006 and 2008. Now, €11.7 billion worth of business is produced from the refining part of the company which specialises in premium quality, lower emission traffic fuels, renewable fuels and services. Neste produces renewable diesel made from certified renewable raw materials with their NEXBTL technology. Our latest 5 minute interview is with Neste’s Lars Börger, Head of Product Marketing & Emerging Businesses. Bio-Based World News’ reporter Emily O’Dowd discusses Lars’ current role in more depth as well as his forecast on the future of the sustainable economy.
Emily O’Dowd (EOD): What inspired you to enter the bio-based industry?
Lars Börger (LB): I worked at BASF for a number of years where my initial position began as head of global marketing for biopolymers before I joined my new role at Neste. I decided to move companies because I wanted to stay in the renewable side of chemical innovation and market development. I strongly believe that we need to take drastic action to achieve change. An obvious sustainable solution is to promote the circular economy. To move forwards there needs to be a combination of both bio-based feedstock as well as reusing our waste, whether this be through recycling or chemical recycling. It’s so important that both of these are addressed if we are to close the loop on material flows. Personally, I would like to be part of this change and I am very motivated to help deliver a solution to create a positive impact.
EOD: What do you enjoy most about your role at Neste?
LB: Currently, I am involved in two roles - in marketing and helping to advance our bioplastics and research activities. I am lucky because my role is so broad and keeps me involved with environmental responsibility and renewability. I find it interesting to discover a link between our abilities at Neste and then transferring these skills to the market’s needs. The technological innovation that we are able to provide means Neste can remain competitive and deliver the appropriate solutions to help to transform the industry.
EOD: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in the industry?
LB: The key issue in this industry is caused by the transition from fossil feedstock to sustainable products. Without the supporting legislation in place, it means that the requirements from the renewable chemical providers is comparably much higher. Neste is together with our partners in the value chain accpeting this challenge.
EOD: What advice would you give to new start-ups entering the sustainable industry?
LB: I think it is essential to identify the right value chain partner, which are convinced of the same values – there are many people out there and you need to find the right one, otherwise it can waste a lot of time and resources for your business.
EOD: What change would help develop the industry further?
LB: It would really help if non-governmental groups played a greater role in raising awareness in a constructive way. Secondly, supportive legislation would be extremely helpful for every company that is showing a willingness to join the circular economy. Additionally, this could mean that extra resources could then be allocated to assist the production side too. In the long term this could reduce pollution and the costs of climate change that aren’t seen.
EOD: Where do you see the sustainable industry heading in the next three years?
LB: I do believe that the industry is growing substantially. More people are seeing the potential in this market and are working on very innovative products and solutions. Additionally, the world is becoming more aware that it is not just a choice to move into this industry, but a necessity. If we start building more renewable businesses now then future generations may be able to enjoy the same living standard as we have it today, but in a sustainable way.
EOD: Where would you like to see Neste in three years’ time?
LB: I would hope that Neste is a recognised player in the bio-based chemical industry providing responsible choices for our partners in the value chain.
EOD: What are your favourite bio-based products?
LB: One is a biodegradable ecovio polymer related still to my former job which is a very sustainable solution in many applications.
And one more recently is the new bio-based drop-ins based on Neste’s feedstock that should be available from next year and can be part of the solution for almost all applications.
EOD: Thank you for your time today Lars, we will keep our readers updated on your progress over the coming months!
For more information you can visit their website here: https://www.neste.com/
Our last 5 minutes with... Charlotte Mace, Executive Director for Biobased Maine.
Bio-Based World News will bring this 5 minute feature to our readers every week. This will able to put a face to the brand and provide established businesses and new start-ups the crucial advise they need in this industry. If you would like to be interviewed about your own bio-based/sustainable business then please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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